Troubleshooter: Parents won't let me marry as he didn't go to college

Dear Troubleshooter:

I'm a woman in my 20s. I have a boyfriend whom I have gone steady with for four years. My family won't agree to our marriage. It's because he didn't go to college after finishing high school. My father is particularly stubborn as he overemphasizes a person's academic background.

My boyfriend is gentle and makes me feel at ease. It's true his knowledge and cultural level aren't very satisfactory, even to someone like me who graduated from a mediocre university. But he has common sense and works sincerely as a public employee.

I want my family to pay attention to his personality. But they've even refused to meet him. I've tried and will try to persuade them to accept him. On the other hand, they are so uncompromising that I feel uneasy. For example, I'm concerned about my children's future - whether my children's future could be handicapped by his academic background.

I sometimes think that my parents' opinion may not be wrong as they've lived longer than I have. But I won't live with my parents throughout my life. I'm the most to blame as I can't decide what to choose - my family or him. Help me. I'm confused as various different ideas come to my mind.

S, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

Your family is against your marriage on the grounds that your boyfriend doesn't have a university diploma. Their statement is quite unreasonable.

Needless to say, people shouldn't be evaluated only through their academic background. Your father is wrong in opposing your marriage citing his academic background. But it seems to be difficult for you to forcibly change his view. So you had better take time to have him learn about your boyfriend's personality.

Even so, it's a problem your family has refused to even meet him. How does your mother feel about him? If possible, ask her to meet him at first and make it a breakthrough for changing your father.

Marriage is a critical matter in your life. It's yourself, not your parents, who should determine if he can truly be your lifelong partner. His personality that "makes you feel at ease" is more important than his academic background.

Another important thing, how does he feel about you? If he also wants to marry you, why don't you leave home and start living with him? If you live a happy life with him, your parents will probably accept him.

Sachiyo Dohi, lawyer