Balancing tensions between wife and mother


Greetings and Praise God everyone. I'm a semi-recently married husband with a 1 month old baby boy :) I married my wife relatively early by US standards (I was 22). Several years later we have both aided each other in becoming closer to God and of course beginning to expand our family with the addition of our first son. My parents came to the US from Poland and then divorced when the stresses of life in a foreign country increased. From the onset, my mother was extremely against our marriage based on our young age, the fact that we were both in school, and that I met my wife in Poland while on vacation. She stands by her viepoint to this day despite the fact that we have become relatively successful in terms of finances and the like (not to mention the increase in faith I have experienced first hand).

This year we have decided to move to Poland. This is obviously a huge decision considering we have careers and a home here in the US. However, aside from wanting to try something new, we feel that Poland is a better place to raise our son and hopefully more children to come. We have a large family there to help out and it just seems that faith is more prevelant among the population as is evident by the numerous churches, masses, relgious activities, etc. My wife and I both love the US but this is a decision which simply feels right at the moment. Furthermore, we got married and began having kids early, so even if 10 years later we decide it was a bad idea - no harm done, we just come back.

Here lies the problem, despite anger and tension from my mother's side before hand, this news totally shocked and upset her. Aside from the fact that she loves her new grandson she was very sick last year and feels that she will need our help in the future. I assured her that once retirement time comes (10-12 years away) Poland would be a good choice anyways. Of course an 8 hour direct flight is also not that big a deal for now.

Unfortunately, she refuses to hear any logic. She claims I am not fulfilling my obligations and duties as a son and am sinning (not honoring mother...) She tells me that she will never consider moving to Poland and needs to focus only on her own needs and future security at the moment. She feels that she can not count on me and I am doing wrong by pleasing my wife (whom she thinks is the sole decision maker).

Aside from alleviating these tensions for the well being of everyone involved I really want my mom to understand the importance of our family unit (husband/wife/children). We get into heated arguments about her own lifestyle. My mom has 5 crosses/pictures of St. Mary in her bedroom, holy water, and a rosary in each drawer - yet, she does not live by the bible considering her live in boyfriend of 10+ years. I am the leader of my family and I need to do what I feel is right for them. She simply can not grasp that the hierarchy of my life is now God....Wife....Children....Parents

Please help! Thanks and God Bless.


If your goal is to get your mother to see it your way, forget about it. That's not likely to happen.

Make your decision and move on. You don't have to explain yourself to your mother and if she keeps bringing it up, tell her you've made your decision and it isn't open for discussion.

She will eventually accept what is, or she won't. So, move to Poland if that's what you believe is best for your family, and she will either visit or not, get Skype or not, etc. You cannot control her reaction. You can control your own reaction and response to her manipulation tactics.

As for her assertions regarding not "honoring" her, I suggest you read the 4th Commandment entry in the Catechism and of course that she does too. Adult children do not have to do what their parents tell them regarding who to marry, what occupation to have, where to live, how to run their family, etc, under the guise of "honoring" their parents.


The way you honor your mother at this point in your life is to be respectful, continue to reinforce the fact that you are going to do what is best for your family at this point, and be a broken record if you have to. I am learning these things myself with my own parents. I am married, therefore I am choosing my husband over my parents-- that's just the way it is. There is a reason why the Bible talks about "leaving and cleaving." That doesn't mean you forget that you have a family of origin, it just means that you are going to place priorities with your family-- wife and baby-- and your mother sounds like she will always refuse to listen to that.

There is nothing you can do but stress that you know that she's upset, but you have to do what is best for your family, and that is that. Always say that if you have to, but be respectful. I too am considering on moving with my husband sometime in the future and know that there is going to be a mess to deal with, but I also know that I have to place my husband before my parents.


What they said.

For Jesus said, “Have you not read that from the beginning, the creator made them male and female a*nd this is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife*, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So, then, what God has united, man must not divide.” [Matthew 19:4-6]


Once you marry, your obligation is to your wife, and NOT to your mother. That is explicitly stated in the Bible.

If she is a believing Catholic, take her to the local Priest for some counseling on this subject. if she refuses to go, then cut off the relationship with her, and stick by your wife.


[quote="The_Old_Medic, post:5, topic:222999"]
Once you marry, your obligation is to your wife, and NOT to your mother. That is explicitly stated in the Bible.

If she is a believing Catholic, take her to the local Priest for some counseling on this subject. if she refuses to go, then cut off the relationship with her, and stick by your wife.


Mmm We can't expect this good son to cut off his mother:). He conveys his intention to do right by his wife and to stand by their plans. He just needs to stick by that. He doesn't for one minute suggest that he wants or intends to cut off from his mother, but is considering her within the actual plans he has for his wife and himself. He would like her to understand. She's not likely to, but he's sad for that and wondering where we stand on that...but he did say "We have decided." They just need to go ahead, and they just have to kindly put up with the flak and hope the mother will enjoy her visits and theirs to her, but if they remain firm and are wise enough just to do it and not argue the point with her, may be the best they can do. Their mother isn't mature in her approach, but they have to be.

They've said their bit. They don't have to say any more or respond to the emotional blackmail. The fourth commandment doesn't require them to live in her lap and under her terms, but it does involve some consideration in keeping in touch kindly....but being firm not to engage in long emotional discussions that exhaust and upset all concerned. If they are wise they will make a habit of cutting that conversation short with a quiet, firm, kindly "this is our decision." Any parent can trot out the arguments his mother has. I could have screamed blue murder when my son and his wife moved 10,000 miles away, ( I didn't but I missed them and my grandson) but it was their right to live where they chose, and they flew me out a couple of times when they lived that far. They have since returned.

They said they could return to the U.S...and they may. The dream may not live up to itself, but they've the right to try.


It is obvious your mother has some emotional issues she needs to work out. She was young once and made her decision to move to another country, she has no right to tell you not to make your decisions. She sounds like she expects the whole world to cater to her.

I would simply say 'Mom, I am sorry you are upset but the decision has been made. You obviosly don't understand so I will not be wasting my time trying to explain.' and then leave it at that



Perhaps my answer is more a reflection of my own parenting style but to my mind--taking the mother's POV--she does not have a horse in this race. Adult children make their own decisions, and parents weigh in with advice when asked, not before, and that advice is based on consideration of all factors beginning with what is best for person who asks for advice, not with oneself. If my advice were solicited, it would be along the lines of jumping from the frying pan into the fire if either or both spouses have family in Poland who would expect to exert influence or control over the couple.


Thanks to everyone’s responses. My wife and I read all of your replies and feel better knowing we have others’ objective opinions confirming our own beliefs and understandings. I can not express what a great resource these forums are.


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