Family and tradition

My story is a bit lengthy so please bear with me as it is necessary for you to answer my question at the end.
My wife and I have been legally married (in the sense of the law not religion) for more than 4 years now and have been living together happily. My wife is a Catholic and I’m a Buddhist and both of us are Asian. The facts that we’re legally married and of different faiths had made her family very unhappy. When we got married both of us had agreed that we did not want a wedding ceremony at church or any religious institutions. Her mother, on more than one occasion had called her to have a “proper” wedding at church so that our union would be approved by God. Without a proper wedding her mother believed she would not be admitted into the Christian heaven after she died because she hadn’t brought up her daughter according to her God’s teachings. Her father had scolded her on the same issue and said that his daughter had shamed the family by marrying a “god-less” man.
Due to mounting pressure, my wife succumbed to her family’s demand for a “proper” Catholic-style wedding and I agreed to go along with it in order to take the heat of my wife’s back.
Incident #1
So the week of the wedding came, families of both sides came to my house. My eldest sister and brother came from another state to represent the groom’s family (by Asian tradition) and my wife’s parents and siblings representing the bride’s. On the night preceding the wedding, my then future father-in-law said in front of everyone that tomorrow’s wedding was a “coercion” and that in the proper religious context it was really meant for the union a Catholic with another Catholic. But God had improvised a different ceremony for the case where it was “coerced”. My then eldest future brother-in-law was
there to intervene and said “Dad, there is no coercion here. The decision is mutual.”
But the father-in-law continued with his condescending speech. Upon hearing
that and anticipating that the religious war was about to explode, I left the house and didn’t know what ensued. But my sister and brother later told me that though they felt insulted but swallowed their pride and played nice on my behalf. For that I’m grateful for their love and support.
Incident #2
The wedding day came. I was quite happy actually because I get to experience first-hand what a Catholic wedding was. The priest who performed the ceremony was very happy to see us and knew both of us because we’re members of the church choir (though I am a Buddhist and have no intention of converting to Catholicism.)
The church choir was there to emotionally support and sing for us. Some of my friends from the Buddhist temple that I attended also came to the ceremony. “The ceremony was fun and unique…” so everyone said.
Well, the evening reception banquet was fun too… with one exception. What it was was my choir leader (also a friend of mine… he actually allowed me to sing solo in weekly masses a couple of times and wanted me to do more solos in the future) came to my now father-in-law to chat.
Being the his usual self, my now father-in-law praised his daughter (my wife) to for how smart, educated, and hard working she is (i’m fine with that).
However, he went on “… but I don’t know why she married this ‘Buddhist monk’ (a derogatory term in our tradition)”. Upon hearing
that, i quietly left the table and went to another table to chat with friends. I didn’t know what other insults about me my friend had to endure from my father-in-law. I spent the rest of the time that night at other tables
After the wedding:
So the wedding and banquet were over my sister left and went to another state to visit her long time college classmate. My brother returned home two days later. i later found out that he left early because he anticipated insults even before his arrival. For the next week both my wife and I took vacation to take the family out sight-seeing since they came from a different state.
Though exhausted from the preparation for the wedding, both of us tried our best to be good host. Overall, i thought we gave them a good touring experience. Afterward, they left one by one with the exception of my parent-in-laws and the youngest brother-in-law. They want to remain to relax as the weather here was quite comforting in the summer for
people at their age. I had no problem with that and told my wife that they could stay all summer or until it got cold and rainy here if they wanted to.
The real problem:
so a few days later my wife and I finally had sometime alone. I confided to her about how i felt about the 2 incidents. I knew this is a very sensitive issue therefore i kept my head cool and my voice low. I just wanted her to understand my feelings and appreciate what I have gone through. To my surprise by wife blew up and started screaming on top of her lung “why are you nitpicking on my family?” and she went on and on about how members of my family have insulted her. She even accused my sister for triggering my reactions. To be honest with you, i had talked to my sister about the issue but she advised that i should not say anything about the 2 incidents or anything about my in-laws to my wife for fear of negative reactions. Now my wife is accusing her of just the opposite. Not only that my wife said she would divorce me.
My question:
How am I supposed to respond to my wife? any advice is appreciated. Any non-Catholic husbands out there? I’d like to hear from you too.
thank you for reading and sharing

there is no family tradition among CAtholic that allows or encourages family members or in-laws to insult each other, or husbands and wives to scream at each other, if that is your question.

Your issues don’t seem to have much to do with religion, but some of those involved have used religions as an excuse to act out their prejudices and family conflicts. Your issues of communication between you and your wife are also not about religion, but about mutual care, concern and respect. If you decide to seek counselling that is a good place to start. All I can share is the biblical injunction contained in the story believed by Christians (and Jews) about how God created the world and the first humans. Because the first woman was created for the first man, literally in the poetic narrative, from his rib, the are the same bone, same flesh, one person in marriage, and the bible goes on to warn that this is the reason the husband and wife leave their own parents and cling to each other to form the new family. I suggest that one of the best Chrisitian teachings you could incorporate into your marriage is this one. Stand firm, do not allow family members on either side to insult your spouse, and expect her to stand with you. You know each put the other first, not your respective families.

This is not a Catholic issue.

Her family doesn’t like you. That is the issue. This may be in part due to your religion, but also it sounds like there are other issues. You are going to have to figure out how to live peacefully together and how to handle family interference.

So, it’s been 4 years since the wedding. Isn’t it time to let this drop?

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