He Said, She Said: Greek sir name leading man to rethink upcoming marriage Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
By Shaun and Pamela Collins
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I have a very Greek name, and recently I met my future mother-in-law. She commented on my name asking me if I could speak Greek.

Having grown up in Sandusky, Ohio, and then later in Madison, Wisconsin, I am about as far removed from Greek culture as you can get.

My dad, the Greek side, divorced my mom when I was 4 and was raised in a Midwestern cultured home. My future mother-in-law has a German maiden name so I asked her if she could speak German for my answer to her question on whether I could speak Greek. I think it offended her.

My fiancée said not to worry about it, but she has been pretty cold to me on a couple of later encounters. Again, my fiancée said not to worry about it and then added it was probably something else that offended her. Red flags everywhere say I should not walk away from this Family, but run…and now I am getting cold feet about the whole  marriage thing if I offend her mother that easily.

HE SAID:  To be honest, this sounds like an issue of projection … if you are getting cold feet about something so trivial in the big scheme of things, I would say you are an overly sensitive person.  However, I don’t think the issue of your Greek name, her German name, or either of your ability to speak the language of your ancestors has anything more to do with your cold feet than the temperature setting on your thermostat.  

I suspect you simply have cold feet and are looking for the door. If this is the case, there is nothing wrong with postponing the wedding date until you figure out if this is about you, your fiancé or her mother.  A lot of very happily married people have less than wonderful relationships with their in-laws, some for very good reason and some for really silly reasons.  

I loved my in-laws (and still do) from my first marriage, but they had absolutely nothing to do with why I got married or ultimately divorced. I got married because I was 20 years old and was in a hurry to prove I was all grown up … I wasn’t.  

You are not marrying your mother-in-law, and if she turns out to be on the bus to crazy town, that doesn’t have anything to do with your relationship with your fiancée.  

I don’t have a great relationship with my current mother-in-law, but that doesn’t affect the richness of our marriage in the least.  

If your fiancée doesn’t care if her mom is offended, why does it bother you so much? Could it be that you really aren’t ready to make this level of commitment? If so, there is nothing wrong with that, it’s better to wait than to get married and figure it out a decade or two later. Not only do you deserve to know the answer to these questions, but so does your fiancée.  

My advice is to stop looking at symptoms and deal with the real issues.   

SHE SAID: If my husband felt this way, I would still be looking for him.  

Listen, you aren’t marrying mom, you’re marrying your fiancée. I understand that a lot of people feel as if they cannot marry into a Family if they don’t get along with the parents but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  

The bigger issue is this —  do you feel as if your fiancée’ is siding with her mother against you?  If you feel as if you aren’t a “couple” because she gets defensive about her mother, or anyone else in her Family; that is really a bigger reason to reconsider leaving.  My husband stood up for himself with my mother, and she has voiced her dislike for him. He’s my husband and, more than that, he’s right.  

So of course, I am going to defend his actions, because we all have the right to stand up for ourselves. But it seems to me that if this issue with mom is making you reconsider marrying, there is more to this than just mom’s sharp tongue and coldness.  

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 December 2015 )