OT: Remember my TOXIC little brother? What to do?

Some may remember I posted about a month ago about my brother who is getting married in July. I asked to take his fiancee out to lunch and shopping because she was having a rough time with her family and thought we might get to know each other. He sent me an email at work telling me that he hated me, he didn’t want to have a relationship with me, and I should just stay out of his way (difficult, since he lives with my parents still at age 25).

Well, my MOTHER put my hubby in a difficult position. It seems that my brother scheduled his wedding (July 21, 2007), sent out invitations, and booked a location, without finding a minister. My mother has been searching for one for over 2 months, and can’t find one. Either they won’t do ceremonies because they don’t know him or his fiancee, or they require some kind of pre-marital counseling, or they just aren’t available on that date on this short of notice.

So my mother approached my dh and asked him to officiate.:grrr: My poor dh doesn’t even know what to say. While we don’t question how much the two of them love each other, there are several concerns about their relationship and he doesn’t know if he can marry them in good conscience. He takes marriage very, very seriously.

Our concerns:
-My brother has refused pre-marital counseling and won’t even read a book. He says that “no ones knows his relationship” and refuses to accept any guidance from anyone. Meanwhile, this girl is his first girlfriend and they’ve been dating for less than a year. :shock:
-My brother tends to be rather controlling over her and makes decisions for her.:shock:
-This wedding has been the cause of a huge rift in her family. She is currently living with my parents because she was kicked out (she is only 20). Her parents aren’t speaking to her and they haven’t been invited to the wedding.:shock:
-They say they are going to find an apartment after the wedding, but haven’t spent any time looking, and wouldn’t have the first clue as to how to pay their bills. They do not have a financial plan.:shock: She isn’t even working now, she is a full time college student during the school year, and right now, she just sits around waiting for my brother.:shock:

I think my dh wants me to help make this decision for him…but I just don’t know what to do. On the one hand, dh and I take marriage very seriously and believe it’s a covenant that should not be entered into lightly. As the minister who officiates the ceremony, there is great responsibility to make sure that the people you marry are prepared to enter into this covenant. Also, it’s would be the first time he officiates a wedding (he has had to do a few funerals already), and he would be really upset if it ended in divorce in a few years.

On the other hand, saying no would really create SEVERE issues within the family. And we wonder if perhaps we are simply reacting to his JERKY attitude.:shrug:

Any thoughts? You guys are much more sane than my nutso family.



I’m so sorry you are in this position. My only thoughts on the issue would be to as kindly as possible explain to your brother and family that due to the convictions of your husband’s faith, that he would not be able to perform the ceremony. I know many religions who do not marry unless some sort of pre-marital counseling takes place. Have they considered a justice of the peace? Not sure I helped you, but I’ll keep you in my prayers. :hug:

sounds like there’s lots of bridges burned with her family and that’s not good. Try to get together with his fiance and go to lunch while he’s at work and can’t stop it then discuss the situation with her. Find out if she’s willing to tlak to her parents, b/c they really should see tehir daughter get married, and they know what’s best for her so if they have given up then she probably feels like shes stuck. I know you said your brother is kinda controlling over her and that’s not good; she needs to be her own person. See if you can’t get into her head and then go from there. As for your dh to perform the ceremony, tell them that he cannot do it unless there is premarital counseling b/c if he weds them and then they get divorced in afew months/years then it falls back on him ultimately. Also sounds like they both have a LOT of growing up to do. I’m not much older then they are but know that their situation isn’t going to make for a healthy marriage, or life. Any counselor would tell them the same. Good luck and God bless.

