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“Why Won’t He Protect Me from His/My Family?”

sad girl 1 I am not an expert, a counselor, a psychologist, a theologian or a pastor. My hope is to point women to Christ and His Word. I write especially for wives who tend to be dominating and controlling with passive husbands. If you have a very dominating husband – this blog may not be a good fit for you. If your husband is abusive –  please don’t read my blog in that case, but seek godly, experienced, wise counsel ASAP! Sometimes women with abusive husbands tend to think they hear me say things I don’t say. Please be safe! Don’t stay and take abuse – get out and get help if you are truly in trouble! And if your family or your husband’s family is seriously hurting you or extremely toxic and your husband is not acting, please get somewhere safe. Don’t stay if you are in danger. There are times you may have to take action even if your husband is not on board – but my prayer is that you would seek God’s wisdom and do what He clearly prompts you to do.

This is a question I hear a lot. MANY wives are upset because they feel their in-laws (or sometimes their own parents or family members) disrespect them or try to control them and their husband does nothing to come to his wife’s defense. I talked with Greg about this issue.  Here are some of his thoughts:

A husband who feels respected probably will try to protect his wife – but she has to be willing to stay under his covering and protection. If she lashes out at his family members, insults them or disrespects them and creates a lot of hurt feelings, she will be on her own.  Her husband can’t protect or defend her if she creates a lot of problems for herself.  At that point, a husband will allow her to lie in the bed she made for herself.

Most meen HATE drama. They don’t want to be put in a tug of war between their mom and their wife.  Yes, he should always choose his wife over his mom.  But he doesn’t want to hurt his mom.  He would rather not be forced into a position where he has to hurt the feelings of a woman he loves. But if his wife is honoring his leadership, genuinely respecting him on a regular basis and he knows she trusts him and admires him – he probably will be willing to stand up for his wife against someone else if he sees someone insult his wife – particularly if she didn’t do anything to instigate the attack.


In-law relationships can be very tricky.  We don’t have the long history of unconditional love with in-laws that we do with our own parents and siblings.  Each family’s culture is unique and it is easy for people from different families to have widely differing expectations about lots of topics.  Plus, attempting to navigate the new boundaries of a new marriage can be difficult for families who are used to being very involved in their children’s decisions.

Also, it is difficult for some parents to let go of control of their son (or daughter).  They love him.  They want the best for him.  But it is difficult for them to release their son to be his own man when he becomes an adult.  Some parents want to continue being the authorities in their children’s lives and don’t embrace God’s design for the authority structure of the new marriage.  If they think the have the right to be in charge and that they are still God-given authorities over their child, they can be quite controlling – and this is VERY destructive to the new marriage.

  • The new wife NEEDS to know that it is her husband who is in authority and in charge now, not his parents or her parents.
  • The husband NEEDS to know that his wife will follow his leadership, not her parents’ or his parents’.


It is critical for the husband, in my view, to set healthy boundaries with his family or with his wife’s family, if they are attempting to exert improper authority over the marriage – because he is the authority in the marriage.  Sometimes, it may be appropriate for the wife to do the boundary setting with her own parents.  Please pray for God’s wisdom on this! (some suggestions):

  • I love you Mom and Dad (and siblings)
  • God has placed my husband in charge of me now in my new marriage.
  • I want to honor you and respect you.  I’m so thankful for all you have done to raise me right.
  • Now it is time for my husband to be responsible for the decisions in our new family.
  • I welcome your ideas and suggestions when I/we ask for them.
  • Please pray for God to give my husband wisdom to lead me and our family well for His glory.


(My suggestions, for whatever they are worth.  The most important thing is for us to listen to God’s Spirit and obey His Word.) As a wife, you can’t force your husband to set healthy boundaries with his family or your family.  But, you can support, honor and respect his leadership.  You can close ranks with your husband and not allow family members or friends to divide you and destroy your unity. (Only say these kinds of things if you can say them sincerely and genuinely!)

  • Look to your husband when family members want to make you make a big decision and allow him to answer if he is there.   If he is not there, you could say, “I need to talk to my husband about that.  I’ll let you know what we decide.”  or “I’ll check with my husband.”
  • “You can talk with (my husband) about it if you aren’t comfortable with his decision.”
  • “My husband asked me to do X.  I’m going to honor him and do what he asked me to.”
  • “That is a decision my husband and I will be making together.  I’ll be sure to let him know about your concerns.”
  • Don’t speak negatively about  your husband to others!!!  This is REALLY important!  This protects your marriage and enables your husband to trust you and to know that you are loyal to him.
  • Talk about your husband’s strengths and the good things you admire about him to family and friends.
  • “This is the decision my husband made (or my husband and I have made), and I support him.”
  • “I know you are concerned about what we are planning to do.  Thank you for sharing.  We appreciate that you love us very much.  We will be sure to take these issues into consideration when we talk about our plans.”
  • “I trust my husband.”
  • “I have every confidence in my husband.”
  • “Yes this is a big decision.  We will be sure to be careful and thorough as we decide what to do.”
  • “Thanks for telling me your concerns.  We know you love us very much.”
  • “That is an issue I am not at liberty to discuss right now.  Thanks for understanding.”

Also – it may be best NOT to talk to extended family members about every little decision – or the big ones.  It may be best only to talk with your husband about them, and pray about them and possibly speak to a godly mentoring wife who is living out respect and biblical submission in her own marriage (if your husband is ok with that).  Then, when you have made your decision together, you may be able to talk about it with other family members – follow your husband’s lead on that.

Once you are married, you answer to God and to your husband.  You don’t answer to extended family and friends and coworkers.  It can be very wise, in my view, to not share all the personal business that goes on between you and your husband but to keep most of that private.  If you are in serious danger – you may need to reach out for help – or if there are some HUGE issues like drug addiction, alcoholism, infidelity, physical abuse, uncontrolled mental disorders – but understand that family and friends may not be as willing to forgive as you are when the crisis is over. Please pray that God might show you the healthy boundaries you need to have with your families  and for your marriage to be strong and vibrant.

HOW TO TREAT HIS FAMILY (some of my suggestions, but be sure you do what God calls you to do)

  • ALWAYS be respectful
  • don’t criticize them to their faces or to him – he hears criticism of his family as criticism of himself
  • don’t raise your voice
  • use a pleasant, friendly tone of voice
  • Don’t tear them down to other people
  • don’t try to change them
  • Accept them the way they are and that they are different from your family.  That is ok!
  • Be sure they feel included with seeing your children if at all possible
  • Allow your husband to be the one to deliver difficult news to them if possible
  • Respect the way your husband decides to relate to his family – Don’t try to make him do things your way.  Trust him to handle his family members and let him be the one to speak to them if there is conflict going on or if you are trying to avoid conflict.  His family can hear from him much more easily than they can hear from you.

DON’T MISS THE COMMENTS!  I added some personal info and several husbands offered some very helpful insights into a husband’s mindset.  I love seeing what God is doing in so many wives’ hearts, too!

RESOURCE for those in toxic relationships:


A Husband and Wife Handle a Controlling Mother as  a Team

Do Not Expect Outside Support

Dealing with Financial Stress in Marriage

Control and Boundaries

Playing the Martyr Repels Those We Love

Using Guilt to Manipulate/Motivate is Destructive

The Snare of People Pleasing

Handling External Pressure on This Journey

You can also check out my Youtube channel  – “April Cassidy” –  I have a lot of videos about these topics and more!

244 thoughts on ““Why Won’t He Protect Me from His/My Family?”

  1. You are such a blessing to me, I thank God for you I have only been reading your post for a few weeks but it is life changing, thank you! Soon I will share my story!

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. I understand this ideal. But let’s say your in-laws are taking care of the grandkid’s, and do not take care of the grand kid’s. I have had two of my children’s ‘taken’ care of by his family, and they allow hurtful, and abusive things to happen to them. My son would not go into the bathtub for three months after he was babysat. You(a wife) cannot really respect a husband who doesn’t protect her, or her children. What do you do with that???

      1. Elizabeth,

        If the children are in actual danger – you may have to step in if your husband will not protect them.

        What does your husband say about what happened?

        What exactly happened to your children?

        What does your husband want to do?

        How do you talk to your inlaws?

        How is your relationship with your husband?

        How respected do you believe he feels?

        How do you talk to your husband when you are upset? tone of voice? Body language? Words?

        Let’s talk about this together. 🙂

        1. Hello Peaceful Wife. Thank you for this great post.
          I have a wonderful husband, but I deal with this same challenge. I entered marriage with a sincere intention to be a part of his family, respect them, love them, etc. Unfortunately, from the beginning to now (its been 8 years) I am emotionally bullied by his family members. Whenever I am alone with them, they corner me, criticize me, pass snide comments, ask me prying questions on my husband and my private matters, make critical comments toward my parents/aunts/siblings and also ask prying (and inappropriate) questions regarding my own family. My MIL does these things especially when she is alone with me and always threatens me directly and indirectly that I will never be able to take her son away. I have tried to explain to her over and over again that I am not here to do that and I respect her role as a mother and am not here to take that away. But she continues to be insecure and makes very hurtful comments whenever my husband is not around.

          For the first few years, I tolerated it because I understood where it was stemming from. I did my best to empathize. But their behavior has only grown worse with time. Eventually I told my husband but he never believed me because he never saw it. Of course because he does not see it or believe and because he is also passive (he doesn’t stand up for himself either), so he also does not stand up for me when it comes to their bullying.

          This makes me feel lonely and scared in dealing with them. We are going to visit them for two weeks this summer. I am excited at the opportunity to try and make relations better for the sake of pleasing God and for the positive impact it would hopefully have on our marriage. HOWEVER, I am very scared of dealing with her especially when we are alone. I also feel that I should learn to stand up to her respectfully or else simply tolerating it may lead to a lot of resentment and negativity inside of me which I worry will come out in other ways later on (depression, resentment, becoming a bully myself).

          Finally, I have accepted that (I’m trying to be realistic) their attitude toward me might unfortunately always be negative due to the negative mindset they have for whoever enters the family. All daughter and son in laws that have entered their family have been treated in the same demeaning, dominating and critical manner. So I realize that no matter what I do, they may always have a negative approach to me due to their set mindset on how DILs/SILs should be treated.

          I just want to find a way to deal with the situation constructively, so I can have decent family relations without putting up with bullying, because putting up with it leaves me feeling scarred, depressed and drained. And I worry that if I simply tolerate then I may become a bully eventually too because I’ve observed that those that inflict pain on others are usually in pain themselves.

          My question to you is:
          – If I feel consistently disrespected by my in laws, should I try to respectfully stand up for myself? Or should I just ignore it?
          – Should I stand up for myself and not bring the issue to my husband’s attention?
          – Or should I ignore it and tell my husband instead?
          -What are some strategies to deal with this behavior especially when it happens in my husband’s absence?

          I believe my husband feels mostly respected by me. I do realize part of his reason for not standing up for me is because he does not even know how to stand up for himself when it comes to his family and has always resorted to passive aggressive strategies.

          But his approach is really beginning to make me feel lonely, unprotected and scared. I want connection with in laws but I do not want to be bullied, for the sake of my own self respect and sanity. I feel alone in this challenge without the support and guidance of my husband. Perhaps this is all to realize that only God is our true protector.

          Any advice would be much appreciated.

          Thank you,
          A sister that needs advice.

          1. Daisy,
            It is great to hear from you. 🙂 I can definitely understand the pain such a situation would cause.

            Well, first of all, this matter sounds like a great thing to pray about! God is able to change people and their hearts in ways we can’t begin to fathom.

            He may also prompt you about exactly what to say and when and how.

            I think it would be wise not to be alone with your MIL as much as possible.

            I have a few posts about healthy boundaries and control that may be helpful.

            You can search my home page for:

            People pleasing
            Boundaries and control
            Playing the martyr

            And you can also check out my YouTube channel “April Cassidy”, I have a video up from last week about dealing with controlling people.

            A controlling mother in law most likely is operating totally in fear, not in the power of God. She may have self as an idol, like I did. She may believe that it is therefore her right to try to control others because she believes she has rights that, in reality, only God has and other people have for themselves. She may not understand God’s sovereignty, healthy boundaries or God’s design for the structure of marriage. Most likely she is hurting, lonely, worried, afraid and miserable.

            You cannot change her. But you can create healthy hedges of protection around yourself and your marriage by limiting what you talk about and limiting your time alone with her and deferring questions to your husband.

            You can also approach her with the power of God’s Spirit and not repay evil with evil. Romans 12:9-21 is a great place to start.

            You may have to do a lot of praying so that you don’t hold on to unforgiveness and bitterness which could easily arise in this situation and poison your soul.

            You can politely and respectfully change the subject or not answer certain questions. And you don’t have to respond when she says you will never take her son away. He is yours. You have a covenant with him, she does not. You don’t have to fight her on something that you already have that she cannot take away. You can feel sad for her that she is so miserable.

            Praying for wisdom for you!

          2. Thank you so much! I cannot express how much these kind and constructive words of advice mean to me. God bless you! 🙂 I will do my best to keep praying for wisdom. In the mean time, I am actually practicing role playing on my own to help prepare for certain conversations or situations that may arise. It’s scary, especially when I will be on my own but I feel courage whenever I remember that God will be with me!

          3. My struggle is similar to many posted here in that my husband doesn’t stand up to his family, but I am lucky that his Mother is not included in that battle. He has a loyal brotherhood with a family that includes 5 sons (He is #4 and has trouble setting and holding boundaries, especially when the brothers play any sort of “loyalty card.”). His Mom is my only ally, that is, when we can get past the “boys” and their varieties of dramas!

            Anyhow, I really feel for everyone, and may God shelter you with strength and confidence. May the Holy Spirit fill you with peace and guide you in Love to do what is best and right by your in-law family. I believe that you may have something there, with seeing that only God is your truest protector, and your courage is in Him.

            Role playing is a great idea from “Daisy” above. I am going to try that. And I want to share that in my experience setting boundaries, you may need to be gentle with yourself if you mess up the initial rounds of trying to be straightforward, tactful, yet loving as you hold your appropriate boundaries. All new behaviors take practice, so don’t lose heart 🙂

            I spent quite a few years in a bad place on this problem. After having spent several years trying to avoid it, I couldn’t escape the issues that I needed to learn to better express myself and learn about setting my own boundaries and being peaceful instead of crying alone while doing nothing proactive to change anything. After avoidance didn’t help for a lot of years, I did eventually become quite bitter and rough with my husband on this issue, having allowed his (and his family’s) volatile tempers to affect my personality to “fit in” rather than having stood my ground in peace.

            I wish I had placed my courage in God’s promises instead of took over as Holy Spirit Jr. myself for so long. Trust me, oh how very much that does NOT work and makes ya feel awful. It’s only by losing myself, dropping my own ego about being “righteous” and really digging around to see if I was in fact jealous (I was not – in the way my husband had accused me – jealous. However I WAS jealous of their abilities to better “speak their minds” than me, and allowed myself to become intimidated).

            Eventually I had no options left but trusting trusting trusting God and loving them more and more that I am beginning to be set free from this history of general disharmony within their family. (P.S. Thank Goodness, I never behaved negatively in his in-law’s presence, while between hubby and me there has been much discord on this subject!)

            Be Not Afraid! If God is for you, who can be against? Let’s continue to pray and prepare ourselves to face these issues taking to heart the excellent advice offered here!

            Oh, it can be very scary, but the reward will be so sweet if we are steadfast in trusting God to resolve these relationship issues and teach us to be strong in the lessons.

          4. Hi Daisy and PeacefulWife,
            I am in the same position as Daisy. Your post was really encouraging but I do want to ask about my unique situation. In the beginning of our marriage, I was quiet and tolerated my MIL but it ultimately led to hurt, unforgiveness, and bitterness. I am working through those issues now. Unfortunately, my husband’s inability to stand-up for himself or protect me led me to truly not trust him. I am really suffering with not trusting him. And he has become aware of the scar his MIL and his inaction has brought. However, my MIL seems like a mac truck and has almost unstoppable forces of maniuplation. I am concerned because our marriage is no longer on steady ground due to the way both of us responded and the fact that we did not create a hedge of protection around our marriage. My husband is in a demanding and taxing training for the next several years so, when my MIL comes to visit I am left with her all day. In fact, he finds ways to stay later at work so as not to interact with her. She is coming to visit for 10 days with her mentally ill daughter and is staying at our house (due to finances). I am scared of what she will say to me when I am cornered, vulnerable, tired etc (I have new baby). I feel like my husband doesn’t have my back; I feel like I lost my best friend years ago. When he mentioned that she was coming, I became quite. I did not want to be disrespectful but he appeared sad. I asked him the matter and he said, I appeared sad. I feel like I can’t win for losing. What can I do to maintain some sanity during the visit? How can I respond to her criticism? She often times does inappropriate things (like start cooking dinner alongside me when I’ve already started and force my hubby to chose a meal–I’ve backed down in those situations but this is my husband, my duty, and my house…) how should I respond while maintaining my duties as wife and mother? Honestly, I have a crippling and sinking feeling about spending 10 days with someone who despises me. How do I navigate this? I asked my husband to take days off and he refused? Instead, I feel like he piled work on? I am seeking some Godly counsel because I want to maintain God’s standard through it all, be an honorable wife, and a good mother throughout the visit.
            Thank you in advance.

          5. Faith,

            My heart breaks for this kind of pain in a marriage. 🙁 SO unnecessary! If only families understood healthy boundaries and God’s design for marriage.

            How is your walk with Christ at this point?

            What is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

            Is your MIL a believer?

            It is ok to say that you are not going to be able to have the energy and stamina to entertain your MIL a,one and take care of your baby and not have your husband home. You can gently, respectfully say, “Honey, I just don’t think I can be the hostess I would need to be during your mother’s visit with you being gone so much. I would prefer that we reschedule her visit for a time when you are much more available, please.” Then let him think about it.

            Does your husband get offended if you say you do not want your MIL to visit?

            Have you ever directly, firmly, lovingly, humbly confronted her?

            Depending on your situation and what you believe God desires you to do, there are other ways to handle this, too.

            Is: you could tell your mother in law how glad you are that she is going to be handling all of the cooking and meals for the ten days while she will be visiting and what a help that will be for you and. How you are looking forward to her helping a lot with the chores. (Only do this if you really believe God is leading you to do this approach!)

            Here is my take.

            Don’t try to compete with her. Let her go crazy proving how awesome she is. You don’t have to compete. You are married to your husbnd. You have a covenant marriage with him. She doesn’t. Your husband loves you and is with you. She cannot take over your place. She can try. That’s fine. But you can see through all of her efforts to see what a miserable life she has and you can have a broken heart for her pain and fear.

            Please search my home page for the following:
            – handling a controlling mother as a team
            – control and boundaries
            – people pleasing
            – guilt
            – playing the martyr

            I think these posts may be helpful and healing for you.

            I also suggest, don’t try to change your MIL. You can’t change her. You can pray for God to heal her and open her eyes. But you cannot change her.

            I used to be a controlling woman, myself. There is a LOT of sin and fear that goes into that mindset. It is not an “easy fix.” There is often extreme pride, self-righteousnes, idolatry of self and of having power and control, unbelief in God, lack of faith in Him, lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty, a belief that she is actually sovereign over many people and circumstances and is responsible herself for making things work out “right.” If one has self on the throne, then it is entirely reasonable to demand that others submit to you. Ultimately, the greatest motivator for a controlling woman is fear. HUGE fear. She has probably not truly experienced the grace, mercy and forgiveness of Christ on a tangible heart level. So she doesn’t have those things to give to others. When someone has self on the throne, the sinful nature is in control, not God’s Spirit. Many of the sinful mindsets that a controlling woman has were formed during traumatic events in childhood and misunderstandings of how much power she had over others and how responsible she was for others. Women who felt that they had to be in control as children or who didn’t have strong, godly parents, or whoae parents were absent, sick, addicted to something or weak in some way often think they learn that they have way more power, authority and responsibility over others and circumstances than they actually do.

