Due to MIL failing health, my in-laws moved in with us. I offered to help care for her. The family put an addition on our house for them. As soon as they moved in, I began to realize that my FIL was not the person I believed he was. He was manipulative and mean to me and my children. Much of what he said and did that involved the children I didn’t even know about until after they moved out. In my husband’s family, my FIL is greatly admired and respected for “his deep catholic faith.” It took years for my husband to realize the damage his father was causing. my FIL would often lie or exaggerate stories to my husband, even calling him at work, because he wasn’t getting his way ( I wasn’t sacrificing my family’s needs to cater to his wants or he felt I unjustly wanted him to help with his wife’s care). I would get phone calls from my husband urging me to do whatever was asked. Long story short, it drove a huge wedge between us and almost ended our 25 year marriage. My husband felt guilty because of the addition and the fact that they gave us a small amount of money monthly that barely covered their expenses. He felt we owed them. I often had to put down my nursing newborn to cater to FIL wants and schedule.
A conflict eventually arose between my husband and a sibling, and his sibling involved my FIL. You see my husband was expected to jump whenever someone in his family needed anything, even years before my in-laws moved in. He often sacrificed family obligations to us to do for his siblings and their families. We were not prioritized for many years. When our marriage was on the brink, and he realized this was no longer feasible, his family was not happy. His father sided with the other siblings in expecting him to continue with the status quo.
It didn’t end well. They moved out and in with one of their other children. We rarely see or speak to most of them, though we live fairly close. Our marriage continued to suffer, in large part because my husband did not deal well with what happened with his family. We have recently been dealing with the fall out of all of it as it relates to certain behaviors that followed.
So my issue is that my husband feels, because of the fourth commandment, that he is obligated to have some type of relationship with his father. He feels guilty not inviting him to certain family functions. I don’t hate the man. I don’t wish ill on him. I don’t think he is a good person. And I don’t want to be around him or have him at our family functions. When I am celebrating with my family, I want to be comfortable in my house. Whenever his father is discussed, it ends in a heated argument with him telling me I’m not considering him and his moral dilemma, and that I need to work on forgiveness. He tells me that any good catholic could see that I am wrong. So how does a “good” catholic (trying) reconcile the fourth commandment with a selfish, manipulative, self-serving parent or in-law? I am not looking for people just to tell me how wrong my husband is, or how wrong I am for that matter. I am looking for an authentic Catholic viewpoint, whether it be favorable to me or not. Thanks