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Mini Man-sode 34: Red Flag - Her Family is Crazy

with

JJ Tomlin

Welcome back to another Men’s Minisode with JJ!!! We’re continuing this season in red flags, by talking about her family. Woop this is a BIG one!! We hope you’re ready and excited to jump into this! We all kind of think about the type of family we want to marry into one day. The funny thing is that we really have no control over the family we come from and they also didn’t have any control over the family they come from. So really, we think the whole notion of being careful about the family you marry into should be challenged. 

It’s important to approach this sitaution carefully when you have concerns about your girlfriend’s family, as family dynamics can have an impact on your relationship. Because the reality is that as you are growing closer together, her family’s dynamics are going to impact you more and more. 

Heart Check

Evaluate and challenge yourself! Recently, JJ was talking to a young couple that has been married about a year about this episode. BUT, what’s hilarious is that as they moved towards engagement and marriage they started having more candid conversations. They had the exact same assumption about the other’s family and it was, hey your family is crazy, like i’ve been around a lot of families and your’s is nuts! The irony is that your family and familial dynamic is the most FAMILIAR to you. It is your baseline of normal and not only is every family going to be different they are going to seem foreign and not make sense. Especially the things that are wrong or broken that you do not enjoy, those will stick out like a sore thumb. 

Start internal. You should absolutely be aware of your familial dynamic as you grow and mature. Evaluate your own family FIRST. Hopefully there will be things you appreciate but then you’ll also find things that aren’t the most healthy. If your significant other comes to you and has any kind of issue with your family, it should NOT be a surprise to you if you have done any kind of work and evaluation on you and your family. 

Especially in the south you hear, son, when you marry a girl you marry her family. Honestly nowadays, a united and connected family is one of the most rare things you could find. If you get this with your partner and they’re bringing that into your marriage that is an amazing and intentional gift from god. Really, distance and building a new individual life and forging your own legacy has become more important than family. We live in a hyper individualistic world. We actually really don’t enjoy this. This isn’t really what we see in other cultures. We’re actually in a place where the family has never matter less in human history then right now in the US. To have a close family takes severe INTENTION. Depending on what family you are marrying into, this is going to look so incredibly different from family to family. 

The thing is that the family comes with whatever partner you choose, but you don’t choose your partner based on the family. It’s truly the bonus family you’re given that isn’t part of the deal. 

It’s great to evaluate their family because it’s going to impact you. You have to identify if their family is just cray cray and you’re going to have to live with it. 

OR 

Is it like, hey this is a dysfunctional family and it’s spilling over into our relationship. Your girlfriend, isn’t in a place where they’ve been able to separate and place boundaries and if you keep dating the family is going to heavily impact everything you do. This situation is definitely a red flag. We won’t say it’s a deal breaker but it is cause to gather more information. 

How to identify if it is a red flag…

Seek WISE COUNSEL: In Proverbs many times it says that God speaks through wise counsel. If her family's behavior is causing significant problems in your relationship, consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance on how to navigate challenging family dynamics. Having someone who can give a non-bias opinion is HUGE. 

Communicate with Your Girlfriend: Open and honest communication is key. Talk to your girlfriend about your concerns and how her family's behavior or dynamics may affect your relationship. Ensure that you both understand each other's perspectives. Safely and kindly express truthful opinions. Always lead with asking QUESTIONS! 

Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with her family to protect your relationship. Discuss what boundaries are necessary to maintain a healthy relationship, and make sure you both agree on them. The WHY for boundaries should always be that you want to maintain a healthy relationship. The beauty of this is that it gives you distance to evaluate objectively because you can’t see things objectively when you’re wrapped up in them. 

How to Navigate Your Partner’s Family

Try to uderstand her perspective: Try to understand your girlfriend's perspective on her family. She may have a deep connection with them despite any quirks or issues. You must respect her feelings and be empathetic. Your priority is HER. Create a deeply safe place to open up and share. 

Assess Long-Term Compatibility: Consider whether you can handle the challenges that may arise from her family in the long run. Think about your own values, expectations, and whether they align with hers and her family's. Can you two get on the same page and be a good team? At the end of the date you two are creating a family that is separate from the one you left. 

Make Informed Decisions: Before getting married, make sure you are fully aware of the potential challenges related to her family and how you plan to address them together. Consider pre-marital counseling to address any concerns.

Closing Thoughts...

Remember that no family is perfect, and many couples successfully navigate challenging family dynamics. You would be SHOCKED at how messy families are. The key is open communication, leading with empathy, and a willingness to work together to overcome any issues that may arise. Ultimately, the decision to marry should be based on your love for each other, your compatibility, and your ability to work as a team to address challenges, including those related to family.

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JJ Tomlin

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JJ Tomlin is a missionary kid born in Belgium, originally from Tennessee, and currently residing in the OC. He currently works in Gaming/E-Commerce, enjoys watching his Tennessee Titans on Sundays with his Goldendoodle Teddy and loves working with Christian men to raise the bar in singleness and dating.


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