            Of course, these are generalizations. They may not all apply to your MIL. But, perhaps something here might give you a bit of insight into her mindset and paradigm.

            If God leads you to, you could even directly contact your MIL, if your husband does not want to, and say that it is just not going to be a good time for a visit since your husband is not available much during that time and that y’all may need to reschedule.

            Does the visit have to be so long? Has she already bought plane tickets or anything?

            Praying for wisdom for you!!!

            Much love

          6. If you don’t want to continue living like this, you can do what I did. Get a tape recorder (or a record app on your phone) and turn it on (without anyone knowing, maybe go in the bathroom to turn it on). Make sure to record all of the prying comments, mean statements, threats, etc and make sure you don’t retaliate. she says you can’t take away her son you say “I appreciate your concern and how much you care for your son, my husband. I think it is wonderful you two are so close. I do not want to take him away from you. He is my husband and I love him. I enjoy spending time with him, just as you enjoy spending time with him. I also enjoy our visits and spending time with you. If it wasn’t for you and the amazing job you did raising him he wouldn’t be the wonderful and amazing man I married. Thank you for raising my perfrct man.” Then, when you and your husband are alone, play the tape for him. He will hear her, in her own voice and words, treating you badly without you saying anything first to make her feel defensive, and will hear you complimenting them both while thanking her. By thanking her for raising him, complimenting her abilities as a mother, and acknowledging her concerns you will appear as the better person. He’ll feel protective of you and be very happy with the way you treated her.

  2. In the book Love and Respect, Dr. Emmerich talks about the reaction he gets from women when he asks them, “If your future daughter-in-law treats your son the same way you treat your husband, how will you feel about her?” He says that there is always a look of horror in the eyes of the women. I have observed in my family how my mother mistreated my father. Now when her sons are mistreated by their wives, the mama-bear comes out to defend her babies. I believe this is part of the issue. Men can see the sin in their daughters boyfriends/husbands and women can see the sin in their sons girlfriends/wives. If a mother-in-law hasn’t dealt with the log of disrespect in her own eye, she will be very harsh with the disrespect she sees in her daughter-in-laws life.

    1. Marie,

      Yes, if a wife can cooperate with what her husband asks her to do regarding his family – things often go MUCH more smoothly!

      I love that you see how you could have handled things in a godly way now. Yes, your husband was trying to protect you and trying to prevent a big war between you and his family. I hope you will thank him for what he did and acknowledge that you should have listened to him and that you regret not listening to him. You can certainly apologize now for making things worse back then.

      Yes, it does feel like spiritual and emotional contortion at first, but as God renews and transforms your mind – it will eventually become “normal” to do things in God’s power and for His glory. 🙂

    2. Joe,

      Another thing about a controlling mother-in-law is that her son grew up learning to be treated disrespectfully and saw his father treated disrespectfully, so that seems normal, and he is more likely to choose a wife who treats him the same way his mother treated his father.

      He is also not very likely to confront his controlling mother because he has learned to ignore her and tune her out because it is often “too much drama” to attempt to confront her. He will probably treat his wife the same way. He has learned passivity is “safer.”

      1. Yes, so true. My father, brother and I all tend to be passive with our disrespectful wives. Confronting my mother would not go well.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. It covered how to respond to so many controlling things that my MIL does. I wanted to seek advice on how to defend myself when his mother speaks lies about me to me. She only does it when nobody else is around. (She may talk about me behind my back, but I don’t know) She has said some very hurtful, untrue things about me to me and I never know how to react because I’m in such shock. Nobody has ever treated or talked to me like this in my entire life. She tells me I need to speak up and stand up for myself, but I know that we are to turn the other cheek, and to not sin back toward someone just because they have sinned against you–to be gentle, meek, and also watch the words said. I feel that speaking up for myself against her would cause drama, too. I see how she speaks to others and I don’t want to speak up like she does because its disrespectful. I’ve told my husband because he doesn’t understand why I’d rather not be around her much. He doesn’t believe me and doesn’t care because he hasn’t seen it. This situation is so icky because that’s his mommy and of course he loves her and I don’t want to do anything to destroy any of that, but I’m also his wife and feel like I should be important enough to him (come 1st after God) to atleast realize that how she is treating me is not right. We have so much stress in our lives right now, so much on our plate. I know this is not the most important issue for us to get through at the moment, but I’d still like to try to work on it with whatever I can do personally even if he doesn’t take part or knows about it. What would be the best thing to do or say when she speaks to me in this way? All I’ve been doing is sitting there and saying nothing–just taking it in absolute shock and then later on when I’m not around her crying and being confused and angry about it.

    1. Butterfly Dove,

      I would suggest not being alone with her without another adult present if at all possible. I would also keep in mind that if she knew how to be a godly, gentle, peaceful woman who trusted Christ instead of self – she would be a godly woman. It can be hard to accept that someone in the generation before you is not as spiritually mature as you may be, but that happens a lot! Age does not necessarily equal wisdom. If you can accept that she is spiritually weak and incapable of truly loving in an agape way and accept where she is spiritually and not take it personally, that can help a lot.

      There are times we do need to confront sin. If we do it, we need to follow Matthew 7:1-5 and Matthew 18 and follow our husbands’ guidance as well.

      It may be necessary to accept that she is not seeing reality on the same plane you are and maybe she believes what she says. You may have to think of it like she has a spiritual or emotional illness and realize she is not able to see things from your perspective.

      I don’t know that it is fair to say your husband doesn’t care. Sometimes men just tune out women when they have a lot of drama and don’t pay any attention to it, assuming they will be fine if they are left alone.

      How often do you see her. What kinds of things does she say.

      How respected is your husband feeling by you lately?

      Much love to you! 🙂

  4. Love this blog post! I am very blessed to with my hubby, he has stood up for me in situations where one of my family members was insulting me and he will stand up for me if his family would do it. I am blessed that his family is wonderful and we get along great!

    I loved this: “Don’t speak negatively about your husband to others!!! This is REALLY important! This protects your marriage and enables your husband to trust you and to know that you are loyal to him.” So very true!

    Praying for all marriages

    Love, Crissy

    1. Mended by Hope,

      Yes, if we attack his family, criticize them, gossip about them, complain about them and tear them down – our husband will likely take our actions toward his family personally.

      But when we are respectful of his family, and of him, he is so much more likely to step in if we are insulted or mistreated.

      So many wives could avoid a lot of pain and heartache with in-laws if they would listen to their husbands and honor his requests about how to treat his family. He knows them better than we do!

      1. You are so right. I know there are many who struggle with in laws who are nosy and down right mean but best thing is to keep quiet and talk to your husband about it and of course pray. Respect can go along way, it may even result in a wonderful relationship with the in laws. Many times their attitudes stem from being mistreated or some battle they are facing at that moment. Thank you for sharing all this in your post 🙂 I have shared it with my group on facebook God Bless!

  5. I believe the husband should be able to decide how the couple will handle his family. I believe he should be the one to set the limits and to give directives about what children need and any boundaries. His parents can hear those things from him and usually not get upset, but a daughter-in-law telling a mother-in-law what to do with the children has a lot of potential for hurt feelings and conflict.

    I hope you will be able to honor his leadership from this point on with his family! :). Praying for you!

    1. Thank you for your prayers. I made a big mess. But I know God will use this for his glory somehow and I’m submitting myself to him and my husband.

  6. Greg’s response was right on. “A husband who feels respected probably will try to protect his wife – but she has to be willing to stay under his covering and protection. If she lashes out at his family members, insults them or disrespects them and creates a lot of hurt feelings, she will be on her own. Her husband can’t protect or defend her if she creates a lot of problems for herself. At that point, a husband will allow her to lie in the bed she made for herself.”

    My ex-wife always considered herself superior to my sisters and parents. She didn’t approve of their denomination, my father’s temperament, etc. at the outset of our marriage. Though I’m sure she didn’t mean for her disapproval to be noticeable, it was, and of course that affected how they related to her over the years. Some times were more awkward than others, but she never did lose the attitude. We only lived close by my family for a few years late in the marriage, and she did not handle it well. Her disapproval began to include my siblings’ parenting choices and their kids’ interactions with our kids. It became a point of contention between her and me; she was convinced the cousins were spoiled and that we needed to intervene; I was convinced that all we were seeing was normal human interaction where people sometimes rubbed each other the wrong way. It became a crisis when one of the teenage cousins was rude to our special needs daughter. Instead of handling it matter of factly (i.e., something like, “Cousin, I understand that you’re older than Sarah and this other opportunity that just came up is more attractive to you, but she has really been looking forward to spending time with you and her feelings are going to be hurt if you change your plans. If you really don’t want to stick with our original plans, can we at least set another time for you to spend with Sarah?”), my wife blew up at the cousin in the presence of an adult family friend. This of course led to a conflict of two mama bears (my wife and my sister). My father called a family meeting to try to get everyone to work it out. I defended my wife whenever there were any statements that were unfair or went beyond the facts, but I did not defend her on the things that she had in fact done wrong (though I did not tell my family that I agreed with them and did not criticize my wife in their presence). My wife purported to apologize and everyone left on better terms. After the meeting, however, my wife denied to me that she had done anything wrong and excoriated me for not protecting her. She could not accept that my obligation to protect her did not extend to defending bad behavior.

    After our divorce (which she initiated), more than one of my sisters commented that they could never figure out why my wife never thought I or my family was good enough for her.

    1. Let me understand this
      If the wife defends herself, she is wrong, because hubby doesnt want to make waves with h his family?
      He is suppose to cleave to his wife…IS HE NOT?
      Sometimes the guy always sides with friends and family. ..then what?
      How much of it does one have to take? For a life time of it can be very taxing.
      It shouldn’t have to be this way….its his family, and HE NEEDS TO DEAL WITH IT…,FOR YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO.
      What happens when you keep kicking a poor dog?
      If the husbands are going to stay in denial, and not get his family and friends in check, and stop his wifes suffering. ..that sure dont sound like love to me…

      1. mariab4real,

        There can be times when a wife may need to defend herself or may need to say, “I really want to go to your family’s house to enjoy being with them, but I don’t think I can do it again until I know that they will not insult me, treat me badly.” – if things are really bad.

        If a wife realizes that she has been disrespectful to his family, she may find that apologizing for her own disrespect and simply adjusting her own behavior and praying about the situation may bring healing.

        This is going to require great sensitivity to God’s Spirit on the part of the wife.

        If a husband has never defended himself to his family, it may take a pretty significant situation for him to decide to defend his wife and possibly severe ties with his family. If she is being respectful to him and to his family – she has the best chance for him to be willing to defend her. A husband who is used to standing up for himself will most likely defend his wife if he feels she is being mistreated – particularly if his wife is not creating drama in the family.

        But if he continues to do nothing and she is being treated wrongly and she is not egging on the dissension herself – yes, there can be times when it could be necessary for a wife to defend herself or decide not go be with the family anymore until they are willing to change. But that would hopefully not have to be the first option.

        I’m so sorry if you are experiencing pain in this area and would be glad to talk with you about it if you would like to talk about it.

        Much love, my dear friend!

        1. Thank you April for doing your best to explain all of this to us. Thank you for modeling what it means to speak truth in love.
          I am an active Christian. I strive to keep God at the center of my life through prayer, studying the word, and listening to the Holy Spirit among other things. And I am so disappointed in myself to admit that I am losing hope in my marriage. My husband, who is also Christian, but grew up Catholic—and the culture he grew up in did not emphasis a personal relationship with God but actively completing rituals, sacraments, and works (I am not suggesting all Catholics are like this but rather providing a context)–has cultivated/allowed an unhealthy relationship to grow between me and his family. I’ve been quietly reading and following your advice for months and I will not give you a long story but my mother in law does not want me married to her son. She criticizes and undercuts me, disrespects me, sends everyone in our family gifts but me, she will call just to talk to him (and not attempt to say hello), she has come to my house and started a second dinner while I’m cooking (and tried to insist on
          Him choosing whose dinner to eat), she has called me to tell me I’m a bad wife, mother, and woman, she has accused my parents of abusing our children, and more recently has hang up on me. I have tried to extend grace–not always successfully but I have always tried. She herself is an active devout Catholic–she has insulted my faith, denomination, and accused me of putting a trance on her son against her. April, hardly ever or rather never has my husband defended me consoled me. In fact, I believe he emotionally abandoned me. I am tired and I can’t take anymore. This tense relationship is killing my marriage and its created a very heavy spirit on me. I feel that resentment and bitterness are taking root. I have two children–a third on the way. I’m supporting my hubby through a very demanding career (emotionally and financially) but I feel depleted. I feel like I’m walking through life, barely keeping up—I am the walking dead. My mother-in-law called to speak to the kids on Easter. When I took the phone to wish her a happy easter, she hung up on me. The level of disrespect, the lack of consequences or reactions is killing my soul. It shook up my Resurrection Sunday but I wouldn’t allow it to be ruined. I believe strongly in the covenant of marriage even while unhappy but I’m concerned about my deep sadness, the growing disconnection in my marriage, and the growing recklessness with which she treats me. I am so hurt. I feel so betrayed by my husband.
          Looking for wise counsel from a Godly woman and deep prayer,
          Hope (the irony of my name)

          1. Hope,
            It is such a pleasure to meet you!

            Goodness – what incredible disrespect you are facing. 🙁 That just breaks my heart.

            What is your husband’s personality in general?
            Has he ever stood up for himself against his mom before?

            How is your walk with Christ going, my precious sister?

            How is your marriage and what are your interactions like with your husband?

            What are the dynamics in your marriage – is your husband passive?

            Where do y’all go to church (what denomination)?

            Do you have godly wives/women who are mentoring you and pouring into you and praying with you and for you?

            How do you respond to your husband when you feel so hurt and betrayed?

            What do you say to him about his mother?

            I wish I could hug your neck, my beautiful sister in Christ!!!

            Obviously, this is not God’s design for marriage – a mother-in-law should not have this level of control to be able to disrupt a marriage so much. And it is a sin if she is trying to separate that which God has joined together. (Mark 10:9)

            I invite you to read the following posts if you are interested:

            The Snare of People Pleasing
            Control and Boundaries
            Handling a Controlling Mother as a Team
            Using Guilt to Manipulate
            Why Playing the Martyr Repels Those We Love

            And, I invite you to search my home page for “bitterness”

            A great chapter for study, in my view, would be Romans 12:9-21 where believers are instructed about how to treat our enemies. This woman may not know Jesus. Perhaps God might use your godly responses and your Spirit-filled life to help draw her to Himself? If she does not turn to Him and does not know Him, God will repay her for her sin against you when she stands before Him in judgment and her condemnation will be eternal. I don’t want to see that happen. How I pray God will open her eyes and bring her to salvation if she does not know Him and if she does know Him, I still pray He will open her eyes and regenerate her spirit for His glory!

            I am praying for you and looking forward to the ways God will intervene in your situation to accomplish His will.

            Much love!

          2. Hi April and all the others linked to this thread,
            Thank you for your response. I decided to sit with it for some time and pray on it before I answered your questions. First and foremost, you often ask us if and then how our relationship is with Christ. There are so many things that God has done for me. Much of what he has done for me, I never deserved and was not in relationship with him. But I’ve noticed that once I recommitted myself to my faith several years back, God has shown up in miraculous ways. I would say on the whole, my relationship is strong with God. As I mentioned when I originally posted, he is the center of my life, I read the word (searching for instructions on how to live), I very regularly participate in worship (individually and corporately), as well as just spending time with him. I would like to answer some other specifics perhaps via private correspondence because I do want to honor my husband and his family by not divulging everything publicly. I believe our situation is that unique that it would be very obvious who we are to people that know us. And since I did not ask permission to showcase our struggle online–I will refrain from answering some the specifics here.

            I will say that I am in a well-established Protestant denomination that has a foothold throughout the country. Additionally, my husband transitioned into this faith at the start of our marriage after serious assessment of Catholicism for years prior to our marriage. This was a heartbreaking experience for my mother-in-law. Furthermore, we received pre-marital counseling, were married, and continued to receive counseling (as a sort of framing of our marriage) well into our early marriage. Its hard for me to say where my husband is in his faith walk. I will say that his job which is approximately 16 hours (on a good day) very likely interferes with his personal relationship with God–I mean, in terms of seeking out God’s will, reading the word, etc.
            As far as his personality, he is a very introspective, stoic, and a quiet person. However, over the years I think that he has grown into a much stronger albeit quiet person. I have seen him standup to his mother although she relies on shame and guilt to undercut him. And because she is a single woman still caring for his incapacitated sister, I believe he feels obligated to act as a surrogate husband to her (in the same way he did before we were married). She has been disrespectful to him, literally telling him that he is not a man or mature on the occasion that he confronted her. I believe that this is her coping mechanism. She is not happy, lives a few states away, and had always planned to live in a multigenerational home with my husband, his wife, and children. She intimated this loss to me multiple times and how she had planned on cooking for us and taking care of everything. And that he owed her a level of support for all that she had done. I did not engage in countering her lamentation.
            I have tried to respect my husband, his family, and their family culture but I do know that God divinely appointed me to be his wife and the mother of his children. I definitely fall under his (my husband) covering but I also have responsibilities as a wife and mother. The children fall under my covering and I have desperately tried to not compromise in this area because this is my duty to the Lord. I really want to please, my savior–genuinely, April.
            As for his mother and our Easter debacle when she hung up on me (hope you remember me). I told my husband and for the first time, he agreed that this was “uncalled for” and “unkind.” He was not angry. Just firm that it was “rude.” After seeking Godly counsel from a mentor (I only have one solid confidante), she suggested that I focus on my relationship with my husband and he should be responsible for fielding the relationship between my mother-in-law and our kids. This consistent with much of the counsel I have received over the years. After all, my job is to honor her as a parent but not to obey her. As far as my mentor was concerned, my mother-in-law had made it clear that his mom did not want a relationship with me. She declared it an issue of boundaries. I agree. So, I was silent. I literally told my mentor, you, and my husband. Following that, I spoke only to God about it. I will admit that the situation did continue to torture me emotionally and it brought up lots of other situations from the past. I am very hurt by how my mother-in-law treats me but I am tormented by how my husband responds. I feel betrayed. Anyhow, she called me (in order to talk to the kids because my husband works terrible hours and very likely could not get through) and God made it so that I forgot my phone at home that day. He knew my pain! Love him for that. She left a message that enraged me (however). She sweetly said she was sorry that she had missed me and she loves me and the kids. She acted like nothing had happened; she did not acknowledge anything (this is normal for her). I am tired of her disrespecting me and thinking I am foolish enough to pretend it did not happen. And I am not a doormat. I am not being mean but I am also beginning to wonder if she might have a mental illness…this is something I am not sure I have the delicacy to approach with my husband but there have been instances like this that make me think she might be bipolar (I sincerely don’t mean it as a slight) especially because mental illness runs in the family. But I am staying in my lane, April.

            When I saw that she called, I called my husband (at work/training) and said that I thought his mother really wanted to connect with the kids and would he use three way to connect them all. He agreed. The painful part is that he has never followed-up with me to find out how things are going with his mother, following the call he never reconnected to speak about it. He is pretending like everything is normal (clearly family culture of dysfunction). It was just life as usual. I believe that this cold detachment to the situation on his end and the lack of empathy is killing our marriage among other things (I am to blame too). I know that God is less concerned with our happiness but the situation is truly affecting me. In a Godly sense, I know my savior wants to purify me and it has driven us closer but my entire life I have been vying for love and attention (I was a refugee at the age of 6 from a civil war–I traveled to America on my own). I am trying to honor my covenant with God. But April, I’m honestly not sure that I can endure another year being disrespected, undermined, ignored, and then emotionally neglected by my husband. My migraines from 15 years ago have resurfaced and I am pregnant so this is highly dangerous for my condition. My flesh says its time to leave and make a new life but my trained spirit knows that I must honor my covenant. I also know that I struggle with sharing with other women because they are often intimidated by my life’s story, my education, and my profession. I think they think because of my education they have no wisdom to offer me. I have tried to reach out and be vulnerable but maybe I’ve done it in the wrong way. I don’t know. I have sought Godly counsel about this as well many agree that its my stature that drives people away. I have more recently tried to reach out to people who might not be intimidated by me but many are not committed to building new relationships.

