Balancing Marrriage and Parents


Without getting into the reasons why my husband DOES NOT like my parents. That is putting it midly. I won’t get into the reasons except too say he has very good reasons for feeling the way he does. They have not treated him or us as a couple well.

Here’s the problem, as angry as I am at them, they are still my parents and I do love them very much. My husband has made it clear that although he does not want to see them, it’s fine with him and he even encourages me to visit them whenever I want.

However, I hate going to family events without him. I hate making excuses for why he’s not there. I have tried this before and I have had no success. I’m left feeling like I’m married in my private life and single in public. However I know asking him to go will spell the end of our marriage.

So my alternative is too boycott all family events altogether. I have already missed my favorite cousin’s wedding and my mother’s birthday and I felt guilt over each. I also feel that if I go to family events I’m telling my parent’s that their actions are ok. The greatest amount of guilt comes from feeling that totally ignoring my parents is disrespectful and goes against the honour I am required to give them according to the commandent. How do I give them this respect while staying true to my husband and my marriage.


Ahhh…in law problems. :slight_smile: You are not alone, I can tell you that.

Remember that while you must honor your father and mother, you also LEFT your father and mother and must “cling” to your husband, as you are now as one. Your duty remains first to your husband. So whatever your decision is, dont feel guilt that you are dishonoring your family. If you agree with your husband then you need to just stand up and have a discussion with your family abouthow they treat him, etc.

Someone once told me, you teach people how to treat you. So, just draw a line in the sand and tell them whats what. (easier said than done, I know!)



Can your husband attend the big events (like your cousin’s wedding) with you, while skipping the general day to day visits? There’s no reason that he can’t do the right thing and go to the big things with you that apparently mean a lot to you. There’s also no reason why he (or you) need to be subjected to horrible behavior just because the people inflicting it are your parents.


You are extremely lucky to have such an understanding husband. Not everyone does.

Do remember that you are obligated to honor your parents. Honoring your parents (now that you are married) means you treat them like honorable people. You don’'t need to defend your marriage to honorable people so don’t defend it to your parents.

However, I hate going to family events without him. I hate making excuses for why he’s not there. I have tried this before and I have had no success. I’m left feeling like I’m married in my private life and single in public. However I know asking him to go will spell the end of our marriage

Let me be blunt. If you hate going to family events without your husband then that is your problem. It’s not your family’s and it’s not your husband’s. I’m not sure why you need to make excuses. Assuming what you say is true, he’s not there because your family mistreats him. Your family is the one who needs to make excuses for treating the two of you poorly. Your husband needs no excuse.

You need to be the strong one. If you want to attend family functions, then attend them and enjoy them. If people ask where your husband is then tell them he stayed home. That’s a good enough answer. If someone insists on asking why then it’s time to say because so and so behaves rottenly towards him. End of conversation.


Kelly, you stated you are “tired of making excuses”. Why do you make excuses?

It seems like maybe you have not defended your husband and demanded that your parents respect him and treat him with dignity and kindness. You have allowed them to treat him poorly.

So, you should not make excuses, you should demand they change their behavior.

Will your husband consider reconciliation if they apologize or begin to treat him differently?


In so many discussion where he husband’s family does not treat the wife right, we all talk about the husband sticking up for the wife, defending her to his parents/siblings/ whoever. Now that the shoe is on the other foot you need to do the same. It is perfectly reasonable for you to say, “Mom and dad, I’d love to come to xyz event, but because of the way you’ve treated dh we will not be coming. I will come to visit you on such and such date by myself, but we won’t be able to attend other events until you apologize.” Or perhaps you can say you will only stay in phone contact. Your husband is your first responsibility now. Then your children. And only after them comes your parents and siblings. To honor your parents, you need to be respectful to them, but you don’t have to attend every gathering in order to show that respect.


