In my twenties, the thought of my boyfriend meeting my parents was beyond scary. I wasn't sure if I was more afraid of my mom meeting him or my my dad. Either way, I tried to put it off for as long as possible. I always introduced him to my friends first. Next came my cousins, then my brothers, and months later, I would gather the courage to introduce him to my parents.
It was completely different with my husband. He introduced me to his friends and family within the first two weeks of meeting me and he met my family very soon after. Immediately, I realized that throughout my entire life, I had been dating backwards. I had been waiting until I was head over heels in love with someone to meet the most important people in their life. What I should have been doing was meeting his family first to see how he operated, interacted, and communicated with his family. Was he rude to his mother? Did they treat me with respect? What were their family values? Could I get along with his parents?
When you wait until you are in love with someone to meet their family, you give up a tremendous amount of control in your relationship. Instead of making strategic decisions with your mind, you make decisions with your heart. You become more accepting of faults, flaws, mistakes, different interests, and incompatible values, because you are already in love.
Meeting a person's family gives you way more insight into who they are as a person. You get a chance to see a more realistic portrayal and whether that meshes with the person they have held themselves out to be.
If you meet a person's family at the beginning stages of your relationship, you don't have to worry about having to accept a family that is disrespectful, rude, abrasive, or unloving. You gain a better idea of who they are upfront and then you can decide if this is something you want to deal with or if it would be best to choose a person with a more loving, caring, and embracing family unit. After all, you marry someone's family....not just that individual. You do not want to spend holidays with a group of people that you really don't care for. It's best to have the control upfront to choose something other than dysfunction. That saying, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree", says it all.