            I am sorry to write so much but I wanted to answer some of the detailed questions you asked. Thank you so much for your prayers. I was in absolute tears when I read that you would hug me. I would loved that. I feel so unloved and hopeless in this world even though I know my redeemer lives. And I have seen him place me on high ground over and over again.
            Much Love and Gratitude,

          3. Hope,

            My precious sister! How I can just feel your pain and your heart in what you have written. My heart aches so for you! I have cried over your pain and your struggle.

            Here are some things that may help – my desire is to point you to Christ alone. He is the only One with the wisdom and power to lead you through this and to prompt you as to exactly what He desires you to do or not do in each situation. But here are some general points that have helped me and other wives:

            – First, it is helpful to me in such situations to realize that the person who is hurting me probably doesn’t realize what they are doing. If they truly knew the depths of pain and the sin they were committing against me, they wouldn’t do it. I was a controlling wife myself. I am pretty familiar with the mindset of control. If a woman has self on the throne of her heart – and is not really trusting God – but trusting self, this will manifest in a number of ways. She may not even realize she is not trusting God. I didn’t know that I wasn’t. But I believed I was responsible FOR other people. I didn’t understand God’s sovereignty, and I tried to take the weight of His sovereignty over other people on myself. None of this is conscious, many times. But, if I have self as god in my heart, and I truly believe that I am responsible for other people and for circumstances and that all of the outcome depends completely on me – the only ways I have to try to make things work out are sinful methods. I will try to use guilt, play the martyr, or use people pleasing.

            And if I have self as god in my heart, and I believe I am responsible for other people (so I have no healthy boundaries), then I believe it is my responsibility, my right, and my duty to MAKE other people do what I think is right and I believe I am the only one who can see what is best and that I have more wisdom than anyone else. There is MUCH pride involved in a controlling woman’s mindset. But the biggest thing that fuels a controlling woman is FEAR.

            Your mother-in-law’s treatment of you probably doesn’t have anything to do with you specifically. Her treatment of you is about what is in her heart and character. It is about her relationship with Christ. She treats you this way because of what is in her heart – and she would probably treat any woman her son married in the exact same way because this is who she is right now.

            – Your husband is in a lose/lose situation. If he defends you – he faces his mother’s terrible wrath. If he doesn’t defend you – he faces your anger, bitterness, resentment, etc… The poor man probably just wants peace. But peace with his mom is impossible unless he is her puppet on a string. And then, that is not real peace. He feels responsible to take care of his mom – especially with his dad gone. And he probably feels responsible not to speak disrespectfully about her. She is his mom. He wants to treat here well, honor, and love her. He cannot change her. If he cuts off communication with her – which probably would be best for you – I would imagine the guilt he would feel about abandoning her and his sister would be overwhelming. He may have even made promises to his mom or to his dad that he would take care of her. I don’t know. But I don’t think that your husband’s seeming “lack of response” is necessarily about a lack of love for you – but rather that he is in an impossible situation right now and he may be doing his best to try to keep some semblance of peace. I think your husband is likely torn between his love for his mom and his feeling of responsibility to her and his love for you and his desire to protect you.

            – One would hope that one’s parents and in-laws would be more spiritually mature and would lead the way in setting godly examples. But that is not always the case. It may be that she doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I don’t know. Or she may just be harboring so much bitterness, pride, resentment, and toxicity that she has grieved the Holy Spirit (like I did for so many years). But right now, she doesn’t have the capacity to love with God’s love. It may be that you will have to be the more spiritually mature one in this family.

            – Is it possible that you have some misunderstanding of your husband’s heart for you? You seem to have quite a few expectations of him. You feel he should have known to follow up with you. Maybe that is expecting him to read your mind a bit? Or expecting him to think just like you do – when maybe he thinks in a very different way? Maybe he is not unloving, but he is different and shows his love in different ways? I would imagine that your husband greatly empathizes with you. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that he experiences in this dysfunctional relationship with his mom. I cannot assume that your husband “doesn’t empathize” – I think it is possible that he is trying to show honor to his mom by not badmouthing her. I don’t know your husband, or his heart – but I have corresponded with a LOT of men here – and I think that there are other ways that a lot of husbands would look at this situation that are just different from your perspective. Not wrong – just different.

            – I am glad that you know that your flesh is leading you astray. I don’t see where it is time to leave – from what you have described. I believe it is time to press more into Christ than ever and to allow God to shape you to be the woman He desires you to be – realizing that your MIL is in a miserable and toxic spiritual state right now. She may even have mental illness, I don’t know. But she is in a prison of her own bitterness and control – and she doesn’t know how to get out. She doesn’t know any other way to be or think or act. If she did, she sure wouldn’t keep acting the way she is. But only God can open her eyes to what she is doing. You cannot change her. Your husband cannot change her. What you can do is lay down your expectations of her. Realize she is spiritually extremely sick or dead – and she cannot love you the way she should. It is a sad thing. But right now, she is incapable of godly love because she doesn’t have the power of God’s Spirit. Perhaps God will speak to her through you or through your husband? My greatest concern is for her salvation.

            – If your husband feels contempt from you about this issue- that may drive him away. What is his general personality? How is the rest of the marriage relationship going?

            – It seems to me that the way you are speaking to yourself about your marriage is destructive. I would encourage you to write down the things you are saying to yourself about your husband and your marriage and to compare that to scripture and purposely choose to think and speak the truth of God over your marriage rather than these destructive ideas that could help you to tear down your marriage.

            – Congratulations on your pregnancy! I would also try to keep in mind that it is possible that how you are feeling with your migraines and all of those raging pregnancy hormones can make the situation seem even worse than it is. Or – that is how things were for me during my pregnancies, at least! Sometimes, our emotions mislead us or downright lie to us.

            Have you ever read Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss? It might be a great book to read right now. 🙂

            You can also search my home page for:

            – emotions
            – PMS (which is very similar to pregnancy issues emotionally)
            – feel unloved
            – The Answer to All of Your Marriage Problems

            I’m glad to speak with you any time here. Praying for God to work powerfully in your heart, in your husband’s heart, and in your mother-in-law’s heart for His greatest glory!

            Much love!

  7. My husband told me to never be alone with any of his family. I wish I had listened to him. I was trying to have a relationship with people that didn’t love me. Not smart.

  8. Wives, please understand[ and I don’t want to speak for all husbands, maybe some] when you’re disrespectful to your husband, and you’re the type of wife who have no problem fussing at him, even in front of other people, he’ll quickly turn a deaf ear, when you complain that someone is being disrespectful to you. You see, us men, we love to feel like a protector, a provider for our wives. But whenever a wife steps out of line of being feminine, and she’s acting like a man, by her verbal assaults, then sad to say, that wife is on her own[to protect herself]. Just sayin’

      1. I don’t want to grieve the holy spirit anymore. As time passes and I learn to control myself something else is happening. I’m understanding Gods design for marriage for the first time. I’m focusing on my relationship with GOD first. And I’m seeing my brokenness like never before. I feel the flesh at war with the spirit and Its painful but freeing when I choose the spirit. I have a choice. Peace. I choose peace.

        1. Marie,

          It is SO worth it! I know it is a huge battle to crucify self – the old sinful nature – but God’s peace is the most amazing blessing in the world! I am so thrilled for you and all that GOd is doing in you! 🙂

  9. I was VERY disrespectful to my husband’s parents for a long time. 🙁 I regret that now. When God showed me my sin against Greg, He also showed me how disrespectful I had been to my family and to Greg’s family. I went to the men and apologized for my disrespect to them. I apologized to my MIL and FIL for my disrespect. I apologized to my sister for being so controlling.

    Back then, I was so dead set on the idea that I was “right” about everything, and I was so inflexible and unable to fathom that there could be any viewpoint but my own – I was VERY stubborn, bullheaded and many times, rude. I was responsible for a lot of drama. 🙁 I didn’t see how it was me causing the problem at the time. But now I can see it very clearly.

    I totally understand now why a husband wouldn’t even try to protect a wife who is disrespecting his family, not to mention disrespecting him.

    I was thinking this afternoon after I read Conroy Dennis’ comment about the cartoon, Peanuts – with Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Do you remember Lucy on that cartoon? She was very disrespectful to EVERYONE. She was bossy and a know-it-all. She was “always right.” Really, she was a bully.

    How is a man going to feel protective of someone who is attacking others or bullying them?

    When we come across as confrontational, demanding, full of contempt, “always right” and use our words to destroy people – everyone will back away from us. No one can come close enough to us to really love us. We repel them with our pride, anger and self-righteousness. We are prickly like a porcupine.

    I found out – it was a very lonely way to live.


    How much better to be feminine by God’s design, gentle, peaceful, vulnerable, strong in a godly way, full of His Spirit, full of joy, and a blessing to everyone around us -using our words to build others up and bring joy to others!

  10. I would really like your advice on something. My on laws are very controlling. Some examples: they ‘re-arranged some things at our wedding the day before, they call our mechanic and give him instructions on your vehicles behind our back (he is my husband’s uncle), they pay for vehicle repairs behind our backs because they know we would not accept and they think we can’t afford them though they know nothing of our finances (debt free other than our mortgage). My husband told his dad that we need to be the ones to handle those decisions, but they recently did it again twice in one week. I let my husband handle it, but it has ended up with his mother telling his uncle to cover up problems on our car instead of fixing it since they are paying and his uncle laughing at me when I try to instruct him about our car because his dad had just given him instructions. (My husband was not present).

    His dad treats him as If he were incompetent and lectures him that I need to go back to work and we need to move back into town to a bigger house (we live in a 1300 square ft house and have no desire to live in town). My husband is so intimidated by his dad that he can’t even disagree with him during conversations about sports. It kills me to see my husband so disrespected even though I will admit I have gotten frustrated and told him he isn’t protecting his family and said other disrespectful things after the most recent issue.

    A week ago my father in law spanked our two year old while we were present. I saw it happen, our son told us it happened and there was a huge red hand print on his bottom that was made through a diaper. We do not spank, but are diligent about discipline and he is very well behaved, says please, thank you, excuse me and listens as well as a two year old can be expected to, but it isn’t good enough for my father in law. They have made comments that he is much better behaved when we are not around, but the fact is we have more behaviour issues when we are around them (i suspect due to confusion now).

    The “spanking” was out of anger because our son knocked over a dog food bowl and it was excessively hard, so I would say it crossed the line into abusive. His dad told us at the time that he just “got onto him” and when my husband called him and asked him about it later and told him about the hand print he said he just told him no. My mother in law has also lied in the past about things such as feeding our son processed foods and not offering the snack my husband gave her to feed him.

    My husband doesn’t think it is right to keep his dad away from our children, but I feel that his dad’ s feelings shouldn’t matter when it comes to protecting our children. I feel like I am stuck between following my husband’s lead and protecting our children from physical harm and unhealthy relationships. We are going to counseling in two days, but I would like your take on this situation.

    1. Kayla,

      It is wonderful to hear from you!

      This is a difficult situation. I’m going to ask you a few more questions, but I would like to continue some of this conversation in an email if that is ok with you.

      1. How old are each of you?
      2. How long have you been married?
      3. How close to you live to his parents?
      4. Does your husband have other brothers? If so, what is his parents’ relationship like with them?
      5. Are you, your husband and his parents all believers in Christ?
      6. Does your son have any food allergies/intolerances?
      7. How often do you and your son see your in-laws?
      8. Are there other grandchildren? How are they treated?
      9. What is his parents’ marriage like?

      Your husband NEEDS your support of him right now more than ever. He needs to know you have his back. You can say what you want respectfully. Please apologize for any disrespect (without justifying or explaining why you were disrespectful) and then tell him you support him and will cooperate with what he thinks is best.

      I definitely understand if you don’t want your son at their grandparents’ house anymore. However, it does not sound like your son is in actual serious danger. Your in-laws have been extremely disrespectful and have undermined your authority as parents. And they are WAY, WAY overstepping their bounds.

      But I believe it will ultimately be your husband who needs to make the decision and that he will need your support. If things get a lot worse, your husband will have to intervene, I am sure. But he REALLY needs your respect and support if he has any chance of being able to stand up to his dad. It is as he sees your faith in him and your trust in him that he will begin to be able to have the courage to protect you and your son.

      I have more to say – but will share it in an email if you are up for that. 🙂

  11. This is a very helpful and tangible list.

    I did poorly this past 2.5 years of our marriage. My husband has a truly wonderful family, but his younger sister is extremely opinionated and has a habit of being critical towards me any time we are together. I also was very sinful in my idealization of who she was and her life, and struggle with her what seems “perfect” life. I tried pretty hard the first year of our marriage to be friends with her and was pretty shocked and hurt when I realized she had no desire to be anything more than casual acquaintances. I had too high of an expectation of that relationship because of my own relationship with my sister, and since it was his only sibling I was excited to be friends with her. She isn’t always critical, but because of past hurts, it’s hard for me to believe she is genuinely being nice at any point.

    My husband has always felt like he has to defend his sister when I feel hurt by her and I now know I should never have been critical or negative. We do not live in the same state, so we rarely see her, but I know he feels like he has to “hide” his relationship with her to prevent any sort of sensitivity on my part. I would love for him to stand up for me, instead of letting her walk all over both of us, but I don’t want to ask for it. I guess I’ve been disrespectful of his family in ways I don’t even know. Now it is at the point that my feeling is he would support his sister through anything, but when it comes to me he is just maintaining the peace.

    Everything has been heightened the last few weeks as we just found out she’s pregnant and we’ve been trying for years.

    If anyone has advice on how to really keep emotions in check and not be so sensitive with my husband, I’d love it. I’ve been pursuing being more respectful and praying for my sister-in-law a lot to try and release my bitterness, but there are moments I feel I’ve made such a mess of my marriage and that relationship and now there is no recovery. (not of the actual marriage, just of the sister in law relationship and with my husband regarding that relationship)

    1. Rachel,

      It is great to hear from you!

      It is hard when you expect to have a close relationship and then don’t have what you expected with a sister-in-law or mother-in-law.

      I believe you can apologize to your husband for criticizing his sister and for disrespecting his family and then show him that you are not going to do that anymore.

      I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with infertility. That is an extremely painful situation on its own, but it can be much more painful when another person in the family gets pregnant. I wish I could hug your neck!

      I have some posts on bitterness and forgiveness if you are interested.

      And about discontentment and contentment that could be helpful.

      You can search those terms on my home page in the search bar.

      I bet your husband will be very forgiving if you apologize. Let me know how things are going! 🙂

  12. Lots of good truth here; I am familiar with the whole scenario, good and bad. However I am concerned with the situation where the FIL left a hand print on a toddler through a diaper. You would have to hit a little guy extremely hard to leave a visible red handprint through a diaper. An act like this is a deal breaker in my opinion. Under NO circumstances should a child EVER be left alone with them because of this, until such time at least that there is some evidence of real change, not to mention love. An act like that cannot and should not be minimized in the name of forgiveness or love. Christians often get guilted into tolerating the most unreasonable stuff because they are given, or have the idea that being Christ like means tolerating abuse. If that’s true then being Christ like means tolerating SIN, because that’s what abuse and control are. SINS.

    When an adult demonstrates this kind of disrespect and aggression towards others, they are unsafe.

    What a sad lesson for a child to learn: There is no justice in the world and no one is coming to help me when I am under attack. I cannot count on anyone, not even the adults who are supposed to love and protect me. This is precisely what children learn when they are repeatedly left in situations with people they should not be left with ,because of the word “family”. No one ‘s definition of family should include tolerating abuse.

    Being a Christian is not always about being nice and on good terms with everyone. Jesus made it clear that the gospel brings division as much as it can bring reconciliation. He said a man’s enemies could be those of his own household and that he came to set mother against daughter, etc. That’s because when you take a stand for what is right, and confront sin ( sin that will take those who are unsaved to a hell of lasting torment) those who have spent a lifetime making evil seem like its right are going to hate you for it. Its not always possible to get along with everyone, esp. those who have their hearts set on being in control, not on doing what is right and fair. Christians should be the ones who defend the defenseless. It is never right to hand a child over to someone who will hurt them, no matter how they are related to us.

    And frankly, we are only called to submit to our husbands as long as they are not asking us to sin. Martha Peace has some good instructions on what to do when you cannot submit to something your husband asks of you and how to answer in a firm but respectful way when you must refuse. Child abuse is against the law and it is sin. It is sin to fail to protect your child from a known aggressor. It is idolatry to put the feelings of a father ahead of what is right and healthy. I don’t care why the FIL thinks its right. It doesn’t matter. The FIL is hurting his grandchildren. If talking to him about his out of bounds behaviour isn’t being received, then allow him to visit when parents are present only, only if he respects instructions that he is never to hit the little guy like that again and that discipline is the parents job. But never leave him alone with a vulnerable child as long as he is this harsh. If he won’t respect the no hitting rule, then he doesn’t see his grandson. It seems to me that his actions are not merely a difference of opinion about discipline. They are a deliberate demonstration of disrespect towards her and her husband, in that he is refusing to recognize the husband’s authority over his own family and that his son is now an adult and an equal as a man, and he is also showing that he is willing to hurt the little guy to demonstrate the rightness and superiority of his position.

    I would suggest trying to get support from a pastor who doesn’t have his head stuck in the sand where dealing with abusive and controlling personalities is concerned. Lots of pastors glibly dispense Pollyanna advice because they don’t really want to get involved with a thorny situation like this. But there are men of God who are clued in about the reality of such things and can give biblical help and their help would be invaluable. Sorry for the length of this, feel free to edit. I had to write because I’ve had this experience myself and know for certain that if its not dealt with properly on all fronts it has to potential to totally collapse a marriage or result in submitting to evil. One of the biggest hindrances to getting real help I experienced, was how in denial many leaders were about how deliberate my in laws actions were and how much they almost worshipped the ideal of the Christian family. Its like ” Well, yes I believe in that IDEAL too, but what’s going on right now isn’t like that. ” These Christians who didn’t know my in laws at all, kept trying to make them sound like confused but sincere folks who meant well, when they clearly did not mean anything but wanting control and were willing to cause incredible chaos to maintain it. Sometimes that is the case, the in laws are blind and not meaning harm but there are ones where that’s not the case, and then the usual advice just perpetuates evil instead of putting a stop to it. My thoughts are with these folks.

  13. I am so in awe by reading these comments, I felt as if I was the only one dealing with these issues, I unknowingly did these possitive acts but was slowly overcome by their hate, drama, etc and slid from the possitive mindset. My husband was diagnosed with manic bipolar and had an addiction, it was more than what one person could bare, I went to his family for help and they turned it all on me and convienced him to stop taking his medications that it was me, after 2 yrs and total distruction and I threatened to walk out the door later he see’s maybe it could be him, the rumors the lies the loss of jobs has been overwhelming for me and what hurt most is when everyone had christmas and I had to set alone because no one wants me around and they think its a game, they don’t want him they just want to see me hurt, I am the only one who walks the Godly path and its very hard to set back and take the abuse, he refuses to defend me, he says everyone has a right to their feelings and this is their feelings towards me therefore I should accept it even tho he knows deep inside they have misjudged me. What do I do. I’m tired of being alone while they all enjoy them selves. I have no family accept 2 young adult daughters but they are busy with their own lives. I have no peace no rest and have lost my joy, I’ve tried turning over to the lord and my husband bjt its been 10yrs and no break thru, only I have broke.

    1. so broken hearted,

      Goodness! If you are dealing with a husband with addictions and untreated bipolar disorder – that goes beyond “normal” issues.

      I am so sorry that things have been so difficult!

      You and your husband are still together? How is your marriage? Is he still actively addicted? Is he taking medications again?