While you know your own parents best and what works for them, In my experience demanding that people apologize seldom works. You may get better results saying that you will not be coming to xyz event because your husband does not feel welcomed by them. Give several examples of where their behavior toward him has been out of line without accusing them of being out of line. Ask them rhetorically how they would like being treated that way by someone else. Then back off. They may apologize on their own without any demand from you. Or they may change their behavior without specifically apologizing for past behavior. If so, be big about it. Let them repair the relationship but also save face.


Haven’t read other posts, but I will make a suggestion and it has worked for me…

Is your DH willing to visit your parents on a limited time frame? What I mean is…are you willing to leave the visit within an hour after arriving, or two hours?

I have found that after about two hours with my MIL, it’s time to go. She starts getting more comfortable around everyone and her mouth starts opening…kwim?

This way, your parents are somewhat happy that your DH is around and your DH is somewhat happy that he doens’t have to take big doses of them…



My suggestion, Your husband comes first.

I understand him not wanting to go their, esp if they are treating him bad.

You may need to set your family down and lay the line down with them. PERIOD and tell both sides to GROW UP and act like adults. Sorry, but the truth hurts and can be a hard pill to swallow.


I’m living that too!!

My husband has not attended a family event with my family in 6 years.

At first I thought that I had to make excuses for him… Then I realized that they needed to know why he didn’t come… Finally, I told them.

I love my husband, he is a very good husband and does anything for me… I don’t care what anybody else thinks about him.

He still doesn’t attend, and now they don’t ask me where he is.

He did attend my grandmothers funeral with me… I love him for that.


go to family events without him, and do not make excuses, never complain, never explain (HankII).
Where is Joe? He is not here, Mom.
end of discussion
Why didn’t he come? He can’t make it.
Why? He can’t make it.
Doesn’t he like it here? He’s not coming.
What is his problem? He can’t make it.
just do the broken record thing until they give up.
YOu might also just turn your back, walk away and start talking to another guest until she gets the message. He is not coming, and you are not talking about it. at all. period.

for most of our marriage he took the kids to his family for holidays etc, I took them to my family (different towns). It was just better this way for 100 reasons. We did not do explanations and excuses. we just did it.

when you are married your first loyalty is to your husband. the quicker your parents get it, the better. never ever discuss your husband with your relatives behind his back, and NEVER share any problems the two of you may be having with your family. EVER.


Thank you, this is indeed a better way of handling it.


My gut reaction to your situation is that there is a whole lot of selfishness running through all of you. Sorry if I’m harsh. But this situation reminds of a similar one that a really close friend of mine had. Maybe you could share this story with both your husband and your parents.

Bonnie (my friend) met her husband, Mike, at church. They both worked with the church Jr. High youth program. Mike was nearly 10 years older than Bonnie and worked retail. Bonnie was an engineer. Bonnie’s Dad was an engineer and believed that she should marry someone that could provide for her in a manner like he had provided for the family. Needless to say, Bonnie’s parents didn’t like Mike at all. He just didn’t measure up. So, one Tuesday night Bonnie and Mike have an inpromtu wedding, very small, just a few friends. They went on a Jr High retreat for their honeymoon. A few years later, child 1 comes along. A couple of years after that, child 2 comes along. All the while, the parents still don’t like Mike and he really doesn’t care for them. Then, one day Bonnie seriously injures her leg, is on crutches, etc. Ten days following the injury, a blood clot breaks loose and goes to her lung. Bonnie is called to heaven. Mike is left alone with the two children. He has only a Dad and a sister which live away. Mike and Bonnie’s parents are left together to care for these children (age 2 and age 5). Mike needs them because his hours are crazy. Parents need Mike because he’s their only link to Bonnie kids. Needless to say, they’ve had to learn to get along.

Again, I’m sorry that my opinion is harsh. I hope this story helps all of you look on the situation differently…


AlaAnnie…that’s why I suggested using the time frame.

Sad story there, but is true. Can happen…it happened to my DH’s family, he lost his father at the age of 6 and the family decided then to all get along.

