Husband wants to move, I do not


#1

Hello & Merry Christmas, everyone.

My husband and I are in a deadlock and I do not know where to turn. He wants to move back to the town where we both grew up and I do not. He wants to move because his friends, parents and sister live there, the town has more parks, beaches, biking trails, etc. (he is a very outdoorsy person) and it is more compact. Where we live now it is more rural and it takes a while to get anywhere. We've been married almost 4 years and have lived here the whole time, but he has been very unhappy here. I don't want to move mainly because of strained relationships with his family. He is the youngest of 4 children and was the first to get married, so I am the first in-law and am still somewhat considered an outsider by his family. My husband and his family have ganged up on me on numerous occasions regarding all sorts of things. He generally does not defend me but sides with his family against me. He does not try to help them get to know me or understand me; he just insists that I change to fit their mold. We had our first baby 7 months ago and the in-law relationships have worsened. His mother is obsessed with the baby (she is the first grandchild) and if we were to move, I know his mother would be at our place all the time. I love living where we are because it helps me to maintain my sanity. And anyway, the town where my in-laws live (and where my husband wants to move) is only 30 minutes north of here. I would be so grateful for your advice, insight and prayers. Thank you in advance.


#2

We moved to near my husband's parents, and I remember a lot of unhappiness and hurt because my husband hadn't matured regarding his family relationships. My eldest son in particular was hurt by some tendencies of behaviour by his paternal grandparents. I too felt like an outsider, and my husband was over at his parents almost every night in the first few years. My husband also used to compare me unfavourably with his mother, and it doesn't help your own relationship to have the continual tension. However, your husband is already subjecting you to a lot of pressure, so you're not having an easy time of it, and won't until he puts you first, as he should.
Moving back will only confirm him in his attitudes, with his family to support him in his lack of support for you.

Some scripture...

Jesus said, “Have you not read that from the beginning, the creator made them male and female and 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]


#3

hi Kristie, and Merry Christmas!

What I see here isn’t so much of an issue of actually moving, as in relocating, but more so in the fact that there are issues in the marriage. The whole “leaving and cleaving” thing here isn’t what I’m seeing. I think what you and your husband may need to do is have a few talks about family boundaries, and the boundaries you will need to protect your marriage. I speak from experience-- in-laws can place a lot of strain on the marriage if you do not have a good sense of “oneness.”

Have you ever expressed your feelings and thoughts about his family? Does he understand that no matter what, as his wife, he is supposed to lead the marriage by placing YOU first and foremost, above his family of origin? Does he understand that siding with his family means he is not siding with his marriage and separate family-- you and the baby? More importantly, does he understand that when you “leave and cleave” you are leaving your family, or their mold, to form a new family with your spouse? As a husband, it may make him unhappy to live where he is but from a sacrificial perspective he needs to realize that the unity of his marriage and happiness of his family is more important.

Your husband doesn’t like the rural area with the lack of amenities. Okay, that’s understandable. Would it be possible to find a location that’s still 30 minutes or so from the in-laws that have those kinds of amenities? Or is he insistent on moving near his family more than anything?


#4

There seem to be two advantages your husband is seeking, his family, and facilities.

Is there a possibility of compromising and give him the latter...offering to move to a town/area with more facilities, but further away? To be within a short 15-30 minutes drive may mean too much interaction occurs. It is too easy for your husband to go to his parents and spend excess time there and for them to be visiting too often, if you were located at such a short distance from them. Better to be three hours away!

Perhaps you can say to your husband that when he is prepared to accept you as you are and not intend to change you to his family's image and have you under their rule, but can stand up for you pleasantly and kindly, then you could agree to move closer. However if your husband doesn't see the justice of this by himself, he's not likely to see it anyway and it's only likely to cause arguments. But I guess you can try to tall him calmly that you won't move closer until your husband accepts you as you are and puts you first, but you are willing to move to a town with more facilities at a reasonable and safe distance. It's up to him then to re-think his attitudes regarding his family of origin and his wife.