If your brother isn’t willing to sit down and talk about the wedding and thier relationship then it sounds to me like maybe this isn’t the right time to get married. I don’t know but I been told marriage is a pretty serious thing and if he’s not willing to take this seriously then how can he expect anyone else to? I think yer DH needs to stand firm on his boundaries and if your bro can’t meet those expectations then it will only reflect poorly on him andnot yer DH. Just my .02. Good luck :hug::hug:

i remember your last post. if i was your dh, i would tell your mom that he would be happy to officiate the ceremony [U][I]if[/I][/U] bro and gf have some pre-marital couseling. that way, if bro & gf are willing, your dh can help them a bit, and if they refuse, your dh can back out gracefully. it would help if he states his belief that all couples should at least talk and discuss thier up-coming life changes with someone whos “been there, done that”. HTH

I think the Quote would answer the question for me…
You are just questioning it cos they put your Mother in the middle.
And my guess is that your poor mother is going to be stuck with both of them…

:pout: What a difficult situation. Honestly, it’s your brother and his fiancee’s responsibility to find someone to marry them, not yours or your mom’s. If they didn’t organize themselves well enough, it’s their fault, not your husband’s! It seems to me too that a civil ceremony would be easier, if he doesn’t want to do counselling. I don’t know how it works for you, but here there is a notice of marriage that must be published 20 days before a civil ceremony. This will obviously change with country and state, but a civil wedding can require a little bit of effort as well… :rollseyes:

This being said, I understand the dilemma. Sometimes, when the situation is very serious, you have to go against some principles to solve a problem. If he does decide to do it, he must realize that he wouldn’t be responsible for their divorce either. But clearly, it seems they shouldn’t get married at all…

There’s your answer right there. DH should not, under any circumstances feel obligated to marry a couple when he doesn’t feel comfortable in doing so. If your family is going to hold it against him (or YOU) for refusing, it’s THEIR problem not yours. Sometimes you have to stand your ground even if family doesn’t like it, especially if you’re right and doing this with a good heart. If your brother is so darn gung ho about getting married without counseling, then he should just go to the court house to get married. Bro wants to be married by a minister but doesn’t want to go through counseling? Well he needs a reality check. He can’t have his cake and eat it too.

This might be a little difficult but has your husband looked at these two like he was not related to them? If your husband would not marry these two even if he was not related to them, then why would he marry them if he was?

Dude…if I was your DH I would tell them in very plain terms. NO.

Honestly, mt and DH got married by a JP, and its been a wonderful nearly 10 years, and we didnt have any kind of premarital counseling or anything.

But I suppose having him around me through the final stages of my divorce and the custody battle was enough counseling for us…

But I digress…

If YOUR dh doesnt feel comfortable marrying them, then he shouldnt have to because he is their BIL. I think thats a major cop out, and someone is trying to use family connections to get out of getting the counseling that is so obviously needed.

Maybe this could be a opportunity for DH to round up ALL the family…both sets of parents, groom, and bride, and explain to them in crystal clear terms WHY he wont marry them. (If thats even a possibility)

Silver, you hit the nail on the head! Ditto!

My brother was in a situation where his second marriage they didn’t have counseling and while they’re still married, their marriage has been full of one disaster after another. I can’t help but wonder why. . .:shrug:

I think what’s important for your hubby to remember is that he will, one day, answer to God for his actiions. I’m sure he is praying about what to do, but if he feels led by God NOT to marry them, then he has to obey God. We always feel pressure when we know the right thing to do, but others want us to do the opposite.

Stand your ground.

If your brother is so intent on getting married, he can get married in a civil ceremony.

That’s exactly what I was going to say. He needs to look long and hard at this situation and if he isn’t confirtable with marrying them then he really shouldn’t. Unfortunatly this is a tough situation but don’t let that go against your beliefs.

While this is extremely difficult for you both, I would suggest your husband sticks with his gut feeling. If he wouldn’t marry them if he didn’t know them, as has been said, why would he marry them just because he does?

He should stick to his principles. Not because of the difficult relationships surrounding the wedding etc, but because it his moral belief that he should not marry these two people.

One should stick to ones morals, no matter how hard it is to do so. My parents, both catholics, had a moral dilemma with my second eldest brother. He was to be married in a registry office. Not even a non catholic church just a registry office and he was doing that because his bride to be was (and still is) an atheist. She would not even consider the idea of a church blessing. Due to this both my parents separately and individually decided they could not attend the wedding. It hurt my brother hugely, but I strongly believe what my parents did was right. We all had the choice to go or not - I chose to go.