      How is your relationship with Christ?

      Do you have a supportive church family?

      Any godly mentoring wife?

      Lets talk about this together, sweet sister!

  14. This is nice. Very no ce. However. If your husband cannot defend you then, there should be a time seperated from eachother in order for him to think abour his priorities, shake up his family or something.. Dont you think?? Or you cn always send one of the in laws to the hospital.. We’re talking about people getting into your marriage, criticizing your spouse and then them sitting there and not doing anything about it. This is very serious… a bit more serious than what I feel you’re making it out to be. You have to make some type of statemebt.Big enough for people to say ” Wow… I better back off otherwise im going to hurt my son.” Don’t you think???/

    1. Barbara,

      If your son is in danger – please leave! Or call the police if things are actually seriously dangerous.

      If it is just a matter of people criticizing and being nosy – I see no justification for marital separation or violence.

      I don’t advocate using violence against anyone – I don’t believe that would fit in the teachings of Christ for us to send a family member to the hospital. If that person physically attacked someone, it may be inevitable to have a physical conflict – but – hopefully – that will not be the case!

      Often husbands don’t defend their wives or children when the husband feels extremely disrespected or if the wife was very disrespectful to his family.

      If there are serious issues in the marriage or with the in-laws to the point that people are resorting to violence, please seek godly, biblical, wise counsel immediately!

      Generally, in time, when a husband feels respected and the wife is showing honor to him and his family – he will eventually begin to stick up for his family.

      But it can take time for him to be able to do that – especially if he never stood up for himself against his family.

      What kinds of issues are you facing that you believe it is necessary to take such extreme action?

  15. Hello Dear ,Love this blog your suggestions show ur wisdom. i want to share my fears with you and want some advise regarding this. I am a Muslim and my husband to be is really a blessing for me.its been 1.5 year we are together.He respects me takes really good care of me.but yesterday i met one of his elder sisters and she mistreated me in the first meeting she exactly said “he is giving u enough respect and not respect u more” i ignored on the spot and continued behaving nicely.but my husband did not say anything.when she was gone i said to him politely that he shud tell her to respect me but he started misbehaving with me and he told me that i shud ignore such things even if anything like this happens again and he cannt say anything to them. On the other hand i can see that all 4 of his sisters mistreat their another elder brothers wife also. so i m scared if he will not take any stand they will behave the same way wid me also.i have ignored this time since the marriage has to take place yet and he is already fighting his whole family to marry plz advise how to make him realize that he should protect me.

    1. Sonia,

      It is wonderful to meet you!


      If he is fighting his whole family to marry you – and based on what he said – it seems that he does not believe he can defend you without completely angering his family.

      It seems to me from what you have described that it is very likely that this will happen again. 🙁

      If he believes he can protect you without destroying his relationship with his family, I would think he probably would.

      Do you know why the family is fighting against him marrying you?

      Are you able to accept that they may not ever accept you if you do marry this man?

      Are you able to be content if this is how his family treats you?

      Much love to you!!!!!

  16. yes it was because of the religious sect difference they were not willing for our marriage. Now the sisters have accepted, even after yesterday’s meeting his sis said to him that I’m a nice girl and she will help us to setup our marriage. but the mother in law is still not accepting and he says that she will not agree in the future.well i think she will also understand and settle down.
    off course i dnt want this kind of behavior from his family, i feel bad when she tried to humiliate me and above all when he shouted on me to tell me that i shud not complain him and shud not expect from him to tell her anything….so actually i m more effected by his reaction.
    I m hopeful tht after the wedding his burden wud b released and then he will take stand if someone will mistreat me as he takes stand for himself he can focus nd understand the situations better at that time…
    What is ur advise how shall i react when i will happen next time?
    Shall I ask my husband again to protect me ?if yes then how to approach him…??

    1. Sonia, Why do you care more about what his family says and does than what God says ? Id let him handle it his way and be respectful of him. Your respect will strengthen him. Focus on being a Godly woman. Take your focus and concern completely off his mom. Its not your business or concern what she says or does. aLet her work through her issues with you and ignore it. I went through this too and made too much of my husbands mom and sisters comments. I told them all off several times and family is now divided. Very sad. Wish I had respected how my husband wanted to deal with them but I caused conflict for him with them. Im so sad now about this,praying that God will heal us all as I respect my husband now and keep my big mouth shut and focus on whats important and what matters.

  17. Thank you so much Marie and April certainly i will focus on being a Godly woman and learn to ignore this kind of humiliating comments from his family and keep loving and respecting him.

    1. Sonia. I told my husband of your struggles and how i shared our experience with you. Again apologizing to him that i didnt let him handle his family. He hugged me and said well life doesnt come come with instructions. He stopped and corrected himself and said actually it does. Its all in the bible. I agreed. Sonia i am praying for you that God protects your heart and mind as you focus on his love for you. Guard your heart.

  18. Your story guided me well Marie.thnx. Focus on the God and believing in his divine powers strengthen me. and my husband said to me that he is guilty about his harsh behavior. and loved me. i pray God shows him right direction to lead our lives and patience to me; as April advised.

  19. i am a Christian woman, yet i find posts like this really difficult; a woman is not responsible for the behavior of he husband not protecting her. when a man IS protecting his wife and children, she easily admires and respects him–it’s a two way street. both a husband and wife should sets boundaries on how they will allow someone to treat their children; a wife should never allow someone to disrespect her husband, and a husband, if he is loving his wife as the bible commands: as Christ loved the church, we NEVER let anyone disrespect his wife because it would hurt him because they are one flesh. a woman cannot be blamed for not “admiring” her husband enough as his reason for not defending her and their children. Christian women get a lot of pressure on them to be “quite” and “gentle” and “submissive”; all beautiful things when given to a husband for who loving and doing his job as well. a husband actions can cause a women to not admire him, as much as her action effect him. it’s a two way street. i have seen soo many women blamed for their husbands actions, and i’m sorry, though i know your intentions are well, post like these continue to feed these accusations. i know you are trying to give Godly advice based on your understand, but maybe before posting things like this, consult with a real Christian counselor about how to give advice on how to deal with one’s husband’s inability to protect his family; you may then find out that there are many psychological reasons that men do not protect their wives. many have formed unhealthy emotional bonds with mothers or sisters and cannot let go or them (VERY UNBIBLICAL); others may have families that control via manipulation and one’s husband can be leading under a spirit of being manipulated by his family. those are issues the individual husband has to work on, a wife admiring him even though he’s leading is family based on his dysfunctions is not going to make him “rise up” and protect her. in Christianity as a whole, we really need to wake-up and get our heads out of these dream-like clouds and really get into reality. some of the advise is wise and can help from creating many fights and tensions, yet most of it will only make a woman feel as if she’s not “doing enough” to make her husband protect her. it is easy to oversimplify difficult issues by drenching them in Christian talk. it’s not a woman’s fault is she cannot take her husband’s family verbally and emotionally abusing her, and it only adds insult to injury when one’s husband will not do his duty and protect her–he is not walking in biblical truth. a husband SHOULD NOT be the only one making boundaries for a couple’s children; both parents are called by God to come together and seek His face for their children–that’s parenting. the bible says that an angel came to mary and told her who Jesus was and what He would do, and it says the she hid these things in her heart. mary was giving Jesus toward His destiny along with God the Father and Joseph is earthly father. let’s be real. i guess i have seen too many dear friends be subjected to un-nessceary stress, depression, abuse and guilt to to people telling them how a “proper” Christian woman ought to behave. God bless you in your mission; i am sure that you are encouraging women to love their husbands, but you should not over simplify situations you may not be qualified to comment on…i am not meaning to sound harsh and i am saying this in all respect; again some of this advice is very dangerous to a woman who is doing her best to honor God and her husband, but listening to other people tell her that she’s not being submissive enough and “honoring” her husband. it’s a lot of pressure. God bless you!

    1. Iliah Grant,
      Thank you for your comments! 🙂

      If someone is having severe dysfunction or severe emotional/psychological issues with her husband or in-laws – She definitely needs to see a Christian counselor. I am not addressing severe situations here.

      I also do not tell husbands what to do on my blog – I only address wives. There are MANY, MANY things godly husbands should indeed be doing. You are absolutely right. Yes, a husband and wife will both be accountable to God for their decisions.

      The most critical thing I believe every woman needs is to be sensitive to God’s Spirit. I give suggestions and ideas to women who often have zero godly wives in their lives. I am not infallible. I do not know best in every situation. I humbly admit that. Absolutely.

      If a woman is stressed by what I say, or things are very difficult, I would encourage her to find godly, biblical, experienced counsel ASAP. 🙂

      Thank you for your concerns. 🙂

      1. Hi April,
        I saw your blog and really admire you for committing your life to be a peaceful wife and start a ministry to help other women do the same. It is such a common thing in our culture these days for women to reject the “submissive” role in a God-honoring way and replace it with control over their husband, not even realizing what they are doing.
        I would like to know your opinion on my situation, if you have the time. My husband and I are Christians, but my father is not. My mom is a Christian. My parents are still married. When I married my husband, he got along well with my family. It was one of the reasons I wanted to marry him. My husband would spend time at my family’s house and talk to them and my dad even said my future husband was “the best thing that ever happened to me.” As we were making wedding plans, and after we got married, my father began to show a desire to maintain control over me by asking us to change our wedding dates & location so his friends could attend. I would push for my dad & my husband to spend time together and kept finding out the hard way that neither of them really wanted to. Then my dad would interject his opinion on our buying a car, how we do our taxes, etc., and I had not yet learned to “leave and cleave” so then I would go and disagree with my husband because of what my father said. Not good; I know that now.
        My husband took a stand to protect our marriage by leading us to take a “break” from my family for a couple months. I reluctantly went with him and sat down with my parents and explained the best we could why we were taking this break. They could not understand it then and they still cannot understand it and hold it against my husband. Eventually I broke down from the separation and begged my husband to go talk to my dad and work it out. Instead of my dad seeing his attempt to reconcile for my sake, my dad took the opportunity to tell my husband how he disapproved of his Christian leadership in our home including how we pray over financial decisions, tithe our money, etc. My dad forced my husband to apologize before he could go in his house, and today claims that my husband never did actually apologize. My husband reluctantly continued to spend time at my parents house until over the next holiday season my brothers were outright disrespectful during the dinner prayer and made crude jokes about our marriage being illegitimate and our son a bastard because my husband had not beaten the family board game. Since then my husband has decided not to see my family at all. I have gone to see my family by myself.
        I struggle with thinking my husband should be a “super Christian” and should want to continue to witness to my father. I also struggle that my husband does not want my parents to babysit our son (5 yrs) because there was a time my mom fell asleep while watching him and they have a pool that is not gated, and another time our son was swimming with my mom and he fell in the water while she was holding my camera (at my request to take his picture). And he is concerned that the crude jokes and who knows what else might happen when we are not around.
        When I write this all down I realize my husband is doing his job to protect me. I can usually be successful as a peaceful wife, except when it comes to my family I just want to yell and scream at him because I do want that ideal Christian family.
        Tonight my husband said he is putting his foot down and does not want my parents to babysit our son. He said well are you just going to let them do it anyway. I said no but it makes me angry. I just want my husband to work towards reconciliation with my family and this feels like it is perpetuating the problem. My dad is still waiting for an apology from my husband before he will speak to my husband again. My husband has made two invitations to take my parents out to dinner, and buy them lift tickets to go skiing if they would come to visit us since we moved out of state. But he refuses to apologize, and I keep going back and forth thinking he shouldn’t have to because he did what he did to protect our marriage and then thinking he should because it is so simple and it would help fix things with my dad. My mom has come for a short visit but things are still so awkward with my dad. I was closer to my dad as a child, but now I am closer to my mom.
        Any insight would be appreciated. I do have a godly Christian woman I have spoken to about this, and she would encourage me to respect my husband and be glad he is taking a stand for our marriage. I guess I am asking for help processing these feelings of wanting to take control instead of trusting my husbands leadership.


        1. Tryingtosubmit,

          It is great to meet you!

          This is a difficult situation. I know you want to have a close relationship with your parents AND your husband.

          What your dad has done, from your description, was EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY disrespectful to your husband. 🙁

          Your husband is trying to protect you and your son and marriage covenant. From what you have described, I can’t see what your husband did that he needs to apologize for.

          It seems to me that your dad believes he is still the authority in your life. But according to God’s Word, he is not. Your husband is. Your dad is encouraging you to disrespect and disobey God’s Word and to disrespect and dishonor your husband. You have a covenant with your husband, not your dad.

          Your husband is being the man God has called him to be – from what I can see. Your dad owes your husband the apology – but your dad is spiritually dead. So until God opens his eyes, he will not understand.

          PLEASE, thank your husband for his godly leadership. I vote to tell him you are sad and hurt about the situation, but that you will honor and cooperate with him and trust God to work things out for your ultimate good and your parents’ ultimate good. How do you know that God might not be leading your husband to do this? Maybe it will even bring your dad to Christ? I don’t know.

          Check out the posts at the top of my home page about disrespect, respect and biblical submission. And be sure to read “Submitting Under Protest” also!

          I’m here if you want to talk!

          Praying for wisdom for all of you – and for God to bring your dad to salvation.

          If you want me to email you a story from a wife who cooperated with her husband about setting similar boundaries on his family, and how things worked out, please let me know.
          Much love!

          1. Thank you April…I need to hear those things. Even before you wrote me back I did thank my husband for being a good leader…after I read the blog and realized how blessed I am. Thank you too for the prayers for wisdom and for my dad’s salvation…that is where I need to focus. Yes, I would definitely be interested in the similar story by email!

          2. April,
            I would like to hear about the story where the husband confronted his family and how it turned out, if you didn’t already post it.

            Also, I confronted my own father recently about respecting how my husband leads my family. He claimed to not know what I was talking about and again blamed my husband for not yet apologizing for taking space from them. My visit with them reminded me that my husband was right not to let them babysit and that I should be there if our son is there…my brother held our son by the ankles over the pool as “horseplay” and it traumatized him…my brother did apologize and didn’t realize it would scare him so badly because he doesn’t have kids. My son graciously told him it’s okay and we both explained that he was not really going to throw him in the water. My other brother proceeded to instruct my son that he should make sure the brother who held him over the pool felt okay, so he didn’t feel bad for making him cry. Good grief! The child is 5!

            Anyhow, I said my peace and suggested my father forgive my husband for his perceived wrongdoing, because God forgave him. My dad said not to shove God down his throat and it is wrong to talk about God with him. That was hard to hear but alright that’s his choice. Truly I am generally a softspoken non-assertive person so I can accept my dad was speaking from a worldly perspective and is outright rejecting God and His ways, not me per se.

            I’m glad that I stood up for my own family. It may not change anything with my dad, but it will keep our family stronger. It also let my dad know where I stand, and that I will not accept him speaking poorly about my husband. I did try stay humble & graceful, but I did speak confidently and with truth. I cried for a long time after. And had to explain to my son that his Grandpa does not love God, but we need to love him anyway and keep praying for him. This morning my son was singing praise songs and asked why his Grandpa doesn’t love God. I explained that we all have that choice to make. My son said he chooses to love God.

            Thank you for caring, and for having a venue to help people on this subject!

          3. TryingtoSubmit,

            Ok – I will need to email it to you if that is ok. It’s part of the new book I am working on. 🙂
            When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

            3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

            4“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’a 5and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’b ? 6So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”


            Parents do not have the right to try to break up their grown children’s marriages or to come between a husband and wife in God’s design. That is a hard thing for a lot of parents to accept.

            I have a feeling that you may need to follow I Peter 3:1-6 with your dad, too. Sometimes more words about spiritual things makes things worse with men. But you can show him honor and respect and not talk about God, praying for him, and asking God to help you SHOW him the love of Christ and praying for God to open his eyes.

            I will pray that with you!

            Yes, he is rejecting God, not you. That is true.

            I am also glad that you stood up for your marriage and husband. That is a very painful situation! I’m so proud of your son! I know your husband and marriage will benefit so much from your willingness to obey God even when it is hard.

            Much love to you!

          4. Marie,
            Thank you for your feedback and insight. I have been keeping up with other posts and it is helpful to know I am not the only one struggling with my family. Yes, I have resolved not to speak of God around my dad, out of respect to his request.
            I realized today that in order to “move forward” without letting this whole situation keep me down I have to accept and not deny that my father really does not respect my husband. And that is a legitimate reason to be bothered, but it honors God to put my husband first and stand up for him. Even if my dad denies it, it is true. It is hard to say that about my family, but unfortunately that is what the situation has been for 8 years since we were married. I just didn’t want to see it because I didn’t want to accept it. I even told my dad that I honored him by marrying someone he approved of. He immediately shot back, “Well, that was before I got to know him.” Whatever. My dad is not a Christian so he cannot see the good in my husband that others see. I am asking my father to speak well of my husband, especially around our son, just as I ask my husband to speak well of my dad.
            The other thing I realized I need to do is take the Bible more seriously, and not let doubt creep in like God’s instructions are simply a cop out to excuse my poor choices, which are not really poor choices but Satan trying to keep me feeling guilty for standing up to my dad…like in 1 Peter Chapter 4 I have a hard time accepting at face value the trials of persecution I will suffer for being a Christian and to not be surprised by it, because I have this imaginary idea that if you are really a good enough Christian that you can be at peace with people at all times…but in fact if you really are obedient to God there are some people who will strongly resist. It could be worse; I am not being beaten or killed for my faith and marrying the husband I did. And Jesus himself said that his truth would put fathers against sons and mothers against daughters…and for me fathers against son-in-laws. But still, I will show love to my dad because God loves me. My dad is in God’s hands, and God has to soften his heart, and my dad has to let his heart be softened. I am asking God to make me a model of His grace & love, and that somehow through this situation God would use it to change my dad’s heart towards him. I pray to be steadfast in this state of mind, because my thoughts tend to go back and forth at times and I found myself again today wanting to blame my husband for not doing something to fix it. We talked it through and it was okay, but man, I just want to have the freedom & peace in my mind God keeps offering me instead of letting my fleshly mind get all confused and want to be in control.
            Really, truly, I thank you for making this blog available and for listening. I have talked about it with a few people for wise counsel, but the people who post here have experienced more closely what I am going through.

          5. Peacefulwife,
            Just wanted to touch base…it was a big deal to make it through Christmas. We decided to stay home and not go to visit our extended family. My parents initially said they wouldn’t be in town when I offered to meet half way. Then when they decided to stay home I had a meltdown wondering if we should change our plans to see them. I realized it was guilt and not “leaving and cleaving” obligation pressure that was making me want to go. We are going to visit them in the middle of January instead. A short Skype call with my parents even brought up things I am glad we weren’t there in person for, for my husband and my children’s sake. They just crack jokes and have no consideration for my husband’s feelings. My husband and our kids and I had a quaint joyful Christmas with just us. My husbands parents are generally more embracing and sincere, with no strings attached.

            My husband still does not feel comfortable seeing my family, particularly my dad, at their house. I have resolved to go see them only when it’s okay with my husband and not force my way, because I have seen for myself it is not worth the stress and anxiety. My mother did come to visit us once this year but still not my dad. My mom may be out of town when we go to visit in January, in which case I’m not sure if we should go to the house or just meet in a public place. It would probably be just me and the kids. I don’t like going alone, but I want to respect my husband’s feelings and honor my parents at the same time.

            I do appreciate your ministry here to all these people who want to honor God with their marriages. Thank you for being an example to all of us.

          6. TryingtoSubmit,

            I am glad that you, your husband, and children had a peaceful, joyful Christmas. That is wonderful!

            I am glad that you are considerate of your husband’s feelings about your dad. Praying for wisdom for you and your husband and for healing for this rift in the family.

            Much love to you!

