To ask for forgiveness or not?


There’s a bit of background story to my headline here. I think it goes without saying we should always seek out and give forgiveness as it arises.

About a decade ago back when my wife and I had just gotten married we were at her parents house. My father in law restores cars and owns a really nice looking Dodge Brothers cherry red coupe from the 30’s with suicide doors (it looks awesome!). He spent about 12 years restoring it and was very near and dear to him. My wife is not such a fan since he spent a lot of time with the car instead of the family. I don’t say that to put him in a bad light but to point out my wife’s sentiments about it.

Anyway, way back when, I was out in their garage to get something and I was looking at the car. I was opening the engine cover (which if you’re not familiar with those cars did not have the hoods that we’re used to today, it opened up in a side ways manner and hinges open). When I did this I scratched a dime sized amount of red paint off the front wheel well area. At the time I panicked and told my wife what had happened. When her father eventually found out he asked what happened and my wife simply said the dog did it. Being a coward I let it go.

Years later and here we are today. I’ve reverted back to the Church and now this issue has been weighing on my mind. I’ve gone to confession and all that. My father in law and my wife and I haven’t been on speaking terms for about 4-5 years now and my wife still struggles with getting the courage to even talk to him.

Should I tell him what happened and apologize or has there been so much time that has passed that I should just let it go?

Thank you for your input and I appreciate everyone here at CAF.

God Bless.


So I’d say immediately let it go but…

If you haven’t been talking to him for some time it may actually be just the ticket to get talking to him again …and by saying sorry for such a minor thing too! It’s an opportunity for reconciliation I think.

You’re call though, you know your father in law better than I. Nearly Christmas though :wink:


Tell your father in law what happened.
Your not currently speaking so things cannot get any worse than what they already are.
It may be the thing that gets you talking again.


It’s a good idea to tell him. It may heal a lot of wounds between you, your wife, and your fil. Plus, you didn’t tell him to begin with. Do it. Now.


Agree, own up to it. I will bet you an iced vanilla coffee that your FIL knew good and well the dog did not do the damage and was likely disappointed that you did not own up to it way back then. Apologize for the event and for the lie.


I think it depends on why your wife is no-contact with her father. Is he a toxic person? Did he do something terrible? Would your contact with him be inappropriate given the circumstances?

If he’s a generally decent person and they just don’t get along, I’d send him a written note to apologize. But I wouldn’t do it without my spouse knowing about it.


No. Let it go.


I think a lot of people are mixing things up, and assuming other things. We were asked if the OP should apologize, for scratching his fil’s car. If that was all you knew, or could imply, what would your answer be?

I bought into this as much as anyone else. On closer scrutiny, maybe this isn’t the time to ‘fix’ things. Maybe they still have issues to work thru. But, it’s always best to be honest. No, I’m not saying he’s indebted to his in-laws for life. Maybe he and his wife will never have what we call a ‘normal’ relationship with fil.

But, the fil’s car was damaged, and by the OP. If he really thinks there’s an exception to the rule, he should speak to a priest…ideally, if possible, the priest he originally confessed to.

But, only the priest can give him advice on this, contrary to what he, and all of us, have been taught by the church. Own up to what you have done! Apologize!


This doesn’t mean that you should tell of your wife’s part in this, or even discuss this with your wife (other than to tell her that you’re going to tell him the truth). Your wife has her own relationship with her father, and with God. She may have already confessed her part in the matter to God. Let it remain there…with God.


@Clementine14 I spoke to my wife about it yesterday and it was like walking on egg shells! She’s still very hurt by what has happened in the past. Let’s just keep it at it was a very difficult life with verbal/mental abuse and even have had some cops involved etc. I don’t think I need to get into full detail but it’s safe to say that my wife has been very emotional hurt by this man. He’s never really liked me either and everything I do is wrong. We’ve lived there before with him when we were struggling with but it got to a point where he kicked us out and we lived homeless for about 2 months. He changed his locks and we had to call the police to get in to get our things. It was very messy. I asked my wife how she think it would go if I were to bring up the car scratch issue and she told me that he’d hold it over her head because she lied to him for me. She’s told me that he’s said he wished he had a boy instead of a daughter. She’s an only child and her mom was ill and was able to only have one child.

@Legend I can assure you that this will never be a ‘normal’ relationship. When my MIL was still alive my FIL had a woman ‘friend’ and my wife said she found condoms in his garage (the garage had a loft) and my MIL was bedridden so they weren’t used with her. Shortly after my MIL died my FIL married the woman ‘friend.’ My wife did not take this well and has always disliked her new step mom. I plan on discussing this with a priest and getting his take on this. I haven’t seen the original priest that I made my BIG return to the Church confession but there’s another priest at our parish that has gotten to know me and my family fairly well. Furthermore there’s a bit of a language barrier. He speaks spanish and knows english but there are still some things in english he doesn’t quite understand and my spanish is ok at best. My wife worries that she’ll be stuck in the middle of all this having to translate and she tends to crack under the pressure of me and her dad trying to talk.

I hope that provides a little more background to my situation. We don’t just live down the street from one another so it’s quite a distance to meetup. I’ll just see what the priest says and continue to pray about it. I ask for all your prayers too and for that I thank you all.


Well, this certainly changes things. I see you are going to see a priest about this. My only further advice would be to get an interpreter other than your wife, as she’s so wrapped up in this. Hope your talks with the priest lead you to the right decision. God bless all involved.


I’d say to let it go then. Yes, lying to him was wrong but he’s been abusive to your wife. Picking up contact after all this time just to make yourself feel better seems wrong. Let it be.


Yeah, he probably knows that one of the two of you did it anyway.


Maybe you could give him a call or write him a letter and offer a reconciliation without explicitly mentioning that incident with the car. If your wife is uncomfortable then maybe you could go alone without staying a long time. If things get toxic then back off.


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