Your daughter or son has just started dating someone new. Everything seems perfect as far as you can see, but have they asked the right questions or are they holding back for fear of coming on too strong. As a parent, there is nothing like getting to know your child’s new partner, especially if they have only been dating for less than sixty days. As a parent, you have a lot of questions, and that’s okay. Just as your child is getting to know the person they are dating, you want to get to know them, especially if they are taking the relationship to a serious level, like marriage. This is potentially your future son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Everything inside of you wants them to take their time and get to know each other. So, yes, as a parent, you have questions since you are allowing this person to be a part of your family.

No parent’s line of questioning is ever the same, and this can set off fires. However, as a parent, you want to know who your daughter or son will be spending the rest of their life with, especially if they are fast-tracking and rushing things as if they are on “90 Day Fiancé.”

• How do they handle problems?
• Do they run and tell their family what is going on?
• Do they have kids?
• Have they ever been married? If so, what happened? What have they learned and so much more?

These may not be the first things that come out of a parent’s mouth when first meeting their future son or daughter-in-law, but it is on their mind. Eventually, they will get to those questions. Every parent just wants to know whether their child will be treated fairly in the relationship. Your daughter or son wants you to meet the love of their life, but you have questions as the future in-laws and know that your line of questioning will not be nice. People hear what they want to hear, including the love of your daughter and son’s life. Instead of listening, they take offense at something said.

My approach is simple; keep people out of your relationship issues, especially family and friends. They are the ones that will not forget the complaint when you and your partner are happy again. Don’t run and tell your mom and dad everything that is going on in your relationship or marriage. We all tend to have a biased view when it comes to our loved ones depending on which side of the fence we are on. I have seven brothers, and all but two are divorced. Telling the family what was going on in their marriage did not help their situation, but it weakened their relationship and bond with their spouse over time.

Everyone has advice to give when you are first dating or newly married, but learn to keep your relationship issues away from family. Instead, talk with a marriage or relationship counselor or psychologist. No relationship is perfect, and many times your problems in your relationship, if shared with family and friends, can make for an uncomfortable environment for your partner the next time they are around them. This does not mean you stop talking to your family, parents, or loved ones while in a relationship. No, you just work out the problems away from them, simple and plain. Unfortunately, I have seen too many times where outside interference from a mother-in-law or father-in-law created ill feelings down the road, even with the best intentions.

Most parents, like myself, speak from an observational point of view which is intended to make you aware of things that need to be talked about or could be a potential issue down the road. Communication is the key to a happy, healthy and balanced relationship supported by all families. If you are dating or soon to be married, learn to listen without feeling judged. Otherwise, you could be missing out on a wealth of information.