    2. hmmm family dynamics are very difficult. My husband didn’t protect me from his families comments and disrespect because his , nature is no conflict. I have since learned to stay away from them and use passive resistance. Avoid them, don’t speak with them,dont go for holidays. They know why He told them.. You cant change people and my husband cannot change their ungodly dysfunctional ways of relateing even if he did go for counseling. I woudnt put that expectation on him. That’s not fair. He is not responsible for making people respect me. He would however protect me from harm physically. But that disrespect of his family is THEIR emotional responsibility not my husbands. Neither he or I can make someone love and respect me. I just had to accept they don’t or cant and we stay away from them. So my husbands protecting me by not forcing me to go to holidays there. He stopped going too. He told me many times stay away from them and I wanted him to stick up for me. He said it would be no use, he did try, but they are not approving of me.So I honor my husband now and stay away. If I go and feel hurt by them its my fault for not obeying my husbands suggestion to stay away. He cannot fight the whole world . Many people have disrespected me through life. He gives me emotional support to make good decisions about who I spend time with and I listen to him now because he has my best interest in his heart. I would never insult him by suggesting he go for counseling. This issue is not his problem. He said you cannot change people its a waste of time and energy. He is correct and I value and appreciate his protection and concern for me. I just needed to learn to listen and do what he told me.

      1. Your situation is a lot like mine… my husband had always felt disrespect from his family… so he never confronted the situations. After 5 years of being married to him, having a baby boy, and things getting much worse after introducing children and parenting to the in-law problem, I finally took it into my own hands (extremely bad idea). Even at the end when my husband was really starting to see and feel the disrespect (maybe it was worse since our little child was also there), he finally really tried to stand up to them, and it just backfired horribly. He lost his family, and came to the conclusion that there was no way (at this point) to have a real relationship with people who don’t care about what you think/feel. Now 2 years later, we’re coming up on our 7 year anniversary and extremely happy, and pregnant with another boy – but still nothing from his family except weird, insincere facebook interaction – no actual relationship repairing or even communicating verbally – whether written or talking… nothing. Hope you’ve come to a point where you’re ok with things, and doing your best to live your life with your family God’s given you!

        1. Girlwithadragonflytattoo,

          Thank you for sharing!! I actually don’t agree that your husband standing up to his parents backfired. They chose to react in an unhealthy way when he asset healthy limits. That was their choice. But what he did was a good thing. Thank him for his godly leadership and for protecting you and your family! I think that there are times when it can be necessary to not have contact with people who refuse to repent for mistreating us. I pray god might work in your husband’s family’s hearts. But I thank God for your husband’s willingness to stand up to them and to say the disrespect was not ok. I am so proud of him! It may be that his family realizes what they have done and ask for forgiveness. But it sounds like it could be good not to have so much toxic influence in your marriage and family. I pray for reconciliation by God’s power and for a healthy family dynamic to be born.

  20. You and conroydennis has said that if I raised my voice at my husband he will not defend me from his mother. But what happens when his mother says hurt and disrespectful things about our kids and myself and my husband doesn’t defend them? And if he’s not defending me and our kids I am supposed to sit there while she raises her voice and says what she want because she knows her son will not say a word? My husband did nothing. And then acts like everything is normal with them but then he’s fighting with me.

    1. Pinky,

      I trust that as you draw close to God and ask Him to show you how to honor Him, He will give you wisdom in each situation.

      For me, I personally first apologized to my husband, my in laws and everyone in my extended family I had disrespected – which was everyone. Then, I took a few big steps back emotionally from everyone for a LONG TIME while I studied and repented and prayed and asked God to change me.

      Check out my post today for God ‘s commands to us as believers about how to respond when we are sinned against.

      In time, as I stepped down and allowed my husband to handle questions from his parents and allowed him to take over the primary communication, things improved dramatically.

      If she is screaming at you, you may need to calmly ask her to please stop. But,a great first step I have seen many wives take is to apologize for their own sin to their in laws. And then determine from that point on to treat their husbands and in laws with respect. This is a long process. There are years of built up bitterness and resentment. But you can get rid of hatred, bitterness, resentment and contempt in your own heart and seek to become the woman God desires you to be.

      In time, your husband will likely begin to stand up for you as he sees that you honor him as a leader and that you have faith in him and that you are not sinning against his family. By “time”, I am talking, probably many months or years.

      Praying for God’s wisdom and power for you!

      Much love,

    2. Pinky, I’m deeply, deeply sorry, as a man, that your husband allow someone to mistreat you. Unfortunately, like I’ve stated before, raising your voice at him doesn’t do any good, it will only keep your husband from seeing how he should really treat you[and that’s with love and respect..and never ever allow anyone to disrespect you]
      Pinky, if I were you, and until your husband can see that his mom is hurting you, then I’d try my best, to not being around her at all cost. You have to understand, if your husband isn’t protecting you, then you must protect yourself, as well as your children.
      Pray for your husband. Pray that God will open up his eyes, and show him how he’s hurt you.
      I’m praying for. God bless

      1. Pinky , I agree that protecting yourself is what you need to do. Although your husband knows you feel hurt he cant be the one to decide for you what and how much you will tolerate. I was in the same predicament years ago and finally had to decide to stop visiting in-laws entirely because they treated me badly. My husband grew up with that dysfunction so he couldn’t see it clearly plus he had copeing mechanisms hes been practicing since childhood such as laughing it off, ignoreing comments, pretending it wasn’t a big deal, diminishing the effect it actually had on him ect.. as a way to not be totally crushed and depressed being in that household as a child. Its not that he wouldn’t defend me, he couldn’t. Once I decided to stay away from them and work through my feelings of rejection and learn to see them as dysfunctional people who don’t know what their doing, my husband began to open up about this to me. His copeing strategies. Seeing me not tolerate it and staying away helped him . He was very angry with them foir a couple years but has been healing too. Now we don’t care what anyone says or does. We care what God says about us and anyone who doesn’t agree or treats us badly we don’t get hurt or mad at them or about it we just don’t go around them. Why be around people who verbally or emotionally beat you down. Its very very sad to not be able to have a relationship with his family. He said they will never change as they don’t care to hear about love and respect or God so he doesn’t talk to them unless he runs into them at a store or something. Pray for his family. Seek God for your healing and wholeness and don’t expect your husband to be able to change them. Speaking up to people like that often leads to conflict and they don’t change but get much worse as is what happened in our case. Let your husband decide best way to handle his family and you take care of yourself and stay out of it and away from them. Good Luck. Been through it so sorry if Im preaching or being a know it all.

  21. I would love to hear both of your thoughts on this one, as I’m getting mixed advice from trusted Christian counsel.

    My husband and I are separated and working towards reconciliation. He gave up on his faith and is slowly working his way back, mainly due to our separation.

    We have major issues with his family of origin. His ex girlfriend is very involved with his family, attending every function, and is his aunt and sister’s best friend. She has told me flat out she and my husband share a special bond that will never go away. His family adores her.

    His sister is very confrontational with me and has flipped out on me several times as well as once with my daughter. Name calling and nasty judgements seem to be her thing, and if my husband stands up to her, the tantrums become nuclear bombs. She’s stolen silk flowers I’ve left on their grandma’s (whom I was close to) grave 3 times, once ripping the heads off and taking the stems. Though we’ve found proof it was her she continues to lie to my husband about it. His brother’s wife is a good friend of mine, but if she and I have a spat, his brother calls my husband and my husband sides with them, causing major turmoil in our marriage.

    The females in the family, including the ex, huddle together talking quietly amongst themselves when I’m around and ignore me. There’s more, but I feel this is enough background info to give you an idea of what’s going on.

    I do not want to attend these get togethers any longer. The last one ended with me in tears. If this were any other group I would have walked away years ago. My husband has a very difficult time with conflict and confrontation and will not stand up for me. He says the next time there’s a get together we’ll say our hello’s and just keep to ourselves, sit at our own table, etc.

    I have biblical justification in getting a divorce because my husband leaves me on a regular basis and has walked away from The Lord. We have been married 3&1/2 years and separated 7 months this time. This is our third separation.

    I’ve been given the following advice:

    1st person: continue to go to these events to show that you and husband are a unit and you are not going anywhere.

    2nd person: do not continue going to these events until your husband has accepted Christ and has demonstrated the ability to stand up to his family.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Tara,

      It is great to meet you!

      What does your husband want you to do about the get togethers? He is the one with whom you have a holy covenant. He is the one God has given to you to be your spiritual authority.

      Your husband leaves you – and has affairs? Or he just leaves? I Corinthians 7 talks about not trying to make an unbeliever stay. Are you talking about filing for divorce yourself? Or he is filing?

      What is his relationship with Christ?

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      I’d like to invite you to check out some posts:

      Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected
      Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them
      What Is Respect in Marriage?
      Biblical Submission
      Spiritual Authority
      A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage
      My Husband Isn’t a Good Enough Leader
      How to Pray for Your Husband So That God Will Hear

      I believe that God may have some things He wants to speak into your heart and life here. You are most welcome here! I can’t wait to see what God has in store!

      My greatest concern is for
      1. Your walk with Christ
      2. You to become the godly wife/woman God desires you to be no matter what your husband does or does not do
      3. The restoration of your husband to Christ (for this to happen, I Peter 3:1-6 is your assignment from God)
      4. Reconciliation for your marriage
      5. The family issues come way, way down the list after these other things, in my view

  22. Hi, ok here’s the answers:

    My walk with Christ is very strong. I am actively reading, studying, and involved in a few different aspects of ministry. I desire to follow God’s will no matter what.

    My husband sits on the fence on a lot of issues, including our marriage and Christianity. He seems to be led by his feelings. There have not been any affairs, and quite honestly the only real issues I have with our marriage is his backing away and leaving, the extended family, and his walk with Christ. I know he loves me very much, and he’s been coming to Lifegroup and church with me on a regular basis, even though we’re still separated. I feel that I’d he has God in him these other issues would go away. Submission can be very difficult, but I do it.

    I’m going to see how he handles the next get together. His family of origin has put him in a position where he has to choose, and that is very sad. I would rather have peace, and have tried to create that, but it’s pretty obvious they don’t want me around. I don’t want to continue to place myself in these awkward and painful situations, and yet I want to support my husband, even after everything that’s happened. I’m just not sure whether or not to continue going to these events. It seems to me they want him back with the ex, though he’s not interested in the least, even if we weren’t together.

    We very much enjoy our own family and are slowly making friends as a couple within the church. These are very positive things that I pray God will continue to grow. I just am not sure how to handle being around his foo, as the last time I was told the “huddle” was discussing me as I was sitting right next to them being completely ignored, and that was without his sister present. When she’s there things are much harder.

    I know it’s important to respect his decisions, and maybe the answer is to continue attending and allowing him to see me in tears each time. I just don’t want to go through that.

    1. Tara,
      I am glad that you are seeking God above all else! There is no better place to be in the world!

      I’m also so glad that you are committed to honoring your husband’s leadership and respecting him even though things are difficult right now – I trust God to give you wisdom about how to do this through His power – it will certainly have to be Him giving you the strength – none of us can do this on our own!

      It is very sad that any family would try to make their child choose between them and their spouse. What they are doing just sounds so wrong – but – I’m thankful for your willingness to seek to honor God even in this difficult situation – and I do believe that God can bring great good from it in ways we can’t begin to fathom.

      I’m glad you want to support your husband. I think it is great to talk with him about what he thinks is the best way to handle this and then maybe thank him for his leadership and for doing what he believes is best for you and your family.

      As he continues to feel more and more respected and honored – I believe he will care a lot more about your feelings. It is possible that seeing you in tears each time may eventually help him make a tough decision.

      Of course things would be better if he has God in the right place in his heart. And as you continue to trust God, pray and walk in obedience in His power, I am sure that will make it easier for your husband to hear God’s voice. We will pray that God’s Spirit will work in him for His will and His glory.

      Much love to you! 🙂 Please let me know how things go!

      1. It’s me again. My husband and I were doing well until until his sister came back to visit. He is now living with her and hardly speaking to me. It’s been two months this time. Every time she visits he walks away from me and this time she’s planning on moving here.

        My husband and I had worked out a compromise concerning his family, and I went with him to the get together, but he spent about 10 minutes with me the entire night. His family moved away from the table where we joined them and I was left sitting there alone, with someone coming over to visit with me for a few minutes every so often.

        We had an argument about him not holding up his end of the compromise and that was the last I heard from him. He has not wanted to discuss any of the issues or attend marriage counseling. If I cry because I’m hurt by things his family says to me he is not supportive and says he doesn’t see why I take their opinions of me personally and doesn’t think anything they say to me is wrong.

        I’m at my wits end. I’m trying to follow God’s will in this but my desire to file for divorce is very high. I’m just not sure what to do anymore and am feeling defeated against his sister. She has told me on a number of occasions she is jealous of me and feels I took her brother away from her. I’ve tried with this woman but it doesn’t make a difference.


        1. Tara,

          What your sister in law is doing is so destructive to your marriage from what you are describing. UGH! Is SHE willing to go to Christian counseling with you?

          This pain in your marriage is the pain that happens when one spouse doesn’t obey God’s command to LEAVE our parents and families, forsake all others, and CLEAVE to our spouse. God gave these commands because when a spouse maintains stronger ties with his family or with someone other than the other spouse, it tears marriages apart. Unity is severed. Intimacy is sacrificed. The marriage is deeply hurt, as well as the other spouse.

          I would love for you to seek a godly mentoring wife or possibly a trusted Christian counselor who upholds Scripture about the sanctity of the marriage covenant. And, I suggest that you stay as close to Jesus as you can, and we will pray together for Him to work in your husband’s heart to open his eyes to God’s design for marriage and to bring restoration and reconciliation and healthy boundaries to the marriage.

          I don’t think he will draw near to you if you choose to respond to him in a sinful, disrespectful, confrontational, loud, emotional, argumentative, needy, demanding, angry way. If you approach him in those ways, you will most likely just repel him. I do think that as you seek to become the woman and wife God desires you to be, and as you give God room to work in your husband’s heart and as you follow Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6, Colossians 3:18, I Corinthians 13:4-8, Philippians 4:4-8, Philippians 4:12-13 and seek to love Jesus way above all else and submit fully to Him, that He will dramatically change you. And I believe He can bring healing to this marriage, as well.

          My prayer is for you to focus on finding all of your comfort, peace, joy, identity, security, trust, hope, faith, acceptance, power, purpose and fulfillment in Christ alone. I vote to drop expectations of your husband and lay them at the feet of Jesus and just seek Him with all your heart as you wait on Him. He is able to work in your husband’s heart. Please don’t do anything rash like file for divorce. I pray you might wait and give God time to work.

          I wish your husband might be willing to listen to some of David Platt’s sermons about marriage. There is a series called Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. And one called Marriage, Family, SEx and the Gospel that are REALLY good. You may want to listen to them yourself. They are at or on Youtube.

          Does he have any godly men in his life who might be able to speak to him?

          What is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

          How is your relationship with Christ?

          Sending you a huge hug!

  23. i have a bit of a different situation as i’m not married yet…

    My fiance family have a openly evident us vs them mentality in the family… Us being the siblings and parents vs the rest of the world including the siblings partners & I.

    Just recently he revealed to me that he has a family secret/agreement that he cant tell me… but he & his siblings have an obligation/responsibility to do certain things in the future relating to this, which may include having to work extra jobs to gather money for additional financial commitments with his family (meaning that he will be away from me and our future family, God willing) and also requiring to go overseas for an unconfirmed amount of time (1-3 months is highly likely) and an unconfirmed number of times (His father has done this 9 time – so its highly likely that this will be the case for him).

    My fiance has admitted that the partners of the other sibling know nothing about this obligations and that his sibling have secret bank accounts from their husbands and know nothing of this… their parents encourage this behavior as the mail for this goes to their parents house away from their partners eyes. The only reason he has come clean with this information in our relationship is because i made it clear that anything hidden in our relationship would be grounds for divorce on my part…

    I have been reading this post and tried to apply it to me… we are both Christians and will be very committed to each other… i don’t say love because although i love him with my whole heart, he doesn’t believe in love… i also don’t believe that he would protect me from his family, as in the past he hasn’t when his sister spoke very harshly to me (basically she was talking badly about another family and i was trying to make a point that you don’t know what the situation was in that family so you cant judge… she didn’t agree with me and nor did he so they both ended up turning on me and speaking quite harshly)

    I might add that i haven’t asked him to tell me what is the secret in the family… i’m purely asking for the truth relating to his obligations so that i know how this is going to affect our family in the future. I’ve made it very clear to him that i don’t want him leaving me to go away and he believe that i should “harden up”…

    on previous occasions i know he has lied to me, so that he can be with his family or to do other things with friends, but i haven’t made an issue of it to keep the peace and try to make him feel comfortable telling me the truth in the future.

    what do i do… i dont want to leave him… im totally confused

    1. I Still Have a Choice,

      It is great to meet you!

      What is your fiance’s relationship with Christ exactly?

      What is yours?

      This seems so strange to me.

      Are you receiving godly, purposeful, biblical premarital counseling? This needs to be discussed, in my view.

      What do you mean that he doesn’t believe in love?

      What is his parents’ marriage like?

      Is there any question in your mind about the legality of whatever activity is going on?

      Once married, marriage is a covenant that, according to God’s Word, is to be the highest priority of all human relationships. That is why a man is to leave his father and mother, forsaking all others, and cleave to his wife and the two will become one flesh. that is God’s design. Many of the most difficult issues in marriage happen when one spouse will not leave his parents or others or will not cleave to the spouse.

      I don’t believe it is right for a family to ask their children to put them above their spouses or to have secrets from their spouses. It seems like a recipe for turmoil to me.

  24. My wife and I visit my mother, who is well advanced in years and lives about 12 hours away, about once a year. She lives in her own house with one of my brothers. I have a sister who lives nearby who visits for extended weekends each week and helps Mom with things around the house. However my sister can be very critical of Mom and my brother for many things, including her spoiling my brother – she spoils all of us quite frankly, but by living in the same house he gets it without interruption! … both of my sisters feel Mom spoils us sons more than the daughters – which may well be true. In any case, my sister visits and helps Mom, but often (accompanied by alcohol) can get very confrontative and verbally aggressive to Mom and my brother.

    These episodes are exceptions – but with increasing frequency as the years have gone by. Generally my family does care about one another deeply and genuinely, but we do have our differences.

    A few years back when my wife and I were visiting there was some confrontation between Mom and my sister and my wife stepped in to defend Mom. This escalated quickly and I got involved defending my wife. The evening ended and, as is often the case with this sort of thing, it was just left to evaporate in the days that followed. Mom was somewhat pleased that I had seen this AND gotten riled up – she had believed that I did not acknowledge her issues w/ my sister’s aggressive flair ups – probably because I tend to take a non-committal “safe” position with all extended family conflicts.

    However, my wife fears my family now views her as a “pot stirrer” and is sad about that – and is inclined to guard her words and actions in future visits. I have assured her that my family loves her and welcomes her – BUT I have begun to wonder if there are boundaries where a spouse should not cross, regardless of justification, such as intervening between a mother and daughter. My wife ONLY meant to defend Mom’s wishes and Mom seemed to appreciate that, but I am thinking spouses maybe cannot act as if they were a blood born daughter (or son) …
    It was a search on “blood thicker than water” and then “wife stood up to my sister” that turned up this discussion thread.

    So (please excuse my long-windedness) you needed to hear some background on the family, especially Mom-daughter dynamic, as context before the confrontation between my wife and sister would make any sense.

    (a) Should my wife stand down in future confrontations between Mom and my sister?

    (b) Should I, instead, intervene on Mom’s behalf?

    (c) Can a spouse ever be FULLY accepted by all of my siblings as an equal “sister” in the family or are there always areas that are off the table? (Parent-child confrontations, anything financial, end-of-life decisions, etc.)

    There are other areas I wonder about in this regard, such as whether they really deeply know my wife and how kind she is and that when she is “strong” is it usually to protect the underdog. And, as with any family, there are corporate beliefs about historical events regarding my wife and kids that are just simply in error. But answers to those three questions on this particular issue would be a great start.

