How to deal with in-law?


This topic may be contraversial and I am only looking for advice as to what to do with my dh’s dad and brother’s attitude on hispanics. I am a hispanic and my dh is not. That being said, my FIL keeps sending emails about illegal immigrants, mostly Mexicans, and I am not a Mexican. My dh and I have different views on this situation and some the same. Well, one time his dad sent an email that was a sore subject for me and he doesn’t talk to me much anymore when he calls. He says he is not prejudice, but at one of my visits to his house when I was first married, they referred to blacks as “monkeys.” I don’t know what they call hispanic. My dad made it clear to his family that if they didn’t agree with the marriage because I was hispanic to keep that from him.

Today my FIL sent another email and basically in it it states that if you are in America, welcome, but if you don’t know English get out. I just delete his emails, but it bothers me. I speak both English and Spanish and agree that if you live here that you need to learn to speak English, but that may take time for some people and they have to be able to communicate to someone and they do so in their native language. Some are very old people, who will not learn another language at their age. I know of a situation where my MIL, who is a paramedic, had a elderly woman about 89 yr. old and had some kind of pain, but didn’t speak English to tell her about it. My MIL called me and I had to speak to this woman and than I told my MIL the problem. This elderly woman told me she just moved in from Equador for she had to move in with her dd, but that she didn’t speak English. I understand her situation. According to my FIL and my BIL’s, that is no excuse and she needs to leave if she can’t speak English.

How do you deal with people like that? My dh doesn’t like to get involved anymore with it for the last time it was a mess. Should I address this with my FIL and tell him how his emails offend me as a hispanic and a Catholic, or just keep deleting his email and chuck it up to ignorance and prejudice. My FIL doesn’t agree with anything that separates people, like he told me that the TV network, BET for blacks, is not needed. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but he just told me that. He disagrees with any Spanish or other language programming on TV or radio while here in America.

How do I deal with him? I realize some may agree with him, but please be charitable.


This is deplorable behavior on the part of your FIL, and I am so sorry for you to have to bear it.

I have friends in Houston who have a similar situation - the DIL is hispanic, and her FIL and MIL act like their son’s family barely exists. It’s sad.

Unfortunately, people with prejudices rarely change. It is fair, however, for you and your husband to firmly state to your FIL that you do not wish to receive any more emails of that sort, and to please stop. Hopefully, your husband will stand at your side in carrying this cross.

This is an opportunity for you to rely on your faith to deal gracefully with this problem…I wish you strength.

Peace of Christ be with you…


on a simple level, change your email address and don’t give it to him.

on a complex level, pray for him. You can’t change spots on a leopard and it sounds like they aren’t going to change the way they think.


Well, won’t they have to reevaluate things when you start having kids. Either they’ll have to learn to love y’all, or they will shun your kids.

Either way, you win by raising a generation that doesn’t believe that kind of garbage. Ignorance comes in every color of the rainbow.


Dear Nana,
I’m sorry you have to deal with that. I believe that half of hispanics marry non-hispanics, so you’re certainly not alone.
My husband is Mexican and I’m Irish/English/Scandinavian. The Irish and Mexicans have a lot in common since they’ve both been discriminated against.
In a few generations you won’t be able to tell hispanics from Italians from Germans – who really cares or notices ethnicities anymore? But meanwhlle, you have to deal with your relatives.
It is really your husband’s role to protect you from harrassment. Perhaps you could tell him your FIL is hurting your feelings and ask him to request he stop it. I had to squelch a bit of nastiness on my side of the family when we first married, but have had no problems since then. And my Mom loved my husband – think she was just happy I married somebody! But seriously, he’s so sweet she was charmed.
Sorry to ramble. It is clearly your husband’s job to protect you. That will have a greater effect than your trying it yourself.

By the way, some people learn foreign languages easily and some don’t. My husband speaks his own brand of Spinglish, despite taking years of ESL – people seem to understand him somehow, beats me how. We have to be kind to those it doesn’t come easy to.


Your course of action depends completely on what you beleive the reaction will be and what you desire for outcome.

