My parents disapprove of my marriage choice. What should I do?


I am in a complex situation with my parents and the girl to whom I want to get married. What should I do, as this situation is very difficult for me? My parents disapprove of the girl because of cultural issues, not Islamic ones, so I don’t see anything wrong with proceeding to marry her. What do I do?


It sounds like you are struggling with what you want and what your parents want for your life, and trying to figure out how to proceed is a difficult process. The challenges faced by couples who “go against their parents’ wishes” can be manifold and broad. Since I don’t know the details of you and your family, I will speak generally and share different possibilities.

  1. Your parents may threaten to disown you or not come to the wedding. In this instance, I remind couples that the spouse who is “giving up their family” to get married can be put in a difficult situation, because this idea will always linger in the marriage – one person sacrificed so much for the other. This can either bring you closer together (i.e. ‘us against the world’) or cause tension (‘look what I sacrificed for you’), and these thoughts may come up when conflict ensues in your relationship. You two will need to explore your feelings about this.
  2. If your family is opposed to the marriage, then you will not be able to approach them for emotional support during your marriage, since they may have an “I told you so” approach to your difficulties. You are on your own. Depending on the extent of your family’s disapproval, it may affect the amount of time you spend with them in the future.
  3. Grandchildren. Your parents may limit their relationship with your children if they don’t have a good relationship with you and your wife – or they may interfere in your parenting practices, since they don’t respect the choices you and your wife have made.
  4. If you find comfort and approval of the marriage with your wife’s parents, then you may develop a closer relationship with them and thus receive the support you need. This may relieve stress you feel when raising a family together.

I invite you to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will my parents approve of anyone I introduce to them? Why or why not?
  • What are their expectations? Why?
  • What are my parents’ fears in this situation?
  • Why do I want to marry her? Is it a choice that is best for me and what I want?
  • How will I proceed and take responsibility for my choices?

May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) guide you to what is best.

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