    Thank you in advance!
    — “Jim”

    1. Jim,

      It is wonderful to meet you!

      My personal beliefs are that it is best for the spouse who grew up with the extended family to handle their own family issues whenever possible. But if a wife cannot manage her family, it is possible that her husband may need to step in.

      Ultimately, the only wisdom I have to offer is from God’s Word. I Corinthians 11:3 says that God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man (a husband) and the man (husband) is the head of woman (his wife).

      So, with you being the God-given leader and authority in the marriage, these will be your decisions to make. And God calls wives to honor and respect their husbands and cooperate with their leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33) as He calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. For more on the basis of Spiritual Authority in marriage, please check out this post. And A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage.

      My experience has been that it is difficult for in-laws to accept correction from an in-law.

      But – I believe that you will ultimately have to do what you believe is best for your wife and marriage. It sounds to me like you know what you probably need to do already.

      May God give you much wisdom to lead your wife and love her in a way that will greatly honor God and strengthen your marriage. 🙂

      1. Hey April!

        This is Anna with a “grandmother issue”. I blew it again today. I feel so miserable. I regret moving away from home, I seem to make mistakes so often 🙁

        I hate the fact that the grandmother always meddles into things, she recently threw away my tea (accidentally, I think), but the fact that she never asks is driving me crazy. And today she spoiled our filter, so it had to be replaced, and this was the last straw, I couldn’t help it and snapped at her not to touch our things. Surely, she is offended now and says nasty things, and husband is on her side because I hurt his dear grandmother.

        Yes, I know, I shouldn’t have done it, but at the moment I am under quite big pressure: husband is on furlough for 3 months already, and I am trying to make our ends meet in his unstable economically country. He doesn’t want to look for another job, he just waits. I am tired of living with strangers who argue every day, and I am working from home, so it’s not possible for me to get away. And guilt is constantly eating at me, guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt all around, it’s terrible. Guilt that I don’t seem to cope so well in a foreign country; guilt that I can’t be perfect, guilt that I hurt people and not that good at coping under pressure… And even if I come back home, guilt would eat me all up that I left my husband behind. That I probably made an unwise decision that I had moved away, though my parents warned me, but I wouldn’t listen.

        Oh how I wish this all to end and my homesickness to go away 🙁

        Thank you.

        1. Anna,
          I hope you will check out today’s post! I am praying for you!!! This is a very difficult situation. How is your time with God this week?

          Turn to Him, repent, and seek Him with all your heart! You have to have His power, that is for sure! Guilt and shame do you no good. But turning from sin to God does much good! Let’s talk some more after you read that post and spend a bit of time in God’s Word today!!! Praying for you!

          1. April,

            Thank you for your prayers! My husband actually talked to some other people and sided with me eventually as it seems they clarified to him how difficult it may be to live with in-laws.

            Besides, recently I have been rather stressed as I am starting my own small business, so many things had to be done, as a result, I had less time for God and started losing my spiritual form.

            I apologised to grandmother today, and she started complaining how lonely she felt, etc., etc., etc., so yes, I do feel sorry for her, but her self-pitying doesn’t do her any good. She feels miserable, and I also can pick up such mood at times. We pray for her because whenever we try to explain that self-pity won’t help, that she needs to hand it over to Jesus, she wouldn’t listen.

            But yes, God is sovereign, so hopefully, everything will work out for everybody’s good.

            God bless, I wish you a speedy recovery!

          2. Anna,

            I’m so glad to hear that your husband got an outside perspective. There are important reasons why God commands husbands to leave their parents (or adoptive parents).

            I’m proud of you for apologizing to her. Have you read my posts “Playing the Martyr?” “Guilt Tripping” “The Snare of People Pleasing”Boundaries and Control“? Might be interesting to check out!

            Thanks for the well-wishes!

            Praying for you to have the time you need alone with God! And for your husband’s grandmother to find the peace and joy of Christ!

          3. April,

            Yes, I have read these posts, but I think it would be good to go through them once again 🙂

            Thanks a lot for support! Let you and your family be blessed abundantly!

        2. Can you sincerely apologize to the grandma and explain you feel homesick and stressed and feel badly for yelling at her? You might be surprised that she will understand. shes an old woman and they’ve been through a lot in their lifetime. She may forgive you if you soften yourself to her.Sorry that your struggling. I blew up at my husbands family too. We all live next door to eachother and it got so bad with the meddling and gossip that I told them off, more than once. Boy do I wish I hadn’t done that. I have such guilt too about it. But they r not very nice to me or my husband so we leave it alone now and don’t speak to eachother. Its more peaceful now even though I feel bad about the way I handled it. I wish I just stayed away from them from the start and not let my emotions become involved with them. They are my husbands family and I wish I had kept my mouth shut and tended my own business and ignored them. Stay near to the Lord so you can be accountable for your own attitude and behavior before God and submit to your husband so you don’t create a mess. Praying for you today. Marie

          1. Marie,

            I am always the first to apologize, and she often tells me to go back to my country, so my confessions won’t work with her. You see, she raised her grandson and views me as a threat. She overlooks her grandson’s faults, but whenever I make one mistake, she blows it out of proportion. It’s hard for me to accept it, it seems, that I will always be a stranger here, and my husband doesn’t want to rent out as he would feel guilty he “left” his grandmother, although I actually know much better on what medication she’s on, I speak with her more often than he does, it’s all complicated 🙁 But thanks for prayers and advice, greatly appreciated!

          2. I see, she sees you as a threat. My in-laws were the same way. I married the youngest of their 4 kids, he didn’t leave the nest till he met me and he was 27 years old. Way too old to be living with his parents. They weren’t giving him up that easy. I just wish I understood it better back then so I didn’t take all their rude comments personally. Hind sight is always 20/20. Just literally pray before you open your mouth and pray how God wants you to act. I see now I was terribly lonely living here and justwanted their love and acceptance. I don’t need that from them now,I let Gods love get me through my days..Id give anything to undo the things Ive said and done to them in spite. I let their poor insecure jealous behavior towards me affect my behavior. Im not a mean person so my actions are regrettable now to me. I wish I had known how to emotionally detach myself from them and had just treated them as if they were unwell. Jesus said forgive them father for they know not what they do. Its true. They are caught up in their own painful insecurities and fears that they cant see how badly they behave. I pray God opens grandmas eyes to her behavior and she is able to come to terms with her fears and fierce attachment to her grandson. I pray that God wraps his love and mercy around your heart and mind and fills you with his peace and wisdom. Let the Lord be a bridle to your tongue, soften your heart, seek to understand the fears and insecurities of others and be a blessing to those who curse you. Never taking personally the careless words of hurting souls. Filling your own soul with his grace and love and peace. May he put in your life a simple joy that you look forward to each day. God Bless. Marie

  25. Dear Peaceful Wife…..
    I can appreciate the advice that you offered in the article above. I do agree with a lot that you have to say. There are also things mentioned that I don’t necessarily agree with. A relationship is a two way street…A LOT of give and take. I agree….a man should be respected as Head of the Household……that is what he is suppose to be…..a HOUSE BAND…..meaning next to God, he is the band holding the house together. Let’s not forget that a wife is to be loved. The Bible mentions as one of the things the earth cannot hold up under is an unloved woman. For the wife to sit back, keep silent, and let her husband continually let her take a beating from his family is not showing his love for his wife….and believe me, not only will she see it, but she will also feel it. The more he avoids his call from God to be a husband and lets his wife be attacked, honestly, the more drama will arise. He really is better off nipping it on the bud ahead of time if he wants to truly have a loving marriage. Believe me, he will gain all the repect in the world from his wife if he stands for her.

    1. T Ryg,
      Because I do not write for men, I don’t talk about what husbands should do – but absolutely! Husbands have even more responsibility and accountability in the marriage and before God than wives do. Thanks!

  26. I’ve been married to my husband for 6 years and have in total been together for 8 years with a 7 year old son.. When we first got together he was 17 and I was 18. Of course being so young his mother was very intrusive and controlling. His parents did not approve of me mainly because I was not the same race and was not brought up with the same culture (Mexican). However I am a mix my self, being a 1/2 filipina 1/2 white American hybrid 😉 . So to me I never saw a huge issue with mixing cultures because I feel my parents did a great job with it.
    With that being said his family were against our choice to get married and were quite vocal about it. Which was a storm we weathered. They even have since tried to encourage him to get a mistress. And through out our lives they have not ceased to degrate me.. Let me say I have always remained respectful and can honestly say I have never said a bad or disrespectful thing to them. Despite what they have said about me even in my presence.
    3 1/2 years ago I got saved and my husband shortly after. I will admit prior to being saved I was a very controlling woman. Having had a very controlling mom it came naturally for me. Shortly after God began to reveal these things to me and work in me. A year ago I finally gave into God’s will and relingquished all remaining control.. that I was trying to hold on to. I did this by going to my husband and telling him that I would now trust him to take the full leadership role in our family and quit fighting for “my way”. He was surprised to say the least. But since then I have become a quiter, gentler, less confrontational wife. And try to respect his all decisions.

    I have changed so much and strive to be the wife God wants me to be. I left my job (which I did enjoy and was paid more then my husband at the time) after feeling God pull me to be a stay at home mom and home school our son (with my huabands blessing).
    Ive have overcome so many sexist cultural issues I would resist because I felt they were demeaning. Just to better serve my husband I do these things out of love for him.
    However his family have never stopped the constant criticizing of me. They talk about everything and anything from how I keep my home. How I feed my child and husband. What I feed them. They used to criticize my weight until I finally lost the 70 lbs i put on during/after I had my son. And even ask our son who cooks better ? Who he would rather live with? Among other things. And then go and use my own child against me. I think back to my own up bringing among two different cultures and never did one side of the family ever ask me which way was better or ever try to make me question my mom and how she cared for us or fed us.
    I have come to a point were I am done. I have asked my husband why he can’t come to my side and defend me? If he actually agrees with them? I have struggled so much with this issue and always told my husband I never wanted to get between him and his family.
    I just can’t take it any more. I feel that his parents not only disrespect me but him also when they say things about me especially to his face and he chooses not to defend me.
    I also have recently watched a younger brother of his go through a similar situation with his mistress (they actually liked his wife because they had picked her as a result of an arranged marriage) but he chose to stand up to them. And now they no longer say things in their presence or to their face. Honestly it caught me by surprise. And makes me wonder why does my husband not feel the need to do the same? I told him I have dealt with it for 8 years. How muchlonger will I have to wait till I am worthy of his defense? I also feel stressed because it has began to effect his sexiness/attractiveness to me. I have a hard time veiwing him as “my Man” and my desire is just not as fired up cause I feel he must not veiw me as his “Woman/wife” if he cant defend me. I do want to add when it comes to my friends and family I defend him to the fullest and they are very careful what they say about him.
    I dont know what to say or do about this issue anymore. And I have told him that neither my son or I are going to his parents until he talks to them. At least when it comes to boundaries with our son. Its never been my desire to keep my son from his grandparents especially since my parents live over seas. I only want them to not use him as a tool to hurt me.

    Feeling sad and hopless

    1. Grace,
      It is such a pleasure to meet you! I am so excited about what God has done in your life and marriage!

      What is your husband’s relationship like with his parents? Does he stand up for himself to them?

      I understand your unwillingness to go to his family’s house. It grieves my heart to hear how painful things are for you there.

      Much love!

  27. I just wanted to share my experience with you and your readers since reading your blog last. I was the one whose FIL spanked our two year old and then lied to my husband about it. I followed my husband’s lead and after a short break we allowed them to spend time alone with our kids again. My MIL lied to me about what she fed the baby once again as I pulled the food out of his mouth when we returned. I thought he might have picked up something from the floor.

    As we were driving home my husband told me that they wouldn’t be watching the kids anymore since they couldn’t be honest with us. We’re now going to be hiring a sitter for date night and they can see the kids when we are there.

    I share this just to say that sometimes our husbands need time to come to a conclusion on their own, even if it SEEMS glaringly obvious to us. Sometimes it’s hard to see your parents as disrespectful to your role as parent, because, well, they’re your parents.

    1. KaylaL,

      Yes!! Husbands do some times need a bit of time to come to make such a big decision that will cause family division.

      I am so glad you updated us! I praise God you supported your husband and that he saw this step was necessary. I am sure it would be a very painful step for a man to take to say that his parents aren’t trustworthy with his children.

      Thank you so much!

    1. Angela,

      I am not able to call or email all of the hundreds of wives who want to talk with me each day – but I do my best to respond to everyone here. If you have questions or things you would like to talk about, I am available here, my sweet girl. 🙂

  28. Just ran across this site read some of what you wrote. I hate to say I disagree with you. I have treated my husband as a king the 5 years we have been married . When his adult daughter and her husband come to my husbands home they are very rude and have done a lot of things to try and break us up. I have put up with this like I said for 5 years no more. I have anger now and have lost some respect for my husband he should have told them if you don’t like her that’s fine but you need to respect her. I’m not willing to kiss there behind anymore 5 years is long enough……

    1. Nora,

      Thanks for the comment! It’s great to meet you. 🙂

      I completely agree with you that a husband should ask his family to respect his wife. But we cannot control our husbands. We can absolutely ask them to say something. How have you approached your husband on this issue and what did he say?

      1. I told him some of the issues I am having he said he doesn’t want to here it and if I don’t shut the F**k up he is going back to calif. When he talks about his kids I say nothing I sit there after 5 years I have learned how to disengage . I love my husband and treat him like a king I also wait on him hand and foot. But I will not put up wife his kids being mean to me anymore im done and if my marriage ends because of it so bid. im not into kissing his or there butts anymore. I have tried to hard for the last 5 years not doing it.

        1. Nora,

          Goodness, what a mess!

          What do the kids say to you?

          What do you say to his children when they are rude?

          Does he have a relationship with Christ?
          What is your relationship with Christ?

          1. my husband and I were getting ready to go our separate way’s. We are still together but my heart is telling me for how long. 5 year’s I have had to put up with crap from his daughter and son n law not to mention his other daughter. My husband doesn’t want to here it he would rather sweep it under the rug like it hasn’t happened. He say’s I just need to let it go, excuse me but it’s really hard to do that when you have been letting it go for 5 year’s and they want to continue down the same path when they come here. I put up with it for that long because of my love for my husband also the fact that he does love his kid’s, this isn’t a problem for me. The problem I have is that just how long does he expect me to keep taking their crap. If he really loved me would he have put a stop to it. I have never asked him to not see his kid’s I just don’t want to deal with the crap they dish out at me when they come here.
            I disengaged from his adult kid’s I just couldn’t take anymore, but disengaging is putting a damper on my marriage I feel it and see it. Shame on my husband for expecting me to keep taking their abuse. I also feel anger. I know these are his kid’s and he love’s them very much but for him to want them to come here and visit knowing what goes on make’s me angry. He told me he think’s I’m the one that has caused this. In my head I thought to myself your full of it. The only thing I’m guilty of was kissing their ass to make my husband’s life more pleasant. I feel anger towards his kid’s for what I fill is causing a rift between us and him for letting it happen. I need to know what else it is I need to do. I’m at a loss here
            I will explain some of the thing’s they have said to me while here on there visit’s.

            1] I was making dinner and cutting up tomatoes she walked in and said did you wash
            that first. I said something to my husband about it he said nothing wrong with
            2] I had to go to the store her husband stood up and said why don’t you take so and
            so with you {husbands daughter}.We got to the stop sign and there was a place for rent she looks at me and says why don’t you rent that. I said nothing. When we got back to the house she said to me when is your birthday I told her and she said I will never recall that. (her mom and dads wedding anniversary} I didn’t say a word.

            3} I smoke so I go outside they end up coming out and start a conversation , its pleasant then they start wanting to know whose name is on the houses and on the bank accounts how much does he have in the bank, does he still have the cd’s who gets how much money when he passes. I told them both that this is something that they need to talk to my husband about. I did sign a waver on his life insurance that it would go to his kids.

            4] I had a mustang when I met my husband and was working. I ended up moving to another state with him where his home was. I didn’t have a job I was helping my husband with his company. I was told by his daughter and her husband I should get a job making my own money and they fill I am reaping the rewards of the mothers death. I also told my husband this and he said something to them and they denied it.
            I know this all my seem silly they are just little things, but a lot of little things just keep adding up.
            Another time they came here and my husband had to go back where his company is, that left me here with them. My husbands wife died in an auto accident , his kids blame my husband and I did say to them I feel sorry for my husband that he has so much guilt they both told me good and he should tell the day he dies.
            I came into the house they followed , the husband told me I should leave they don’t like how my husband treats me and for me to take half of what he owns. Funny coming from him because he wanted me to do a prenump I didn’t have a problem with it but husband said no when to people love each other, there is no need.
            the last visit they were here they got here at 130 am I got up with my husband to greet them, the first thing that came out of the son in laws mouth was what kind of car do you have now. I said the same one I had last time. The mustang I had I took it back to ford and handed them the keys. I got tired of hearing his kids complain how my husband was making my car payments. So my husband went out and got me a used car. Funny they pulled in with a new boat and truck. He don’t work and my husband pays all there utility bills because he keeps a trailer on there property as an office trailer Where do they get there money I have a pretty good guess.

          2. Nora,
            I want to take my time and respond thoughtfully… Please remind me if you don’t hear from me by Tues. I am not going to have a lot of computer time until then. I don’t want to rush or be hasty with this important issue! 🙂

          3. Nora,

            I believe that this marriage is quite fixable – particularly if you are willing to turn to Christ and allow Him to empower and heal you.

            I can definitely understand that his kids’ behavior would be extremely off-putting. It sounds like they have been rude and disrespectful.

            1. That particular comment doesn’t sound vile or evil. I can see where if you feel criticized all the time, the criticism could wear you down, though.

            2. That sounds very immature and childish. I have to assume that these are grown adults – since they are married.

            I don’t know how long ago their mom died. Many children, even adult children, have a very hard time seeing their parent marry someone else. That doesn’t justify mistreating their new step-mom. But, it sounds like they are not handling their mom’s death very well. And, I don’t know that they would have handled their dad remarrying anyone well. It may have very little to do with you and a lot more to do with their own character – the way they are acting.

            It sounds to me like everyone in this family is a wretched sinner. Thankfully – Christ can bring us the grace, mercy and forgiveness we all need and He is able to give us new hearts and new minds and to make us be like Himself if we will turn to Him. We all need Him so very desperately.

            3. That was certainly not appropriate. I’m glad you said they need to talk to your husband about that and didn’t try to have a conversation about those topics.

            4. Again, not appropriate.

            That breaks my heart that your husband feels so guilty about his first wife’s death and that the kids heap more blame on him. 🙁

            How often do you see his kids?

            What do you believe you need to be happy?

            Do you expect them to change?

            What do you do/say to your husband when his kids are hateful?

            Are you willing to consider some alternative responses?

            This marriage does not have to be torn apart. I pray that you will not allow his kids to tear you apart from your husband – that is their goal. But their goal is evil and destructive. You have a covenant with this man that is before God. They don’t have a covenant with him.

            I wish the kids treated you well. If they don’t have Christ in their hearts, they don’t have that ability.

            But God can transform you dramatically and can heal you!

            We can talk about how if you are interested.

            Much love!

  29. Unfortunately, my husband allows his family to disrespect me and my children. It’s been twenty years and I’ve had enough. I do not believe God intended me to live in such unhappiness. He literally runs and hides if there is any type of problem, leaving me to fend for myself. I can not take my mother in law mistreating my children or I.

    1. howmuch,

      I’m so sorry for your pain!

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      How is your marriage?

      If your husband doesn’t stand up for himself to his mother, he will not stand up for you. He is not able to or feels that he cannot.

      However, if you inspire him by deferring to him, honoring and respecting him, allowing him to lead – it may be that in time he may feel strong enough to stand up to her. That would take some time.

      What do you do when your mother in law mistreats you and your children?

      What do you say to your husband?

      What is his response?

      Much love to you!