If you think asking him to not send those emails will bring about a peaceful reaction and that he will simply stop sending them then I would ask your husband to politely make this request

If you think asking him to not send those emails will bring about anger and hostility and cause a fight then I would simply keep deleting the emails (unless your desire is an arguement because you are irritated and don’t care anymore).

Think about what you want first. Do you want confrontation? Do you want them to change? Do you want peace? What will bring this about? What is a realistic expectation knowing your in-laws?

My biggest concern is your marriage. Do you bring this topic up often with your husband? Does he bear the brunt here by having to hear you vent your frustration? Be careful here if this is the case. I speak from experience. My husband grew up in a physically abusive home and his mother is still difficult in her old age. Not only did he grow up with this difficult woman but he had to listen to his wife (me) complain about her often in his adulthood! I realized that I was only adding to his pain. Once he said “I know my mother is not a good person and I am so sorry I wish my family was like yours”. I realized then I was hurting him. Maybe this is not the case in your marriage, but it is an easy trap so I am just giving you a “heads up”. I will pray for you, in-law troubles can really tear up a marriage and I will pray for strength in your relationship to withstand this turmoil and pain.


Your husband should be the one to take this up with his family. Let him fight that battle for you.


I second Monicad.

Decide what you want ahead of time and proceed accordingly.

Second of all, do not gripe to your husband about his parent. This is a difficult situation to be for any son and husband. The bulk of his loyalty should be with you but there is always love for his parent. So, tread carefully.

His in-laws are entitled to their opinion but they do not have to harass you. Perhaps changing you email address or blocking his email address would be wise (if you block someone do they find out?). If neither of these are possible, perhaps get your DH to tell his father that his emails upset you and if he could kindly stop sending them to you. I don’t think this is an unreasonable request. Everytime he brings up the topic, change the subject or walk out of the room with the excuse you have to check on something in the kitchen.


First of all, thanks to all who have given me your advice, for I really appreciate it.

I do think that my addressing the matter with my FIL or even my dh, would bring about anger. My FIL is just that kind of person. The last time, my dh was also offended so much by an email knowing that it would upset me that, he did bring it up to his dad and that was a mess. Let us just say that my FIL doesn’t ask to talk to me anymore and he never asks to speak to his granddaughter. My dh was nice to his dad and just asked not to send those kind of emails to us. The father was offended by that, but just recently is starting to send them again.

I just think I will keep deleting them in order to keep peace between my dh and his dad. My dh knows how his dad can be and at times has to get off the phone because he can’t take his anger.

Also, I do not criticize my dh’s family to him. He will be the first to say that his family is “weird” and immoral. He can’t mention his Catholic faith to his dad or brothers without them saying he is “preaching” to them. He knew his family’s view towards blacks and that is why when he first met me, he mentioned to them that if they had nothing nice to say about me, not to mention anything to him about me being hispanic. I think they tolerate me, with the exception of dh’s mother. She is not like her ex or my dh’s dad.

Anyway, I will keep deleting the emails when they come and just pray for him and his conversion. He is in his late 60’s and I hope he changes for his own salvation.


I think it is wonderful that you and your husband have such a wonderful relationship. Surely, Christ must be helping you in your marriage! So many marriages can crumble under the stress of in-laws and extended family…this is why I shared my story with you. I will pray for you and your extended family and hope there is peace somehow. God Bless.


Thanks Monicad. I wish I did have a wonderful relationship with dh, but we have so many problems. Fortunately though, this one of his family is not one of them. In fact, when we first got married, he had a problem with my closest to my family because his family is not close to each other at all. He use to get jealous if I talked to my mom on the phone and etc. He realized and I that his insecurities came from his abusive childhood. He still has a temper, and some mental health issues, but fighting about his dad is not one of our problems.

I do appreciate you sharing your story with me and if I made it sound like I didn’t, I am sorry. I don’t write well my feelings on paper or print. Thanks for your prayers. I do hope things will change for my FIL, but for now I will just pray for him. Thanks again.


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