Hi, My husband and I just had a massive fight with his parent’s and his sister and her husband. This started b/c we were having some rough times adjusting to our new life living an hour away from them and were looking for more outreach and more time together. My husband talked to his mom and sister about our feelings and they felt attacked - “After all we’ve done for you”. This ended with my husbands father contemplating whether he’d like to continue a relationship with us. What are some things I should focus on? How do we fix this?
Ouch. Tough situation to be going through. One of the things that is important to remember is that your new family (you and your husband) are paramount in this situation. You need to preserve your closeness and relationship with him above all others and “cleave” to each other. That being said, your in-laws’ feelings do matter. I’m understanding from your post that you and your husband want more time alone now that you’ve moved farther away and your in-laws still want you within arms’ reach as much as possible. If that’s the case, I think it’s important to validate their feelings and state the fact that you love them and want to spend time with them, and then gently point out that you’re a new family now and need your time alone to make your own memories and own traditions, just the two of you.
Some parents need more assurance than others that their children are not going to run away never to be seen or heard from again after they get married and leave home(especially families with one or two children and “babies” of the family). What my husband and I did after we got married was to have a set time each week that he’d call them, after we moved away. That was their special time to talk. We also talked ahead of time about holidays and special occasions so that everyone always knew well ahead of time what to expect. We also went out of our way, in the early years of marriage, to think of reasons to call them “for no particular reason”, so that they knew we were thinking about them. I don’t know if it would be possible, but you might try a “weaning” tactic and try to see them as much as possible and then slowly pull back to a point where you’re more comfortable. The biggest thing to monitor is how it’s affecting your relationship with your husband. If there’s stress or discord between the two of you, you have to take care of that first and do whatever you have to, to bring harmony back into your marriage and THEN take care of the in-laws and their feelings.
Before you do anything though, I think family prayer time would be in order. A family rosary between you and your husband and then at some point with your whole family would work wonders if you think they’d be open to that. Taking your problems before our Lord is always good and helpful. Prayer of any type is essential to keep your relationships in good working order! I hope things get better for you and your husband and his family. Time, Love and Prayer heal all things! God Bless you and good luck with everything!
wow. Thank you so much. A lot for me to think and pray about.
I was a little confused by your post; is the difficulty because you are now farther away and your husband’s family doesn’t like the fact? Or are you and your husband homesick? What do you mean by wanting “more outreach”?
Our younger daughter just married and I may have a little insight if I understand clearly what you mean.
We expected that when we moved, the invitations would still be the same. They’ve changed. They get together separately and don’t invite us b/c they are concerned about our hour drive to their houses. Our conversation with them was filled with examples of when this has happened, what we’d like to have happen. They felt attacked and that we were ungrateful for everything (time) they have given us already.
So they worry about your driving an hour to their houses? I guess that’s a “parent thing” with all the nuts on the road these days, but it sounds like an excuse.
You and your husband are your own new family now, and you’ve got to do what is best for you. If a father would threaten to discontinue communication with his son and daughter in law because they moved an hour away, then there are some really big problems to be dealt with. Let them know that you love them, but that interference will not be tolerated; your husband must be the one to tell them. (It sounds as if there is something else going on here, but there aren’t enough details…)