  30. April,

    I am at my wits end, the grandmother is getting worse. Recently, my husband had to go to Russia for one week, and she was hysterical that he couldn’t leave her alone. Of course, he still went, but he and I heard so many bad words and curses. Some days ago, my husband was given potatoes because he had helped our friends, and today she has just given it away to my husband’s sister without asking. I told her that next time she should ask (I don’t mind giving it away, I do mind that she did it without asking us first), and she started screaming that she has the right to do what she pleases here and again said so many bad things to my face, called me stingy even, though that is so not true, we often help my husband’s sister though we keep it quiet. I apologized again and said that we shouldn’t quarell because of trifle things, but I felt hurt again. Here is this grumpy, ungrateful woman who has the right to grate on my nerves because I am young (that’s what she said). She doesn’t even think that I will need to bear and give birth to healthy children. Again, she tells me to get back to my home country. Well, I am on the verge of doing it. I pray, read my Bible and rejoice in the Lord, but i’ve been under immense pressure for the past couple of weeks due to bureacrats here, and even “at home” (here) there is no peace. My husband said it would soon finish, but how and when? We are looking for a bigger place to stay now, but again we have to take his grandmother along. Well, I could work from my real home in my home country, but then I would have to be apart from my husband, not a great option, but staying with his grandmother 24/7 is hell on earth for me 🙁

    1. Anna,

      I am so sorry! i can’t imagine how difficult that would be. I pray for you not to allow her to destroy your marriage and for wisdom for you and your husband to handle this in a way that most honors God and blesses your marriage and his grandmother.

      Sending you a huge hug!

      1. Thanks so much, April! I just don’t know what to do as it’s getting worse 🙁 At least, my husband and his sister can get away from it all whereas I cannot. I am self-employed now and working is from home. My grandmothers never behaved like that I never realized grandmothers could be like that 🙁

      2. Praise the Lord! Actually, my husband stood up to me yesterday and told his grandmother that if she insults me, she insults him. Well, she is furious now, but I guess even if she doesn’t respect our boundaries as a family, we still need to enforce them.

        1. Anna,

          I am so proud of your husband! That had to be so difficult, and maybe even scary, for him. I hope you will thank him – not in a gloating way – but then support him wholeheartedly as the leader in your marriage and honor and respect him as much as possible. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

          1. I thanked him, I am glad, but sad at the same time as I don’t like when relationships with people do not seem to work out… But then again, I cannot please everybody…

          2. Anna,

            I understand that! But maybe God will use this to expose sin in his grandma’s life to her so that she can repent and maybe the relationship can actually heal? That is my prayer!

          3. I don’t know… She has never ever apologized, and her outbursts are getting worse, and she tells us that Christians never behave like we do (manipulation). Even when I said I am sorry after the incident, my husband returned home, and she started saying bad things about me, then he told me he has had enough and told her to respect our family. I am shocked that the notion that we are a family drives her crazy. I think that her psyche got really damaged when she lost her only daughter, and now she probably feels she is losing her grandson or something. We keep praying to God to live at peace finally.

          4. Anna,

            She needs the power of God to bring her healing from this spiritual prison she has placed herself in. You can’t open her eyes. You can love her with the love of Christ. And we will pray together that God might touch her heart.

          5. It has been nearly a week, and grandmother won’t talk to us. She started taking the trash out and going to the store by herself, but complaining over the phone to others every day that we wouldn’t help her, though she told us that she didn’t need our help. If she asked, I would do something for her. I keep praying hard, but still feel guilt at times. Do we go on until something “breaks” in her? Before, it was always me who reconciled first, but eventually it didn’t get us nowhere only her taking my help and me for granted.

          6. Anna,
            Check out today’s post, I think it may be helpful. I would suggest allowing your husband to take the lead and make the decisions about how to best handle his grandmother. Praying for all of you!

  31. Thank you for this! Your comments are spot on. As a husband, I can tell you this is what I long for from my wife.
    On a similar note, the issue I have is my wife’s sister. She us the most disrespectful woman I have ever known. She screams at her husband, puts him down in front of others, and also encourages my wife to do dismiss me. My wife thinks it has no influence on her, but I strongly believe her sister is harming our marriage immensely. My sister in law refuses to let my nephews spend time with me, speaks poorly of me, and drives a wedge between me and my wife. When my sister in law speaks badly about me, my wife refuses to defend me (I think my wife is scared of her sister – My wife is a real people pleaser). I hate the power my SIL has over my wife.
    My Mother in law is less than helpful as well. She is quite disrespectful herself. I wish my wife had an influence to encourage her to honor and obey rather than ignore and contradict.
    I also wish my wife would show loyalty to me rather than her sister.
    Any wisdom for me in this regard?

    1. Dan,

      How is your relationship with your wife? Does she trust you and listen to you generally?

      I have a post on people pleasing. I used to do that, too! You can search “people pleasing” on my home page. I wonder if she would consider reading it?

      If she generally listens to you, this may be something you can gently bring up, about the ungodly example and disrespect of her sister and how attitudes are contagious.

      Or, you can pray for God to open her eyes. Ultimately, that is what it will take.

      Praying for wisdom for you!

  32. hello
    i have a similar situation that i can’t no longer handle and i need advice. well iam 18 and live with my boyfriend and his family. i really get along with everybody in his family except for his brother because he’s always in our relationship and i dont seem to have any privacy. My boyfriend’s brother is always telling my boyfriend negative things about me such as to let me go and etc. Not only that but it seems like he is always influencing my boyfriend to drink. he doesnt do anything in the house but just watch tv, work, eat, sleep and drink beer every saturday. My boyfriend gets this habit that if i dont cook for his brother he cooks for him but my boyfriend cant even cook for me. Every time i want to go out with my boyfriend he is always going with us. And well i cant even complain about brother because he gets mad or always defense him. i welcome any advice because i really need it

    1. Vanessa I have been reading your comment several times, wondering if this brother is jealous. Where they very close?
      Complaining obviously does not help.
      You can say once how you feel about what his brother says that it makes you sad and you miss being just the two of you but than leave it and let your boyfriend think about it.
      You cannot make your boyfriend choose or force a decision. This will be controling to him.
      Pray about it and put it in Gods hands.
      If you honor your boyfriend he may start seeing what is happening. If nothing changes than you could try to visit friends on some saturdays leaving them some guystime and have girlstime yourselve, if his brother wants to follow on every date you have and your boyfriend does nothing about that maybe you can ask if you can invite a friend to also come along.
      Also in a group you can be together and the brother would be part of it for it seems his brother is dependent on your boyfriend.If your boyfriend wants to cook simply let it be and he has practice and you eat guysmeal. Otherwise just cook and maybe they appreciate having a decent meal.
      I wonder if when you allow the brothers to have brothers time this brother will stop precieving you as a threat.
      When I was dating and because of we both had large families we sometimes could not be alone we would write notes to each other. But that only works if family does not interfere.
      If you both have mobiles you can text and have private conversation while in a group. You could start kind a joking like when your out and just text, hey handsome shall we dance, just make it positive and light.
      It also depends on your boyfriend. Does he seek private time?
      How bad is the drinking, is it just a couple if beers or a lot?
      Hope this helps a bit

    2. Vanessa,

      It’s great to meet you!

      It seems to me that this is not a healthy situation for you emotionally or spiritually. Is there somewhere else you could live?

      What is your relationship with Christ my precious girl?

      Much love!

  33. My husbands mum and dad will text him quite regularly. He also has sisters who text him a lot. We have been married for almost 6 months now and nothing has changed. I have been graceful and tried not to say anything but it is getting really hard. We will be on a date, or spending some quality time in together and they will text and he will always respond. We did put in place a rule of no phones on us for dates and that lasted for a couple of weeks before he went back to having his on him and will be in constant contact with his parents. I feel like we cannot make a decision without him getting his parents approval. I’m not sure how to handle this and I’m not sure if my frustrations at this are wrong.

    1. Learningwife, I have been thinking about how to handle this, came up with a song I loved about marriage it goes like this.

      Well a man will leave his mother
      And a woman leave her home
      They will travel on to where the two will be as one
      As it was in the beginning it is now untill the end
      Woman draws her live from man and gives it back again
      And ther is love ooh there is love.
      Well then what’s to be the reason
      For becoming man and wife
      Is it love that brings you here
      Or love that brings you live
      Well if loving is the answers then who’s the loving fore
      For where ever two or more of you are gathered in His name there is love oh there is love.

      I asume your husband knows about the phone as you tried not to have them on you on dates,
      The song made me think how a man need to leave his mother and a woman leave her home says it accurately.
      And also how marriage is en image of the church and Krist.
      Maybe you can find the lyrics and song somewhere and print them out on and hang it somewhere to remind you both that starting together is leaving parents authority.

      To tell him not to take his phone or not to text so often can come across as controling. You could say once how you feel abou it and leave it at that. The decision is his.
      If he continues try not to focus on that. Simply ignore it.
      I do not know if the folowing would be oke.
      Maybe other wifes can say what they think?
      I would make a little joke like.
      Oh oh somebody’s calling. This would work in my marriage to remind him we made a deal and he is not honoring it but you would have to find that out. I then would leave it at that and if he still answers the phone I would decide it is important for him and let it be,

      1. Learningwife,
        You may want to search my home page for “flirting” – I have a post or two about this topic that may be helpful.

        Praying for wisdom for you!

        Does your husband say what he wants/needs in the marriage? Did he do the same thing in past relationships?
        Does he have a relationship with Christ?

        How is your relationship with Christ going?

        You may want to check out some of the posts at the top of my home page – they may be helpful as well.

        Much love!

    2. Learningwife,

      It is ok – and important – for you to share your needs and desires and concerns. Respectfully. And usually, just once.

      What do you do if he texts a lot while you are on a date?

      I would encourage you to affirm his ability to make wise choices and your support of his leadership.

      You may want to search these terms on my home page:

      – lead
      – leader
      – Superman

      Much love!

  34. I have a serious problem my husband when we got married was not that close to his family because his mother was very abusive to him and rejected him but as time went on he has become closer to them.To where he wants us to live with them. When we go there she feels that we need to cater to her every need. So my husband does everything for his mother to the point that when we get home he is sick from exhaustion. He is a very ill man and loved The Lord and I don’t know if he loves and respects me anymore. I am tired of seeing him being abused still and then she gets mad if I don’t do as he does and we end up arguing. Lately his mother has been calling more frequently and he calling her. And now I can see that he is just like his mother. He had changed so much since he has been ill chronically ill. I feel like I am living with his mother. He is so angry and just complete controlled by his mother they he tells me constantly he wants a divorce. He tries to control and manipulate me in visiting them every weekend I get so stressed out knowing that we have to be for a few days and I don’t want to and if I tell him I font want to go then he tells me he wand a divorce. I love my husband and I have shown love to his mother and his family and they see it as a weekness to control me.?i am a very strong Christisn and my husband is saved too. We’ve been married for over 12 years. I think the real problem is they he is afraid that his sickness he had us going to shorten his life and he wants to be with his family. I don’t know what to do? His family disrespects me and him and he allows it . His mom and his family live about 3 hours away from us which I am glad but he wants to live either closer to them or with them. Recently his step father died and it’s been to where he wants to spend his time with his mother and brother more now than ever before. I even went as far as giving her my car to see if that would help for her to treat me right but it didn’t . My husband said I should have never done it because she had to put lots of money in to fix it. My intentions were to bless her. I’ve told her I love her but she had never responded back. She tolerates me because she wants my husband to live with her and be her slave. If I’m wrong in the way I feel by wanting to protect my marriage and keep my sanity then I need to know what I can do. It has gotten more difficult and I love my husband. We have no children together he has his and I have mine and they ate grown up and on their own. It’s just me and him.

    1. Riovickie50
      That is a diificult problem you have there. Did you read the comments on this post, there is a lot of advice from April in there you can prayerful consider till she is back from her vacation..
      check out the answer to daisy and search for Aprils youtube channel she has a post there on controling people.
      To go live with his family sounds like an unhealthy situation.
      I did so with my family but it was not good for my husband we moved away after a couple of years and that has caused me a lot of heartbreak and guilt. My mother was controling and my father though a meek and gentle man, drank to much.
      It can be realy difficult for your husband to stand against his family.
      Have you been able to tell your husband in a respectful way hiw the frequent visits make you feel?
      To say I do not want to go puts your husband in defense maybe you could explain how you feel and that it stresses you, or frightens you that you feel scared?
      When I folowed my husbands wish to leave my parents it made me feel sick inside and I trhew up a lot in the year leading to our seperating from them. I have always felt guilt for leaving them and not being there for them though I do understand my mother tried to manipulate and control us.
      Maybe it helps you to understand how strong this can be between parents and children.
      My husband told me he did not feel at home in his own home anymore and when he made his dicision he decided to go with or withouth me. As my situation than was reversed from yours now i find it difficult to give a good advice as I felt I did not want my husband to leave nor to leave my family I decided that I did have to follow ny husband even if it would hurt my family.
      Maybe it helps you to see that the controling if your m.i.l. is based on need. That was how it was with my mother.
      I would sit often just listening to my mother complaining about everything and felt like she was this deep well never was I able to fill it or help her feel better. Nor could anybody else.
      I wish I could have given her the love of God and trust that I found and am finding because only with God you can feel real peace and satisfaction. I tried by telling her of the experiences I had. Though I touched her she could not find faith and lingered in her precieved pain.
      If you can find strenghth to see here as in need maybe you can take a part of the catering she demands to take away the pressure of your husband so he is more able to see and hear what is happening?
      Take it to God in prayer your fear and other feelings. The Lord can sure change a difficult situation.
      Search this blog you will find a lot of advice, think about it and see what would fit in your situation.
      I am just starting practicing respect and still often fail to do so. But yet I also see change just now mostly in myselve.
      Not going in defence not fighting sometimes holding back angry comments and sighing and scolding.
      And seeing my husband answering my needs withouth me asking.
      I will pray for you

          1. Secret,

            Does your husband have any involvement in the finances? What does he say about not having enough money? Does he suffer from any mental illness? Is he willing to speak to the pastor together with you, or a godly mentoring couple?

            Praying for wisdom for you!

      1. I have told him but he feels obligated to visit them. He can decide situation for me that I am willing to accommodate him but when it comes to his mother it a a straight no I do everything I can so there is no way for us to go. Don’t get me wrong I have and always when I am there try to show them Love. But it is so dangerous for my husband when we go there for example my husband has severe problems with his neck and back and she kept bugging him to take huge trash cans into his truck to dump. Well I’m sure you no the outcome he got tired if her telling him and cursing about the situation that he jumped up on something to push the trash in and fell and injured himself very badly and he has never been the same and he blames himself. I can’t deal with this anymore I don’t want my husband to lose his life trying to please his mother. There are many more examples I can right but it just gets me tense when I think about it. I get really bad anxiety when U know we are going to his family. I’m a prayer warrior but one thing I know people have a free will.

        Sent from my iPhone Victoria L. Arredondo

    2. Riovickie50,

      So heartbreaking!

      What is your husband’s relationship with Christ?

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      Check out these posts (you can search for them on my home page):

      Handling a Controlling Mother as a Team
      Control and Boundaries
      The Snare of People Pleasing
      Using Guilt to Manipulate
      Why Playing the Martyr Repels Those We Love

      If he won’t stand up for himself, he probably can’t stand up for you either. Praying for healing for you, your husband and your MIL.

      Sending you a huge hug, my precious sister!

    3. Hi riovickie, so sorry I caused confusion. I am just one of the many wifes reading this blog and your story touched me, I do find your situation difficult and pray for strength for you. I folowed this blog for over a year now and had a major breaktrough this summer, so instead on focusing on my own problems I started reading and listening on the comments of others. I seem to often find I have opposite experiences from many wifes here.
      In your case it was the pleasing of mother to the extreme that I have done myselve and did hurt my husband in doing so and draging him in instead of keeping a healthy boundary. I see from your other comments that it is a really complicated situation. For as he does not see it himself
      With love and hope and prayers for you

  35. My husband has allowed his family to say many nasty things to me, as well as behind my back. I never said anything back to them, but I did tell him how I felt afterwards. His mother even told him that I would divorce him (I never, ever felt that way or insinuated I would to her). When I returned home, he was crying and told me what she said (he was dealing with a lot of internal emotional issues at the time, so he was particularly vulnerable, and I was doing all I could between covering expenses and helping him climb out of the emotional hole he was in). I was really upset, as she was unraveling all the hard work I was doing. I called her and told her just that while he sat nearby. I told her it didn’t help one bit to say something like that. I reminded her that she says many things that hurt people, that she may not realize. I brought up that I overheard her talking to a guest at my wedding, saying, “Well, we didn’t divorce like her family, so maybe we’ll be a good influence.” She was right behind me, 5 feet behind me, when she said those ugly words. So many more things they did I can’t include here, and I didn’t bother to bring them up that day. Apparently, I heard later that she cried for days afterward. I felt rotten and talked to my pastor, told him that I should have let it go. He said, sometimes you just have to tell people the truth. But that episode didn’t end it. They continued to say really hurtful things — I don’t know which one is worse, the mother in law or the father in law. They are very shallow and look down at others and are unduly harsh on women, their looks. I’ve never known anyone like these two. When my brother in law and his wife divorced, they blamed the entire divorce on her, though the entire family knew and openly discussed his infidelity. They still blamed her, though she was not to blame at all. They were so angry at her because they bailed out their son on the divorce, and they kept referring to her as having their money. One evening we were having a meal, and they clinked glasses, they always toast, and said, to the daughter in law left, the good daughter in law. It made me sick to hear that. Then we changed the subject and started talking about a family friend, one who they had wanted my husband to marry years ago. It was particularly hurtful to hear the mother in law become all glowing and effusive about how wonderful this person was. Anyway. About 6 months more passed by and they visited again, and they started in on more of their talk. I couldn’t hold it in any more. I told them that I know, based on what I’ve heard and based on what my husband has told me that they have always thought I was trash. They have denigrated my weight, my height, my upbringing, my college, and generally dismissed me as a daughter in law. I was even asked once why I didn’t like babies, when I do – sadly, we can’t have children due to my husband’s condition. It was 25 years pent up feelings. I didn’t yell, I didn’t say anything that wasn’t truthful. And my husband did back me up, for the first time. He always told me to overlook it, and to stuff it, and that it didn’t matter what they said or did. But I couldn’t anymore. His mother called me crazy. His father cursed me out – replete with Fs. Then they, get this, admitted I was right. His father said that they thought 5 years ago that maybe I was good for him, maybe. I was trying to think of what I did 5 years prior … I guess stay with my husband through that 5-year trial? Anyway, I’ve never been yelled at and cursed at like that in my life. My husband didn’t correct his dad or ask him to not speak to me that way. (Two decades ago, my mom was rude to him when we were dating and she and I had a heart to heart about it. I asked her point blank why she was rude to him, told her I loved him, and she never did it again. I try to nip it in the bud.) I didn’t yell back, mainly cried between trying to explain that I knew and that I knew I couldn’t please them, no matter what, and that I just wanted to get that out. In the end it was futile. But at least it was off my chest, I guess. I apologized to his mother and said it just tumbled out. About 3 months after that, his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Three months after that, she died. After her death, his dad later said he was sorry, that he said mean things, but then I realized that he said that because he needed me to do some things for him. I hugged him anyway and said not to worry. But he ended up going back to they way he was.

    It has been a real trial and effort to like his parents. They always ran down women. If it wasn’t so overt, I wouldn’t have noticed it at all.

    I have been so damaged by this relationship with them. I wish I could just brush it off, but I really cared and wanted them to like me. I know, immature, but it took me a long time to just know that I never can. Now that his mom is dead, I guess she died disappointed in his choice.

    I just don’t understand. I have always tried to be a good girl, hard worker, respectful, helpful, good listener, one to crack jokes (I could get them to laugh at times). But I’m not a showy, party girl who is running around smooching men on the lips and hugging and being the good-time hostess. That’s what they wanted for him – the corporate housewife, the schmoozer. I can never be that.

