"We are invited to have dinner with my parents on Sunday." Those eleven words can ruin your whole week. You know you will be put under a microscope to see if you are a "good fit" for their family. But what you may not know is that this is a great opportunity to find out more about your date than you could possibly learn in several months of dating.
The old saying, "look at your date's mother (or father if you are female) and you will see your spouse in 30 years" contains a lot of truth. Not only in physical appearance, but what kind of person they are, their values their interests their personalities. This is a great opportunity to obtain answers to questions you would not feel comfortable asking your date. The following questions are the more important ones that will supply the information you should consider before becoming involved in a serious relationship. Is their home attractive or does it look like a junkyard? Do they make you feel welcome? Is conversation easy? Or stilted? Do they keep the conversation general, or do they talk about private things and leave you out? Do they listen? Do they seem to be genuinely interested in what you have to say and what you are doing? Do they discuss their interests? Sports? Politics? Travel? Can you find topics to talk about in which you are in agreement? It would be a plus if you hold similar feelings about serious subjects like religion or politics, which are hot topics. If not, do they still respect your opinion? Does your date change significantly when around her/his parents? Does your date react to the parents on an adult level and not as a child? Is your humor somewhat alike? This may sound trivial, but if you can laugh at the same jokes you will like each other better.
If your date has siblings, how do they react to you? Do the parents appear to be trying to hang on to their children? Is this a family that you feel you can really be a part of ? If you marry into this family they will be your children's grandparents. Are you comfortable with that? Do you believe your own family will approve of your date's family? Are these people you would like to know even if there was no connection with their daughter/son? People don't often choose a spouse based on families, but this kind of information is useful in understanding your husband or wife and many problems are solved if you know early on what to expect from your in-laws. Copyright 2006 Robert T. Lewis.
Robert T. Lewis, Ph.D.
Psychologist and Author of: How Any Male Can Become A Super Dater