There will be nothing peaceful about his life and yours if he forces you to return because the issues will keep coming up as long as he puts his family of origin first and as long as they think they have the right to interfere and to overwhelm you.


#5

I'm going to be bold and blunt. I don't think the issue is moving as much as it is how you feel about his actions when around his parents.

If he said, "Mom, I chose wisely in the woman I married. She is a good mother to our daughter. If you have something to say that is critical, you can bring it up with me. My wife comes first. We have our own lives. You are welcome to visit, but you will need to call me and ask before you drop by. Let's begin with two evenings a week, which is more than you see us now."

Boundaries can be wonderful things!

If more men would say this, life would be much easier for everyone. I have been in the situation that your husband is in. I have acted as he is acting and I described what I wish I had done differently. He can either choose to hurt his mother's feeling a bit or hurt his wife's feeling a lot. His choice. His mother will forgive him. One of these woman he has to live with, the other he does not.

He should just lay down what is acceptable. No whiney tone of "asking please." His wife is now more important to him than his father or mother.

I expect to be criticized for my opinion. But you can't please everyone all the time.


#6

Thank you for your replies. To answer your questions...

Have you ever expressed your feelings and thoughts about his family? Does he understand that no matter what, as his wife, he is supposed to lead the marriage by placing YOU first and foremost, above his family of origin? Does he understand that siding with his family means he is not siding with his marriage and separate family-- you and the baby? More importantly, does he understand that when you "leave and cleave" you are leaving your family, or their mold, to form a new family with your spouse?

I have expressed my thoughts and feelings about his family numerous times. I don't think he completely understands the whole leaving and cleaving. During the times he's sided with his family over me, he says he's "not siding with one over the other...he's siding with who he thinks is right." (Let me tell you, he has not once ever thought I was "right" in situations between me and his family.)

Would it be possible to find a location that's still 30 minutes or so from the in-laws that have those kinds of amenities? Or is he insistent on moving near his family more than anything?

I have suggested this idea, but he is insistent on moving back to the town where his family lives. Until we got married, he had never moved, never lived on his own, had pretty much the same friends, and did not experience much major change in his life at all. I feel like he has tried to resist all the changes that have come with us getting married, and he has taken it out on me. It has been four years and it's like he still cannot adjust to the "shock" of getting married and life changing. It seems like he wants to go back to an idealized "home."

I have told him that I would be more willing to move if he agreed to set boundaries with his family and would stand by me as his wife. I would really like to see him do this consistently while we continue to live here before I would agree to move.


#7

[quote="C_S_P_B, post:5, topic:223014"]
I'm going to be bold and blunt. I don't think the issue is moving as much as it is how you feel about his actions when around his parents.

If he said, "Mom, I chose wisely in the woman I married. She is a good mother to our daughter. If you have something to say that is critical, you can bring it up with me. My wife comes first. We have our own lives. You are welcome to visit, but you will need to call me and ask before you drop by. Let's begin with two evenings a week, which is more than you see us now."

Boundaries can be wonderful things!

If more men would say this, life would be much easier for everyone. I have been in the situation that your husband is in. I have acted as he is acting and I described what I wish I had done differently. He can either choose to hurt his mother's feeling a bit or hurt his wife's feeling a lot. His choice. His mother will forgive him. One of these woman he has to live with, the other he does not.

He should just lay down what is acceptable. No whiney tone of "asking please." His wife is now more important to him than his father or mother.

I expect to be criticized for my opinion. But you can't please everyone all the time.

[/quote]

Why would you expect criticism? Your response is fair, and in accordance with [Matthew 19:4-6] :) The only problem is that if a spouse doesn't see the truth and justice of this for himself...if he isn't mature and fair enough for that, he's not likely to respond very well to any stand she might make for a true marriage. This is where the problem may actually exist.

