Help - marriage on life support


#1

I have been married over one year, and in the last year, my wife and I have been unable to come to a resolution of an issue that has left me sad, depressed, and not particularly hope-filled.

In short, my wife and my brother, Jim, to whom I am very close, got off to a bad start during our dating period. Their first introduction was not good, and since then, she’s always held a grudge for him. When I revealed to her prior to marriage that he, his wife, and son had stayed with me rent-free for over a year, she essentially badgered me into asking them for back-rent, until I gave in, despite my re-iteration that I allowed them to live free with me FREELY, as a gift because they had moved back home and were in some tough financial straits, albeit temporarily.

When I broached the subject with my brother last fall, it created a chasm between the four of us (my brother, his wife, me, my wife). Basically, my wife does not want to have anything to do with him, despite the fact that he (a) has apologized for his past behavior towards her; (b) we are extremely close because our father abandoned us and our mom when we were children; © I want a relationship with my brother because I have always been close to him (up until my wife and I married).

Essentially, my wife refuses to do much of anything with my brother and his family, constantly looks for the negative, and when she does do something with them, is quiet to the point of passively-aggressively not saying anything, thereby ensuring the situation remains tense and I don’t have a good time. I have asked her, pleaded with her, to allow me what I allow her - namely to have a relationship with my brother, just as she has a relationship with each of her 12 brothers and sisters. Ultimately, she just will not give up any ground.

I am truly at my wit’s end about this. I recently had to be treated medically again for anxiety and some suicidal thoughts, which I believe are largely related to this. I really feel pulled between my brother and my wife. She will not see a priest or counselor, and doesn’t see the problem.

While I believe in marriage as for better or for worse, I also don’t feel it’s fair that I cannot have a basic right fulfilled - the right to associate with my brother, who, despite his many imperfections, is a decent man at heart.

While I am not perfect, I feel like I don’t know what else to do, outside of leaving…Any help would be appreciated.


#2

[quote=cabrini75]I am truly at my wit’s end about this. I recently had to be treated medically again for anxiety and some suicidal thoughts, which I believe are largely related to this. I really feel pulled between my brother and my wife. She will not see a priest or counselor, and doesn’t see the problem.
[/quote]

The problem with your brother is the least of your worries. You must first go to your Priest and begin to work on your suicidal impulses. The devil is at work. First and foremost, God loves you deeply and intimately. You need to feel that love as it will help you love yourself more deeply and intimately. Only then can you turn your attention first to your wife and then to your brother.


#3

I know this may sound trite, but pray. Bathe you wife in prayer and ask for her intercession for whatever challenges you may face (not specifically your issues with her and your brother). If you haven’t already, develop a devotional life with your spouse. Couples who attend church weekly, study their faith, and pray together have a near zero chance of divorce (like 1 in 1000). I will remember you in my prayers, if you would like please share your first name.


#4

You are feeling hopeless. Please go to a Catholic counselor by yourself if your wife won’t go with you. Let her know that you’re going, and why. Your wife has some unresolved issues and appears to be a control freak also. You knew this when you married her, but as they say, love is blind. I am sorry that this was not resolved prior to your marriage, now the both of you have some catching up to do. You are up to it. Pray for your wife and eventually she may be up to it too.


#5

Thank you for the suggestions.

As a point of clarification:

1). I am not currently feeling suicidal, thank God, and am being treated.

2). I have already done over three years’ of counseling (three prior to the marriage, and about five months during our marriage, on my own).

3). I have been praying about this - with my wife, without my wife, with others - for over a year.

Am I within my Christian moral spectrum to simply go on my own to see my brother? Am I free to spend time with him and his family?

What else is there if none of what I’ve tried works? Is this a VALID marriage if the other party is so immature they won’t budge on most things, particularly this issue?


#6

W/ that clarification, I’d go see your brother and tell him that you love him dearly and you are sorry for what you have done to hurt your relationship but your marriage is your first priority.

Then, I’d concentrate on things that would give your wife a more Christian heart. Pray for her, love her unconditionally (she might somehow think that your love for your brother is greater and demanding repayment is a way to put things in right order). After that, trust in the Holy Spirit. Once she more deeply EXPERIENCES both the love of Christ in her own life and through your love for her, she will be able to better love you. And once her love for you better reflects the love of Christ, she will want to have you to have a relationship with your brother, will forgive the past, and will want to have a relationship w/ your brother herself.


#7

My wife has had some serious issues with my dad (not without cause though, he can be a real jerk) and it has taken years of prayer to work through. Over the past 8 years of marriage there have been times when I did not see my dad for months because of the animosity between my wife and him. There is no magic pill, just lots of conversation (in reality lots of listening on my part) and lots of prayer, don’t give up.

Also, behaviour has nothing to do with the validity of your marriage. Validity has to do with whether it was a real marriage to begin with.


#8

1). I am not currently feeling suicidal, thank God, and am being treated.

Thank Heavens! We were worried!

2). I have already done over three years’ of counseling (three prior to the marriage, and about five months during our marriage, on my own).

Good for you! But it sounds like there may need to be more…because your wife ‘badgered’ you into going back on your word and that, my friend, is abuse. At least, I think it is so maybe that’s why you need to continue with counseling.