I think mum partly regrets it but at the end of the day her morals were strong and she stuck by her beliefs and I respect her for that more than anything else.

What a difficult situation for both you and your dh to be in! Sounds like mom is trying to take care of your brother’s situation, and I’d be willing to guess this isn’t the first time - it probably even contributes to making him who he is. I totally agree with others who have suggested a flat out refusal to do the ceremony, for so many reasons. Someone who is unwilling to consider counseling, and feels as though only he alone understands his relationship with his fiance does not sound like someone who will work hard when the marriage goes through those inevitable tough spots. He even sounds like someone who would blame everything on his wife - from what you mentioned on your last post, he sounds emotionally taxing to say the least. I’d be concerned for his fiance in the long run.
And as for mom, maybe you could calmly explain your and your dh need to follow your instincts, and a desire to maintain your own boundaries, which she is crossing. I’m sure you don’t want to hurt her, but what she has done is just unfair.
Lots of :hug: and good luck, whatever you decide!

My father is an Episcopal priest, and has been for 34+ years. He will not marry someone unless the couple goes throught pre-marital counseling. Saying that, just because they “do” the counseling sessions does not mean that he will marry them. He has refused on occasion to marry couples who have “completed” the required counseling sessions. The reason? Becasue marriage is a sacrament and he would not marry them in front of God and community (effectively putting his seal on the marrige), if he feels it is not right. Now my father has been married to my mother for 46 years this August, and knows how hard/lovely/trying/uplifting marriage is.

Personally, I have been invited to many weddings over the years. I can think of 3 weddings of good friends that I politely declined the invitation. When asked why I didn’t want to attend I told them as nicely as possible that my belief is that by attending a wedding I am pledging my belief in the couple, their commitment to one another, and my willingness to help them throught problems. I didn’t believe that the weddings/marriages where good/healthy and I could not attend in good concious. I regretted having to say this, as it hurt feelings, but my friends know me, and know I will not go against my mores,and respected (disliked but respected) my position. I’m sad to say that all 3 ended in divorce.

  1. Your brother is not very nice, and wants what he wants without working for it.

  2. Your brother doesn’t want a relationship with you, but would be fine with your husband officiating his wedding?!? (will you be invited?)

  3. Your brother did not ask, your mother did, she is not getting married.

  4. You have voiced concerns about the relationship as a whole. Could you pledge to support them in their marriage with a whole heart?

  5. Your husband believes marriage is serious, is he willing to officiate knowing it is not a fully healthy relationship…knowing there is the possiblity of children being brought into the relationship?

There are many serious issues here, not the least of which is the marriage. Familial responsiblity, caring for others, responsiblity, emotional maturity, future responsiblities (children, jobs, living arrangements, money, etc.).

My person opinion? I think it’s obvious :slight_smile:

I’m sure your husband will do what is right in his heart. I’m sure some of his confusion is becasue he’s a caring individual and doesn’t want to hurt or cause anymore problems. However, we don’t have to like family, just love them.

I would rather do the right think than the easy thing…and generally those are not the same thing. It’s just nice when they are.

I know it would be easy for me to say, Just tell them no.", but I also understand all the family conflict that would go with that decision and how heartbreaking it would be for me, especially if it caused a riff between my mom and I.

My brother is a pastor and before he even finished his studies he warned us that he would NOT officiate any family wedding, funerals, ect.

At the end of the day, as most have said before, he has to stand by his morals and beliefs and do what HE knows is right in his heart.

Thank you all for taking time the time to reply. I appreciate your honesty.

I called my sister (she lives in Washington DC) to get another family member’s perspective. She said dh should say no.

I see great potential for their relationship. They really do love each other. And they have been a united front against her family (which, honestly, is even more insane than mine…). But without a willingness to accept help or to do whatever it takes to have a successful marriage, there is also a great potential for disaster here.

I really don’t know what dh will decide. I have asked him to think about it…and to treat it as if the person asking was not my brother.