Her best hope is to be quietly calm and clear, not emotional about it...so as not to arouse his resentment/anger/emotion etc. and keep the discussion on a rational level...which can work, but may not either. But I hope the discussion can lead to progress...and if they did move near the family, how not to have him and his family fall back into the same grooves. If people aren't fair to begin with, the reality is there isn't a whole lot of hope to change. And if someone thinks he is always 'right' that doesn't change. You can break yourself on that, but no matter what you do the person goes through life thinking they're right.

The unfortunate thing is either way you are hurting and unhappy, as while your husband keeps campaigning for this, you have his family in the house with you. I feel very much for you.


#8

[quote="Kristie, post:6, topic:223014"]
Thank you for your replies. To answer your questions...

I have expressed my thoughts and feelings about his family numerous times. I don't think he completely understands the whole leaving and cleaving. During the times he's sided with his family over me, he says he's "not siding with one over the other...he's siding with who he thinks is right." (Let me tell you, he has not once ever thought I was "right" in situations between me and his family.)

I have suggested this idea, but he is insistent on moving back to the town where his family lives. Until we got married, he had never moved, never lived on his own, had pretty much the same friends, and did not experience much major change in his life at all. I feel like he has tried to resist all the changes that have come with us getting married, and he has taken it out on me. It has been four years and it's like he still cannot adjust to the "shock" of getting married and life changing. It seems like he wants to go back to an idealized "home."

I have told him that I would be more willing to move if he agreed to set boundaries with his family and would stand by me as his wife. I would really like to see him do this consistently while we continue to live here before I would agree to move.

[/quote]

I think you already gave yourself the best advice. If it were me, I wouldn't even consider moving ANYWHERE until the issues within the marriage have been resolved. You have to stand united as a couple, its not about who is right or wrong when it comes down to issues with inlaws. You can't let anyone conquer and divide you as husband and wife, you can't let anyone separate you as a married couple. You have to have each other's back, always, no matter if its family or friends or work.

I would pray, go to adoration, and seek out some marital counseling of some nature. The move isn't going to make anything better, and your marriage is far too important right now to consider moving just to be near family.


#9

[quote="C_S_P_B, post:5, topic:223014"]

He should just lay down what is acceptable. No whiney tone of "asking please." His wife is now more important to him than his father or mother.

[/quote]

+1


#10

[quote="Kristie, post:6, topic:223014"]
I have suggested this idea, but he is insistent on moving back to the town where his family lives. Until we got married, he had never moved, never lived on his own, had pretty much the same friends, and did not experience much major change in his life at all. I feel like he has tried to resist all the changes that have come with us getting married, and he has taken it out on me. It has been four years and it's like he still cannot adjust to the "shock" of getting married and life changing. It seems like he wants to go back to an idealized "home."

[/quote]

Huge, GIANT, red flag.

Did he exhibit these behaviors of choosing family over you while you were dating? Did he "gang up on you" during your dating? Did you spend your time with his family? What sorts of things do they "gang up on you" about?

Seriously, this didn't just come out of nowhere. It seems like maybe these signs of unhealthy family relationships were there beforehand, perhaps you didn't heed them.

Time to get into marriage counseling with a holy priest who understands that the wife comes first and that the husband needs to cut the apron strings.


#11

[quote="Kristie, post:1, topic:223014"]
. I don't want to move mainly because of strained relationships with his family. He is the youngest of 4 children and was the first to get married, so I am the first in-law and am still somewhat considered an outsider by his family. My husband and his family have ganged up on me on numerous occasions regarding all sorts of things. He generally does not defend me but sides with his family against me. .

[/quote]

this is something you have to negotiate between the two of you without family influence, and here is your negotiating chip. He can use the time you have now to demonstrate he is married to you, not to his family, and will support and defend you. If he fails to do this, no deal. This is like an intervention and you may need a neutral third party like a counsellor to help you through this discussion.