3). I have been praying about this - with my wife, without my wife, with others - for over a year.

Am I within my Christian moral spectrum to simply go on my own to see my brother? Am I free to spend time with him and his family?

What else is there if none of what I’ve tried works? Is this a VALID marriage if the other party is so immature they won’t budge on most things, particularly this issue?

Neither of you seem particularly mature, not because you are a bad guy but because you married someone who made it very clear from the beginning that she was not going to let you have a peaceful relationship with your family AND who badgered you about something that happenned BEFORE you got married. - and you gave in to her. Now this is just my opinion, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think either one of you is a monument to maturity.

And I think you have a right to see your family. If your wife abuses you because you see your family without taking away from time with her then you need to talk to your priest and discuss whether this marriage is valid. If what you are telling us is the truth, and nothing but the truth, your wife may be mentally ill.


#9

[quote=cabrini75]I have been married over one year, and in the last year, my wife and I have been unable to come to a resolution of an issue that has left me sad, depressed, and not particularly hope-filled.

In short, my wife and my brother, Jim, to whom I am very close, got off to a bad start during our dating period. Their first introduction was not good, and since then, she’s always held a grudge for him. When I revealed to her prior to marriage that he, his wife, and son had stayed with me rent-free for over a year, she essentially badgered me into asking them for back-rent, until I gave in, despite my re-iteration that I allowed them to live free with me FREELY, as a gift because they had moved back home and were in some tough financial straits, albeit temporarily.

When I broached the subject with my brother last fall, it created a chasm between the four of us (my brother, his wife, me, my wife). Basically, my wife does not want to have anything to do with him, despite the fact that he (a) has apologized for his past behavior towards her; (b) we are extremely close because our father abandoned us and our mom when we were children; © I want a relationship with my brother because I have always been close to him (up until my wife and I married).

Essentially, my wife refuses to do much of anything with my brother and his family, constantly looks for the negative, and when she does do something with them, is quiet to the point of passively-aggressively not saying anything, thereby ensuring the situation remains tense and I don’t have a good time. I have asked her, pleaded with her, to allow me what I allow her - namely to have a relationship with my brother, just as she has a relationship with each of her 12 brothers and sisters. Ultimately, she just will not give up any ground.

I am truly at my wit’s end about this. I recently had to be treated medically again for anxiety and some suicidal thoughts, which I believe are largely related to this. I really feel pulled between my brother and my wife. She will not see a priest or counselor, and doesn’t see the problem.

While I believe in marriage as for better or for worse, I also don’t feel it’s fair that I cannot have a basic right fulfilled - the right to associate with my brother, who, despite his many imperfections, is a decent man at heart.

While I am not perfect, I feel like I don’t know what else to do, outside of leaving…Any help would be appreciated.
[/quote]

What I am interested in is what your brother did for your wife to bre reacting in this way.

Maybe her attituded is justified, and maybe it is not fair of you to ask her to be on good terms with him. On the other hand, maybe it’s not…


#10

My brother was getting his little baby son out of the back seat of a car we were riding in. My then-girlfriend was sitting next to the baby seat, and my brother ended up having his hand brush up against her buttocks. He made a comment like, “Oh, you work out.” I didn’t hear about this till much later, and I told him neither she nor I appreciated his comment. However, he has since apologized several times, and asked for her forgiveness, which she will not impart.

While I agree what he did was inappropriate, he was stupidly horsing around and has truly been sorry about it ever since. Another thing he did was, as best man at the wedding, gave a less-than-stellar toast speech. He mostly talked about how he got married and how others had given him advice, etc. He then closed the speech saying, “To ______ and _____, may God bless you. But remember, you’re always my little brother following me around.” She, I, and most in attendance were UNDERwhelmed by his speech.


#11

[quote=cabrini75]My brother was getting his little baby son out of the back seat of a car we were riding in. My then-girlfriend was sitting next to the baby seat, and my brother ended up having his hand brush up against her buttocks. He made a comment like, “Oh, you work out.” I didn’t hear about this till much later, and I told him neither she nor I appreciated his comment. However, he has since apologized several times, and asked for her forgiveness, which she will not impart.

While I agree what he did was inappropriate, he was stupidly horsing around and has truly been sorry about it ever since. Another thing he did was, as best man at the wedding, gave a less-than-stellar toast speech. He mostly talked about how he got married and how others had given him advice, etc. He then closed the speech saying, “To ______ and _____, may God bless you. But remember, you’re always my little brother following me around.” She, I, and most in attendance were UNDERwhelmed by his speech.
[/quote]

Hate to say it, but your wife seems to need to get over herself. Sheesh, maybe your brother was trying to joke his way out of an uncomfortable situation with the car seat incident. And Ok, the toast wasn’t great, but hey, at least you have family that loves you enough to attend your wedding…not everyone has that. I find it weird that your wife will not be considerate enough of your feelings to at least make an effort to be civil to your brother. It’s not like you’re asking her to be bosom buddies or anything. Heck, my brother and I don’t get along terribly well, but my husband is always cognizant of the fact that he’s my brother and my blood (whether or not I want him to be). A marriage has to involve compromise, and she doesn’t seem very willing to even try.


closed #12

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