That’s the reason that I can be around my MIL for a brief period of time, just long enough to make everyone happy. I’m doing it for my children (because they LOVE Granny) and for my DH…


It is difficult to say if your husband is being reasonable because you did not elaborate on exactly what your parents have done or said to him.

That being said: even if we assume the worst possible scenario and that your parents have been just horrible to him…I do not understand why he would not attend a wedding? I can see not attending a birthday party where your mother was the guest of honor, however not attending a wedding of someone else just because your parents were going to be in the same room is not reasonable. In my opinion, your husband should be attending family events with you.

Will he consider going to events with you, but not go to one-on-one gatherings with your parents? This sounds like a compromise. He is boycotting an entire family of people because of the behavior of two. Please consider talking to him about this if you think it would be helpful. I will pray for you.


Great suggestion!

Also, Kelly, you can make sure that your DH is never alone with your parents even at these gatherings. Maybe that will deter them from whatever they are saying or doing to him if you are present, right beside him at all times.


Wow…I’m surprised at many of the comments here.

I guess I come down on the other side. I think your husband needs to make an effort to attend the “big” family functions (weddings and such) with you. He should be the bigger man in this situation. By showing up he is showing his quiet strength. By staying away, they see him as weak. By you attending alone, they are happy because they get what they want (you without him). You are a team so either attend together or skip it together…unless of course it’s a low-key event where it would be very reasonable for you to attend solo. Sometimes, when it comes to family we all have to visit and attend things with people we don’t like. We do it because it’s the right thing to do.

If your husband shows up and they are rude to him, then leave.

That’s my take anyway.


AlaAnnie, I 100% agree with you. I’m not married and my family was understandably upset with my dd’s dad about our situation (now we’re waiting on the Tribunal’s decision before deciding on our next move) and don’t “get” why we don’t just get married at the county (since many other relatives are on second marriages without annulments). It was at a point where they wouldn’t talk to my dd’s dad or would treat him rudely (even at dd’s first birthday party). I sat my immediate family down at various points and told them that I want for them to get along because heaven forbid something happens to me, to see their granddaughter/niece/cousin they have to have a relationship with dd’s dad. Needless to say, it took a few years, but now everyone is welcoming of him when he’s around to spend time with dd (he comes over every day after work in addition to his alone time with her so that she can have as “normal” of a life as possible given the situation). What also helped them realize my point is that I have many family members who died leaving young children and teens behind. OP, laying down the law is a pretty darn good idea, but do it in a non-confrontational way.


Thanks everyone for your input. I think I may have given some people the wrong idea of my husbands role in all this.

My husband has promised to attend weddings and funerals with me. He told me he would attend my cousin’s wedding but didn’t want to because the last falling out he and my parents had was last then a week before the wedding. He didn’t want tension on my cousins big day and neither did I. We agreed not to go together.

He will not go to birthdays, christmas, holidays or anything else. While it is a compromise I can live with, I am just trying to balance my marriage and my family. I don’t want to attend events and give the impression that I’m ok with the way they are treating my husband. At the same time I don’t want to disown my family. I am trying to “honour my parents” while still putting my husnand first.

For the record I have defended my husband to my parents. I chose not to do it at big family gatherings (ie Christmas) so not to spoil everyone’s day. Hence the need to make excuses. My husband has also made at least two attempts to reconcile with my parents. The last time my father hung up on us.

I hope this helps to clear things up. Again I want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions. It helps to know that my way of dealing with things now is not wrong.


I can only say what I would do.

If my parents were being disrespectful to my husband to the point where he no longer felt comfortable around them I would side with my husband. I would never spend holidays such as Christmas and Easter without my husband. I would feel I was disrespecting my marriage and husband to continue to attend events alone despite the fact that parents have not treated my husband or our relationship as a couple well. I would feel my parents would need to feel the consequences of their bad behavior.

I would honor my parents by keeping them in my prayes and being open to reconcilliation if they chose to amend their behavior. I would not involve myself in family events where they are present until they could accept my marriage and treat my husband with respect.

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