This is a bit of a personal question, so I appreciate your taking the time to read and to answer thoughtfully if you would like to offer advice.
My parents have told me they don’t like that my wife doesn’t reach out to them, or call them on her own without me. They’ve also told me that I’m disrespectful of her parents by not calling them without her, or not buying gifts for them for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. On the latter, I take my cue from my wife on that one - at their insistence, she and her brother don’t buy them presents for those days.
At the same time, my parents don’t make an effort to reach out to my wife, either. They don’t - and I don’t think they’ve ever - called her just to talk to her. When they visit us or when we visit them (we live 300 miles apart), we talk and get along just fine. There’s no animosity and I thought our last visit was warm and pleasant. She and my mom talk quite a bit in-person, though she doesn’t talk as much to my stepfather. That’s partly because he talks mostly politics and sports (subjects she doesn’t like), and he spends most of the time talking with me anyway. As far as I can tell, we all get along just fine.
Recently we had a pretty bad fight and, in the process of their telling me how hurt they were, they brought up that my wife is disrespectful of them by not trying actively to be closer to them. I tried to reassure them but I don’t think I was successful. I talked with my wife about it and she thinks it’d be ‘weird’ to do things they ask like call them out of the blue when she never did that before. We agree it’d be the same if I started striking up a relationship with her parents like that, and her parents have never indicated that they’re unsatisfied with how I relate with them. Now we do live near enough her parents to see them every week or every other week, so I suspect if we lived farther apart they may expect me to make more effort.
So the question is, where to go from here? I don’t want my folks to think my wife doesn’t like them, at the same time my wife feels put-upon to do the things they ask, and I think she resents them butting into how I relate to her parents. We’d like to visit my folks for the holidays but put their minds at ease so they don’t have this lingering doubt over whether my wife actually likes them while we visit; at the same time, my wife doesn’t want to pick up the phone and call them out of nowhere. I honestly think my mother would find it weird and the conversation would leave both feeling uncomfortable. So where do we begin?