#12

[quote="Trishie, post:7, topic:223014"]
Why would you expect criticism? Your response is fair, and in accordance with [Matthew 19:4-6] :) The only problem is that if a spouse doesn't see the truth and justice of this for himself...if he isn't mature and fair enough for that, he's not likely to respond very well to any stand she might make for a true marriage. This is where the problem may actually exist. Her best hope is to be quietly calm and clear, not emotional about it...so as not to arouse his resentment/anger/emotion etc. and keep the discussion on a rational level...which can work, but may not either. But I hope the discussion can lead to progress...and if they did move near the family, how not to have him and his family fall back into the same grooves. If people aren't fair to begin with, the reality is there isn't a whole lot of hope to change.

[/quote]

I mostly agree.

Yet, it is not a matter of maturity. Men really don't know how to handle situations like this. Someone's feelings are going to be hurt. Modern men have been trained to value the 11th Commandment: "Never hurt the feelings of any woman." Yes, I overstated it, but some similar belief is ingrained in all of us in the modern era. Often a man thinks he is in a no win situation and does not know how to act because he cannot please everyone. So he chooses to explain himself and expect his wife to understand, which is the wrong choice most of the time.

Frequently my bluntness is not appreciated and my views are criticized. I really don't care. I guess this is part of being a man, protecting your own and recognizing that there is a cost and you may even be criticized by those closest to you. It is advisable for a man to act with integrity and endure temporary displeasure at his actions. Sometimes this will entail displeasing his wife too, but this will also pass. But in making his choice on who to displease, it is best to remember "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman."


#13

I know that my husband has probably hurt the feelings of my mother, but he would rather have done that than have the two of us constantly bickering. Sometimes it is better to temporarily hurt the feelings of in-laws or one’s own parents than to deal with something that leads to divorce.


#14

[quote="C_S_P_B, post:12, topic:223014"]
It is not a matter of maturity. Men really don't know how to handle situations like this. Someone's feelings are going to be hurt. Modern men have been trained to value the 11th Commandment: "Never hurt the feelings of any woman." Yes, I overstated it, but some similar belief is ingrained in all of us in the modern era. Often a man thinks he is in a no win situation and does not know how to act because he cannot please everyone. So he chooses to explain himself and expect his wife to understand, which is the wrong choice most of the time.

[/quote]

This speaks well for you and shows you to be a basically kind man, but reading all Kristie says, this isn't what's happening with her husband. He doesn't sometimes out of kindness concede her anything regarding his family:

I have expressed my thoughts and feelings about his family numerous times. I don't think he completely understands the whole leaving and cleaving. During the times he's sided with his family over me, he says he's "not siding with one over the other...he's siding with who he thinks is right." (Let me tell you, he has not once ever thought I was "right" in situations between me and his family.)

  • "He does not try to help them get to know me or understand me; he just insists that I change to fit their mold." *

This is not conciliatory behaviour between the two women in his life.
If he were equally concerned about his wife's feelings, he would at least try to help his family to see her viewpoint sometimes.

It is to your credit that you wanted to make both women happy, but it seems that with maturity and experience you have learned to be more respectful of your wife's feelings and needs.
That's a witness of your basic kindness and fairness.
God bless you for that.
Please God this husband can find some way to respond to that grace.


#15

Kristie, the last time you posted here your husband wasn't ready to have children and was doing all in his power to avoid becoming a parent.

Do you think that, since you have a child now, he's still not ready and wants to go home where it's "safe"? Where his mother can help him raise his own child because he still wants to be carefree and not tied down like he probably feels, 30 miles away, with *only *you and his daughter?

Just hypothesizing. I'm wondering if he'll feel like he'll get to be less responsible with all his family in town, and can go back to living his youth because everyone will be there to help you out, and you won't need to rely so much on just him.


#16

First of all, I'm so sorry you're in this situation, it is a very difficult one. The main thing I see is that your husband should not let his family gang up on you. You two are married, he *chose *you, and he needs to stick by that choice.

