Duh, It's Really Time to Dump Him

Janelle Harris

Family, datingMy church regularly hosts fun group outings, and last week we herded into a movie theater to watch a private screening of Jumping the Broom.

I was armed with my stupid baggies of fruit in hopes that forgoing that delicious, buttery concession stand popcorn would help me lose 10 pre-summer pounds. So maybe the beginning of the movie got off to a shaky start because I didn’t have the proper snacks that make bad acting more tolerable. But by the middle when the families of the bride and groom were well into their back-and-forth cutting up, the storyline had hit its stride.

A consensus taken afterwards said the film was just OK, good for seeing on a Netflix night but definitely not a memorable classic. It did bring up an issue worthy of an after-movie debate, though: should you even bother talking marriage with somebody if the folks closest to you aren’t fans of your man? 

Not that I intend to be a one-woman movie spoiler, but the premise of Jumping the Broom is based on the conflicts between two very strong-willed, very outspoken, very polarized families. The whole story plays off the differences between the two, and how much the groom’s mama dislikes her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. 

The possibility of a similar plot playing out in real life depends, I guess, on how close the two lovebirds are to their families and how much their opinions matter to them in the first place.

I already know I need the approval of mine. I can’t even wrap my mind around dragging my fiancé or husband to a Christmas dinner (mmm, turkey and stuffing) or a Memorial Day cookout (mmm, burgers and potato salad ... sorry, darn this diet) and have them turn their noses up at the man I love or, worse, have an impromptu meeting about him in the kitchen. You want to know if somebody is in or out in the Harris family? Fake like you’re going to get a paper towel or a glass of water. If you stumble on a powwow in process, watch out. There’s trouble afoot.

Praise the heavens above I’ve never brought home someone that my family flat-out didn’t like. That’s been three boyfriends, three introductions, and three big ol’ hefty sighs of relief.

But I am watching the situation unfold for my less fortunate cousin, whose now-fiancé has been roundly vetoed because he a) doesn’t have a job, b) doesn’t have a plan in place to get one, and c) lives with her — in her house — rent-free. (There are other contributing factors like his bad manners and his penchant for the dine-and-dash, but those could be overlooked if the dude wasn’t a waste of space. And he’s not even cute. Just wrong all around.)

The conflict in this situation? Not an uptown/downtown battle of classes like in the movie because we’re all very blue collar, but the fact that said cousin is burgeoning on 40, is childless, and has never, ever had a boyfriend that was worthy of her and, with that, liked by the family. So when this bama proposed to her last year, you better believe there were skidmarks in the direction of the kitchen, where we congregated to stage an intervention. Shacking up with this fool is one thing; marrying and procreating with him is quite another.

But guess what? She’s still engaged. And she’s still planning on marrying him. And he’s still living in her house with no job but he’s packing on weight, which means he must be eating. Often.

One of the many beautiful features that come with that magical age of adulthood is that your parents can’t forbid, block, or run interference from any guy your heart flutters for. But I know that my family has my best interests at heart, so if my mother or any other relative expressed extreme dislike for one of my dudes, it would make me stop and take inventory of what I was getting myself into. And it would certainly keep me from strolling down somebody’s aisle until I had figured out why he was on the most hated list.

If you trust your family with your children, trust ‘em to lend you money, and good gracious, trust them enough to eat their cooking, then you ought to be able to trust their opinion enough if they say that a guy isn’t good for you.

Does your family’s opinion matter when it comes to the guys you pick?

Image via smemon87/Flickr

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