The cross : To what extent do parental expectations influence the choice of our spouse?
Sabrina from Dinechin: Even if society is changing, with perhaps a greater desire to see our children blend in with the mass, the pressure remains strong in certain circles. Parents will openly or implicitly signify to their son or daughter their wish to see them marry a person who shares their values, who evolves in the same circles. And expectations of this type are likely to weigh on the constitution of the couple.
→ INVESTIGATION. The unprecedented weight of parental expectations on their children
They are clearly likely to generate marital or intergenerational conflicts. I have in mind the example of a man who had married a charming young woman who ticked all the boxes and who, fifteen years later, fell into depression. He did not understand what was happening to him and ended up realizing that he had forgotten himself, that his choices were not his. His couple, fatally, exploded.
Conversely, I think of a very Catholic mother, very religious, who suffers terribly to see her 25-year-old son having a married life, without having married, with a partner who comes from a completely different horizon. Her fear, neither more nor less, is that of “losing” her son. And he must learn to let go.
Are excessive expectations likely to prevent us from meeting love?
SD: I do receive people who remain single because they do not manage – this is what they feel – to find the woman or the man who would correspond to the composite portrait drawn by their parents… A little as if they had misinterpreted the 4e Commandment, which wants that one honors his father and his mother.
→ TESTIMONIALS. “I wanted to give access to excellence to my children”
It is not a question of doing everything that parents say but of giving them the right weight, of making a difference in what they offer, between the good and the less good for you.
Is it nevertheless legitimate to nurture expectations vis-à-vis the emotional, conjugal and parental life of one’s children?
SD: It is not illegitimate to have expectations, which we express, including implicitly, by setting an example with our own couple. But there is sometimes a fine line between having a discussion with your child about values, ideals, goals that can be set in life, and an attitude that amounts to imposing them on him.
→ CRITICAL. Is it a risk to disappoint your parents?
Because questions of loyalty, guilt, even emotional dependence often come into play, for example when one feels torn between his wife and his mother. Respecting the child’s freedom means recognizing that what I think is good for me, a parent, is not necessarily good for him. It is to recognize its otherness. It is about giving him as many playing cards as possible and then letting him choose.