[quote="Kristie, post:6, topic:223014"]

I have expressed my thoughts and feelings about his family numerous times. I don't think he completely understands the whole leaving and cleaving. During the times he's sided with his family over me, he says he's "not siding with one over the other...he's siding with who he thinks is right." (Let me tell you, he has not once ever thought I was "right" in situations between me and his family.)

[/quote]

My husband and I used to have a similar argument. Except that I was the one who was "siding" with her parents. :o Of course he thinks his parents are right, they raised him, they taught him much of how he views the world. The point is that he should not let that fact get in the middle of the two of you. (This is something that I had to learn as well.) I didn't want to feel like I couldn't voice my opinions if they happen to be in agreement with my family's, but I definitely didn't want to keep making DH feel like I was ganging up on him. My husband and I came up with a sort of signal, so that if some argument or situation comes up, we can both agree that it's something that we will discuss together, separate from the inlaws. So, for example, one time while we were visiting my parents house, my (at the time) 3 year old was misbehaving and got put into timeout. When he got out of the timeout, he did the same thing again, so DH took him and was lecturing him. My mom thought he was being too tough on him, and immediately went over and told him so. I happened to agree with my mom in that situation, but I just asked her if she would leave the room and let DH and I decide the punishment together. I still got to let DH know my opinion on the matter, but he didn't feel like I was ganging up, since we got to talk about it in private. (And when mom asked what we'd decided, I just told her that the situation had been dealt with and that we didn't need to spend any more time discussing it.) Some of the bigger matters we agree to discuss at a later time when we're home. Would your husband possibly agree to something similar?

I have suggested this idea, but he is insistent on moving back to the town where his family lives. Until we got married, he had never moved, never lived on his own, had pretty much the same friends, and did not experience much major change in his life at all. I feel like he has tried to resist all the changes that have come with us getting married, and he has taken it out on me. It has been four years and it's like he still cannot adjust to the "shock" of getting married and life changing. It seems like he wants to go back to an idealized "home."

I have told him that I would be more willing to move if he agreed to set boundaries with his family and would stand by me as his wife. I would really like to see him do this consistently while we continue to live here before I would agree to move.

That is a very reasonable request. He needs to understand that he can not choose his parents over his wife. You guys are a team, and nothing should be able to come between you.


#17

Thank you again for your responses and advice. To answer 1ke's questions...

[quote="1ke, post:10, topic:223014"]
Did he exhibit these behaviors of choosing family over you while you were dating? Did he "gang up on you" during your dating? Did you spend your time with his family? What sorts of things do they "gang up on you" about?

[/quote]

No, he didn't choose family over me while we were dating and he and his family did not gang up on me during that time. I did spend time with his family before we got married. Here are two examples of how he and his family have ganged up on me.

1.) We bought our house two years ago. When we were in the process of looking for a home, his brother told me it "wasn't fair" that we were most likely getting a home in the rural town where we live because my husband would have to drive "so far" to see his mother. I politely replied that the decision was up to me and my husband. My husband then said angrily, "Kristie, that's not nice. Don't talk to my brother that way."

2.) About a year ago, my husband's older sister called him on the phone and recited a litany of things I had said or done that "offended" her. One of the things she listed was this. All of my husband's siblings were in town one weekend we got together late one evening. My husband and I were then working together and had just completed an 8-hour gig. It was after 10p.m. and I was tired, so I sat on the couch and read a magazine while my husband and his siblings were playing cards. His sister took my behavior to mean that I was separating myself from them and didn't want to spend time with them. She never even asked me if something was wrong or even thought that hey, maybe I was tired from working a long day. The other things she listed were basically misinterpretations of my behavior. She "collected" all these "offenses," not once talking with me about any of the things that bothered her, then dumped everything on my husband in a phone conversation. My husband then confronted me, sided with his sister and said basically that I was wrong and needed to change my behavior.


#18

[quote="sanctareparata, post:15, topic:223014"]
Kristie, the last time you posted here your husband wasn't ready to have children and was doing all in his power to avoid becoming a parent.

