Your New Son-in-Law
Because many young women are waiting until they're out of college and established in their careers — sometimes across the country from where you live — before they settle down with the perfect guy, your daughter may come home already engaged to a man you've never laid eyes on (at least not in person).
Of course, you trust her judgment, so you're willing to go on the assumption that he's a great guy. But how can you establish your own relationship with him? After all, the two of you are going to be in each other's lives forever, starting now, so you want to make sure that you get off to a good start.
Getting to Know You …
Now that you have met him, it is now time to get to know him. Right away, you will probably want to know everything about him if your daughter has not already filled you in on the details. Take some time to sit down with him and ask important questions, including:
What he does for a living
His interests and hobbies
What his plans for the future are (say, if he's in grad school or if he's talking about a move out West)
Whether he has a former wife and/or children (because they will hugely affect your daughter's life)
The first time you meet your daughter's future husband, you want to find acceptance while keeping your daughter's best interests at heart. Now is not the time to bring up major issues or provoke confrontation. If you have concerns about their financial and emotional future, tread lightly and start with talking to your daughter first.
Go into your first conversation with this guy with an open mind, and promise yourself not to make any snap judgments. There is plenty of time for a full evaluation of him — just not during your initial meeting.
Easy Does It, Mom
So, his job, his kids, his interests and his plans for the future are fair topics for conversation. What are the things you should not plan on asking him about during your first chat?
His parents' occupations. It may well come up on its own, but your asking could be seen as offensive, especially if your families come from different financial backgrounds.
His divorce. While you are certainly entitled to know if he's been married before, you are not entitled to every detail of the breakup. Don't ask. You will know, eventually.
Exactly how much he earns. It's enough to know that he is gainfully employed and/or extremely ambitious.
His debt. Asking him about his FICO score and/or inquiring about the balances on his major credit cards is out of line. Remember: There's a significant difference between being a mother and being a future mother-in-law. This kind of nosiness at this point in your relationship could keep this guy from ever warming up to you.
And then there are topics that may be very important to you, but are generally divisive, if you don't happen to hold the same beliefs. Don't broach the subject of politics or religion in your first meeting if you can help it. Give yourself a chance to like him for who he is first.
Chances are if you're a card-carrying member of the GOP and he answers your question about his personal politics with “I'm a Democrat, Ma'am,” it's going to take a while to get over it if you've only just met the man. Conversely, if you get to know him before he unveils the liberal side of himself, it will be easier for you because you know he's a good person, political differences aside.