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“Should I marry against my will because my in-laws want to?”

Sabrina (35), mother of Silvy (3) and Ole (10 months), lives with Jan-Willem (34).

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“The day Jan-Willem and I got the key to our first home together, his parents broke off contact with us. We were together for three years, and although my parents-in-law got along well on a personal level, they disapproved of our unmarried cohabitation.

The relationship between Jan-Willem and his parents was already under tension, because at the age of eighteen he broke with the church where he had attended every Sunday all his life. For his parents, life is about their faith. They could not stomach that he now also started living together against all the rules of that church.

Gray veil

A gray veil hung over the births of our children, because their grandparents were not part of it. They had been informed of my pregnancies, but had never spoken.

Now that we have just celebrated Silvy’s third birthday, again in the absence of his parents, Jan-Willem wants to turn the tide. He can no longer take it, the loss of his parents. The knowledge that they have missed the first years of their grandchildren’s lives. And that Silvy and Ole might just keep growing up without a grandfather and grandmother from Dad’s side. “I’m taking away their grandparents with my goofy behavior,” he said recently. And proposed to get married after all.

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Connected by the children

I have nothing to do with the whole matrimonial institution. I don’t understand why you spend tens of thousands of dollars to confirm what you already know. We have children together; we are already connected for life. Besides, we can’t even afford it. “Wouldn’t we be better off entering into a registered partnership?” I suggested. But that does not count for the church, says Jan-Willem.

I don’t like getting married on assignment. That I have to commit to something just to please my parents-in-law, while they slam the door without mercy when they don’t like something. At the same time it hurts me that Jan-Willem is suffering; of course I wish him a good relationship with his parents. But how good is that bond really, if they force you into something you don’t support?

Bridge too far

I don’t want to be responsible for keeping the breach going. And I wish my children a grandfather and grandmother – even if their ideas are so different from mine. But to get married after all is actually a bridge too far. Or should I just get over my disgust? ”

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