Do you think that, since you have a child now, he's still not ready and wants to go home where it's "safe"? Where his mother can help him raise his own child because he still wants to be carefree and not tied down like he probably feels, 30 miles away, with *only *you and his daughter?

Just hypothesizing. I'm wondering if he'll feel like he'll get to be less responsible with all his family in town, and can go back to living his youth because everyone will be there to help you out, and you won't need to rely so much on just him.

[/quote]

This is an interesting question. I think he does feel tied down. We own a business and work from home, so I understand that he feels isolated. I am fine with him going out with friends and with him visiting his family as often as he'd like to. But most of the time, he complains that it takes too long to drive to his hometown so see anyone, so he just doesn't go anywhere. I feel like he is just doing this to himself and if he would just suck it up and drive there more often, he would feel better. Driving really bothers him, though.

We are not completely alone here as my parents live nearby and are available to help with the baby. But because things are so contentions between me and my husband about us living here, I purposely try not to see my parents too often (just once a week, twice at most) so that he won't feel bad and say, "You get to see your family whenever you want to." (He still says this even though I purposely try not to see them too much.)

We have been seeing a counselor and have another appointment early next week, so I am sure this issue is what we will be discussing.


#19

I hate to put it this way, but it honestly sounds like your in-laws are purposefully trying to drive a wedge between you and your husband. I know this sounds crazy, but I've heard stories from people who after they got divorced or broke off a long-term relationship, had their parents give comments that they were happy. And these weren't severe cases either.

I'm glad to see that you're going to counseling.


#20

[quote="Kristie, post:17, topic:223014"]
Thank you again for your responses and advice. To answer 1ke's questions...

No, he didn't choose family over me while we were dating and he and his family did not gang up on me during that time. I did spend time with his family before we got married. Here are two examples of how he and his family have ganged up on me.

1.) We bought our house two years ago. When we were in the process of looking for a home, his brother told me it "wasn't fair" that we were most likely getting a home in the rural town where we live because my husband would have to drive "so far" to see his mother. I politely replied that the decision was up to me and my husband. My husband then said angrily, "Kristie, that's not nice. Don't talk to my brother that way."

2.) About a year ago, my husband's older sister called him on the phone and recited a litany of things I had said or done that "offended" her. One of the things she listed was this. All of my husband's siblings were in town one weekend we got together late one evening. My husband and I were then working together and had just completed an 8-hour gig. It was after 10p.m. and I was tired, so I sat on the couch and read a magazine while my husband and his siblings were playing cards. His sister took my behavior to mean that I was separating myself from them and didn't want to spend time with them. She never even asked me if something was wrong or even thought that hey, maybe I was tired from working a long day. The other things she listed were basically misinterpretations of my behavior. She "collected" all these "offenses," not once talking with me about any of the things that bothered her, then dumped everything on my husband in a phone conversation. My husband then confronted me, sided with his sister and said basically that I was wrong and needed to change my behavior.

[/quote]

I wonder then if perhaps you may like also to give thought to your responses. Reading the magazine instead of joining in with everyone else, and behavior like that can be alienating. (It is actually a little rude to act like that in company). These days, everyone is tired! I had a daughter-in law who used to do that and it would offend my husband. And your tone to your brother-in-law may have sounded more dismissive than you thought it did and you husband may have seen a brief hurt look on his face. Your husband should have been kinder, and yes, it was your own business but perhaps you could have responded sweetly and with a smile? If your husband's family hasn't had previous experience in new members of the family, they need to learn what's acceptable and what's not, but it's possible to do things like that charmingly rather than dismissively....You said your husband was quite young and the first to marry, and no doubt all are inexperienced...it's hard to be an in-law, and hard to adjust to one, especially if she holds herself apart and in any way looks down on the family or can be interpreted as such. You have your list of hurts, your sister-in-law does, and perhaps she could have handled it better, but maybe by acting as an outsider you make it harder for the family to approach you. Everybody has things to learn in these situations.


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