    1. LJ,

      I’m so glad you told them that what they did was hurtful. That is definitely necessary at times. Reminds me of what Jesus instructed us to do in Matthew 18:15-17.

      You cannot change them. It sounds like they have a lot of maturing to do. All you can do is seek God with all your heart, strive to do what is right in His eyes, seek His approval, seek to love them and your husband with the love of Christ, speak the truth in love and seek to be a blessing.

      I wish your husband had stood up to his parents. You did not deserve to be treated like that. But what they did was because of their character, not yours.

      Trying to love sinners can be so very painful. Thankfully – you don’t have to try to seek the approval of people, but only of Christ.

      Check out these posts, my precious girl!

      The Snare of People Pleasing
      Playing the Martyr
      Using Guilt to Manipulate and Control

      If your husband grew up in a very emotionally/spiritually toxic environment with very controlling parents, he may not have learned how to stand up to them. I’m really glad that he did back you up that time that you shared your heart.

      Praying for you to find freedom from this prison and the peace, joy, healing and hope that Jesus is able to give you!

      Much love,

    2. Surprisingly we have law to protect bully at work, bully in school, abusive partner at home but not the partner’s parents which is a fact around the world since the very beginning of time. A wife have to quietly suffer the torment and mentally bully by the lover’s parents and get no help whatsoever from him and he forbids u to talk abt it. Ironically she still go to the kingdom of hall as usual. She tempered my shampoo, cursed me off, made false accusation to the police abt me, gassed me while i was sleeping alone at home! Intentionally or not for the 1st time no one knows but the next day happened again n told the son i wanted to kill her while the son just woke up. I was still in bed except her wide awake and done with her breakfast! Where is the justice in life?!

  36. My parents help us out dramatically and there are times when he should be asking his parents when times get rough. He doesn’t like fighting and will clam up. With my mil on Facebook she takes everything to heart. I’ve been married before and have dealt with the in law situation but to see my husband get upset with me and to tell me to not cause fights with the women in his family it blows my mind because he expects my parents to take care of what he can’t handle and it isn’t fair. If I speak up he walks off and won’t finish the conversation which just makes it more hectic. His mother is living with his two brothers who are adults! She won’t let these guys be men, and immediately jumps on me. Now he deletes messages on my phone and doesn’t give me a chance to speak up for myself because she took something wrong. I just want to cry. I want a man not a mommas boy.

    1. S,

      Thankfully, as you focus on becoming the wife God desires you to be, and as you pray for God to work in your husband’s life, and as you learn to show him honor and respect and allow him to lead in your home, your husband can develop the strength to eventually stand up to his mom. It will probably take a lot of time. But as he sees that you trust him and that you honor and respect him genuinely, that is a powerful motivator for a man to learn to stand taller and to act with greater strength, courage and conviction.

      I am praying for you! I believe you will find many posts here that may be very helpful. 🙂

  37. Hey April! It’s Anna again with a difficult grandmother of my husband. Well, we’ve had a pretty eventful summer: my husband’s granddad passed away on 12 June, and since then we have tried to be super nice with this lady – spent much time with her, drank tea together, even asked her to cook some things for us to keep her occupied and not to wallow on her grief, but then we had to go away and visit my grandmother in a different country in July as it was her 90th birthday celebration, where she wanted to see the majority of her relatives. Still, we thought about my husband’s grandmother and asked my husband’s nephew to stay with her till we are away, so she wouldn’t feel that alone… Well, what can I say, the outburst of hysteria on her part was the worst this time, she also didn’t want the nephew to stay over and what’s more, she called to the notary bureau and threatened us to rewrite the part of the flat that belongs to her to someone else. We still went over to my grandmother, of course, and luckily so, as my husband managed to pray with her, but, unfortunately, she also passed after 5 days since her 90th celebration, and since then I feel that something broke in me. Of course, I am happy that nevertheless, my husband went with me, and my granny was willing to pray with him, and hopefully, she is with the Lord, but I am just amazed at what lengths my husband’s grandmother could go to try to control us. After two weeks, my husband returned home, and I am still staying with my parents, but planning to return to him soon, and I don’t know how to behave with her. We prayed and fasted with my husband because he also got tired of such behaviour, and now his grandmother suggests to write off her part to my husband, so he sees it as some kind of answer (she probably felt some shame when she found out about the death of my grandmother), but still I don’t want to talk to her, I don’t want to see her anymore… I could say “hello”, but I don’t want to drink tea, spend time with her, etc., but that would be difficult to avoid as I work from home, and If i ignore her for “no reason”, she will again complain 🙁 Sorry, just needed to vent, it’s all just so painful and drags for quite a long time, makes me morally, emotionally, and even physically drained 🙁

    1. Anna,

      What a difficult and painful situation! 🙁 My precious girl! My heart aches for all of you. How I pray that your husband’s grandmother could experience the peace and joy of Christ. I am so sorry to hear about his grandfather’s passing and your grandmother’s passing, as well. And PRAISE GOD that your husband prayed with your grandmother, maybe leading her to Christ!

      What does your husband want to do? How would he like you to try to handle this?

      Are you able to see that her complaining isn’t about you at all? It is about the spiritual condition of her own heart?

      How is your time with God going? How are you doing keeping the bitterness and resentment out of your heart?

      Sending you a huge hug!

      Much love,

  38. Oh, April, thank you for your answer, I am just so emotionally drained at the moment. Besides, staying at home in my home country is so bittersweet as I have a strong support system at home, but not at my husband’s place. Only my husband tries to support me, which is great, but then again, I feel out of place there so much, also, probably one of the reasons that his grandmother’s behaviour gets to me as I subconsciously wish for good relationships to feel better “at home” and don’t get that there :(. My husband seems to be content with the fact that grandmother made up with him and just said we have to go on living with her; he doesn’t care that I am homesick, that I don’t feel welcomed there, just demands me to be there. I read the Bible, I pray, but it all affects me, nevertheless, my immune system started to give up, very often, I am on the verge of just going back home, but I know I will disappoint God if I do it, but these painful stitations seem to just destroy me 🙁

    1. Anna,

      Do you have any godly women friends in your new country? I am praying God might help you form a new support system in your new home country. I am praying for God’s wisdom and love for your husband and for His glory in your husband’s grandmother’s life and situation. I pray for God’s healing for your heart and for your marriage. I pray you might have the strength and courage to support your husband and to honor him. I pray for God to direct you both about where to live. I pray for his grandmother’s salvation and walk with Christ. I pray that you might be a great light by God’s power to your husband’s grandmother and to your husband and all who see you. I know God has you there for such a time as this.

      Sending you a huge hug!!!!! God is able to use this to bless you, to help you grow in Christ and to mature in your faith. The real issue is not to ask God to make the situation change magically, but to be open to anything He might want to do in your life through these trials and to be willing and obedient and trusting in Him.

      Much love!

  39. Well, the thing is there are a couple of women, but they don’t seem to understand what I am going through staying away from home; I tried to talk about it with them, but they brushed it off, so I don’t really know who I can turn to, I also don’t want to disappoint people back home 🙁 I am very thankful for your support and prayers, April, let God bless you abundantly in your life and everything you do! Thank you for a hug as well 🙂

    1. Anna,

      What does your husband say?

      I am praying for godly mentors and godly women friends for you. And also for God to use this situation, if you must go through it, for your sanctification and His glory.

      Sending you another big hug!

      1. He says we need to pray and wait for the answer from the Lord. Well, my husband is actually worried for me, but his worrying is more of a passive kind – he would be sad to the point that he can’t even work productively, then I would be sad that I made him sad, and I would say – it’s ok – and try to actively seek the solution, but still it’s, nevertheless, his home-country, and at times I feel like I fight there on my own, for example, with my business, I had to gather all the information and organize everything myself from scratch, I asked for his help, but he said you’ve got your computer, it’s easier for you to find everything you need; bureaucratic system is outdated here, and bureaucrats may be so incompetent and not nice that sorting things out with them made me cry even a couple of times, as I come from a country where people are more reserved and try to be polite, offering services; my relatives act warmly towards my husband whereas the majority of his seem to envy me as I come from a “better” (that is what they think) country, and Christian women don’t see the problem as I am supposed to be grown-up and not to shed tears for home, but the reality is I don’t feel at home where my new home is 🙁 We support foreign students who come to study, which is great, but they are so young and don’t open up that easily, and I also need support, but my support system is nearly non-existent there.

  40. Hey ,

    I was married to a very , loving , sweet human being … The engagement time was awesome with a lot of bonding and trust .. The moment I got married things changed … His parents and sisters could not handle the new bonding and addition to there family

    My SIL and MIL starting playing manipulation one and his end alone and with me when I was alone breaking all the trust intimacy and bonding … It came to the point that he would humiliate me i front of them for reasons i am not aware of … And it increased day by day … Mostly because I stopped trusting him and disrespected him openly in front of his parents and relatives.. Little did I knew his reaction was only and only coz of fake stories being told to him by his MIL and SIL.

    I became depressed and left and went back to my home country. We are separated since two years. His MIL and SIL are happy spending all his money but he does not seem to be happy.

    My heart sinks , trust , loyalty and respect is lost .. I have forgiven him and them. But I’m not moving on ? Why

    1. Snow,
      My heart completely breaks for your situation! It is wrong for extended family to come between a husband and wife. 🙁 Matthew 19:5-6

      and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH ‘? 6″So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

      Do either you or your husband have a relationship with Christ?

      God is able to heal your marriage. But, it may involve upsetting extended family members to do things God’s way. Have you been talking to your husband? What does he want to do?

      You are not moving on because God has joined you together and it is tearing your soul in half to be separated. You are one now. One flesh. And one spiritually. You are supposed to be together until death parts you. That is why you are both in so much pain.

      I am praying for you! And I am here and glad to talk with you if you would like to!

      You may be able to apologize for your disrespect and focus on becoming the woman and wife God calls you to be. I have seen God heal MANY, MANY marriages when just one person begins seeking Him with all his/her heart.

      Much love!

  41. I am going through a lot of what everyone else is going through and right niw my heart is broken. My MIL had always made snide remarks to me when my husband (then boyfriend) was not around…about me being american, about my skin tone, about my hair texture, and so on. I would call home crying every time we would visit them (the live far away) . Started dating mhy husband at 16 …been together 18 years now. She got better when I got pregnant with our first child ( we were not married ) …but when we git married..she stopped talking to us both fkr a couple of years. Somehow she came around…but family drama has lead her to not talk to me and not even acknowledge our kids. My problem is, that I am hurt that my husband still speaks tk her, and just recently traveled to see her…and she does not acknowledge ohr kids AT ALL. I feel like our kids come with the can he botger with her when she has completely stopped having anything to do with his children. Am I wrong ?

  42. Me again. I wrote about the texting situation awhile ago…I left the subject and didn’t bring it up again with him, but I have been ensuring that I leave my phone alone when we are dates. He is starting to leave his phone alone and not text his mum and dad all the time! It’s been so amazing.

    His family are quite a tight knit family but from where I stand I see them as rather controlling. His parents like to know everything about what is going on in our marriage – including our finances. His dad will get my husband to come around and will sit down with him and go through our financial statements. I have let my husband know that this makes me feel uncomfortable but it still continues.

    Before we were married his parents were very controlling especially his dad. He is an only son with sisters so I understand that his dad really has a connection with him. He would sometimes create a “family situation” where the family had to hang out without anyone else to resolve a “problem” and he would always do this on nights that we had plans to go out.

    I also don’t think his dad approves of me. A few reasons below…

    A couple years ago we went on family holiday and his dad saw some young girl he knew. He was talking to her and when he got back in the car he said “she’s really awesome, that’s the kind of girl you want” to my then boyfriend. I was so shocked as I was sitting right next to him. When we arrived at the holiday destination, I went for a run and cried. My then boyfriend was surprised and asked me what was wrong. I told him, but he didn’t seem to think it was aimed at me.

    A couple of months before we got engaged (his dad didn’t know this was coming up) his dad started taking him out for coffee everyday. I thought this was a bit strange but left them to it. Then suddenly out of nowhere our relationship started going seriously downhill. We would hang out in the evenings and he would attack me and tell me maybe we shouldn’t be together. After a week of this I asked him what was going on and whether it had anything to do with his dad and the coffee dates. He admitted his dad had been talking to him and asking him whether I was the right one for him and pointing out my flaws. He apologised and said it wouldn’t happen again.

    Often he will introduce my husband to someone and even though I am right there he ignores me and doesn’t introduce me. It becomes awkward and my husband then has to introduce me, but by then I’m half walking off.

    At our wedding his dad did a horrendous speech. He spoke about other girls my husband had dated and overall was an awkward speech.

    There have been a few digs at me since we’ve been married and often his dad won’t even say hello to me. He calls him, emails him, texts him all the time.

    At first, my husband would run every decision we had to make past his dad and often make decisions with his dad without me. He is starting to break free of this and we are now making decisions together without his dad;s input which feels amazing! We have recently moved away from his parents and out of nowhere the other night he said “I’m really enjoying living away from my parents and making decisions by myself.” I’m so so happy for this but I am also sad that he felt we had to move away for him to be able to be the leader in our marriage.

    I get along with his mum and his sisters just fine.

    I’m not sure how to handle this situation with his dad and it concerns me for when we have children about how he will treat me in front of them and also how he will treat them. I’ve mentioned it to my husband but there isn’t anything he can do and I understand that. He did mention it to his dad whether there was something wrong and his dad just no not at all. When he told me about this he just looked sad and said “I wish you and my dad would get along.” It breaks my heart because I want more than anything to do that but his dad just continues being the same towards me.

    We will be moving back closer to them in the next couple of weeks and I am worried that he may slip back into being under control from his dad.

    My relationship with Christ is strong and he is very evident in our marriage. I have been graceful and forgiving with his dad but I really don’t want this to continue long term especially as it’s not only hurting me but also hurting my husband and I am concerned it will end up hurting our children!

    1. Learning Wife,

      Oh my.

      I am assuming your husbands’ parents are believers, correct?

      Having controlling in-laws is a VERY, VERY painful position for a wife to be in. In fact, a husband who allows his parents to control him and his decisions is not leaving his parents. When we don’t leave our parents and cleave to each other, marriages suffer greatly.

      But, my approach was wrong as a young newly wed. I tried to lecture my husband and preach at him about how he wasn’t “leaving properly.” All my crying, begging, demanding, scolding, criticizing, pleading, arguing and complaining did was repel Greg from me. It didn’t bring him Closer and didn’t fix the issues in our marriage. I was also very disrespectful to his parents. Not smart.

      I completely understand why you believe your FIL does not approve of you. You have plenty of evidence of his true feelings.

      I am SO glad y’all moved away!!! Woohoo! Praise God for that!!

      It is ok to tell your husband that you would like to stay where you are, or that you love being with him so that y’all can make decisions on your own. It is ok to share your concerns, and, hopefully, not be disrespectful of your in laws in the process.

      As you look to your husband, honor him, respect him and allow him to lead, he will become a stronger leader. He may mess up at times. But if he knows.he has your faith, trust and support, he will probably try very hard to please you and to do a good job.

      He may not see his parents clearly. He may not recognize what his father is doing and how he has tried to poison your relationship with your husband. God can open his eyes to this in time.

      As he gets used to being respected and being the leader in the marriage, he will begin to feel smothered and suffocated when his parents try to control him again. And, in time, if necessary, he will probably develop the strength to stand up to his dad.

      Please search in my home page for:

      Controlling mother
      Extended family

      Praying for wisdom for you and your husband and for continued healing and strengthening in your marriage! Praying you and your husband will be able to set up the necessary boundaries to protect your marriage covenant. Marriage is the priority, not parents. Y’all can treat them with honor, but there is no covenant relationship or vows with parents and it is wrong of parents to interfere in a child’s marriage. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder.

      Much love!!!

  43. I am so sad tonight, my husband just fall asleep. Here is the story:

    His nephew with his wife are coming from overseas to visit, like a honeymoon trip, they stay with us for 5 days, 4 nights. It’s only one stop of their whole Month trip. They are young couple, don’t have a lot of money. So we let them stay at the house. I am totally ok with it, and cleaned the house all day, and made a nice dinner, cut fruits, made tea, … Made room for them in the second bedroom.

    They came at about 7:45pm. My husband picked them up, and then we had dinner until almost 10pm. We usually sleep at 9:39-10:30? We sleep pretty early usually because he always tired. And I know he is very tired during work days. And his family come on Wednesday. He was talking with them until 11pm, and then I thought we should call it for the night. So I said, we should go to sleep, but he asked me to go to the bedroom first, and he will come in 10mins. So I came to the bedroom, and he didn’t show up for another 30mins.

    So I went to the living room, I said, we should sleep, because he needs to work tomorrow. But he said, he will come to the bed soon. Then another 30mins past. They still talking, laughing, and speak their language that I don’t understand. It’s 12:00, I went to the living room, I said he needs to sleep, and I am not going back to the bedroom until he comes with me. But he said 5mins, 10mins. … Even our guests looks tired, I just don’t understand why he has to stay up that long and not end the night to get some rest.

    I love him very much, I am so concern about his health, we don’t stay up usually because it’s not healthy, and he is not very young anymore, and he has been travel in the weekends 2 in a row already. I don’t like he stay up so late for nothing. Those young couple are nice but young, and they don’t need to get up early, they may get up at 10 am! But my husband needs to leave the house by 7:45!
    I am so concern about my husband, but when he finally comes to our bedroom, his face went so grey, and telling me that I should never talk to him like that in front of his family.

    I was only want him to end the night not too late, 11pm, 12pm is too late for a work night. And he was almost yelling at me. I said I don’t want to argue with you, but I was concern about your health, it’s late. He said, when his family come fine overseas, it’s his decision to stay late even until the morning. Not my decision. I told him I would never do the same thing to him. Because I think everything has a line. It’s not nice to cross the line.

    He said I don’t understand, but I don’t think I did anything wrong. I was so warm welcomed his fmaily, just saying they are going to stay with us for 5 days, not just one night, don’t need to talk all night, and seriously, even I don’t understand the language, they didn’t really talk about the tours, or travel for the most time, just lots of stories. I don’t understand why not important things are been talking for so long on a school night for him! So I turned my head to the other side, and I was crying, and he didn’t hug me to sleep. He also facing another side.

    After everything I did for him all day! And all the preparation! He give me his back! I can’t believe this! What could I do? I could never do the same thing like what he did to me. I am so sad. I feel he doesn’t care about my feelings and doesn’t make normal sense.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Thank you for sharing your pain! We have so many Elizabeths now – we are going to have to start identifying each of you somehow so that my readers can tell you all apart! 🙂

      I understand your concern for your husband’s health and for his sleep. You obviously love him and want what is best for him.

      However, from a husband’s perspective, what you did was act like he was a little boy and you were his angry mother. He is a grown man. If he wants to stay up until 3am and talk with his guests, that is HIS decision to make. You have the right to make your choices. He has the right to make his choices. You may express your concerns for him, but when you try to dictate to him what he must do – that is going to feel extremely disrespectful to any emotionally healthy man. Most husbands would have been offended if his wife had lectured him and nagged him and scolded him in front of his family or anyone else – or even in private – like this.

      The reason he turned his back on you was because he felt incredibly disrespected by you. He may have appreciated the things you did all day for his guests, but the disrespect was so over the top – in his mind – that he was responding to the way you had been treating him that night.

      What you could do would be to stop trying to control him and allow him to make his own choices and suffer the consequences if he chooses to stay up late. Then there is no argument. There would be no tension. Trust him to make his own decisions. Trust him to handle the consequences. He is not 3 years old. He is not your little boy. He is your husband.

      Many times, we wives think we are being “loving and helpful” but what our husbands feel is “control and disrespect.” I have some posts about respect and disrespect at the top of my home page. I invite you to check them out. Most wives are shocked about all the things that we as women tend to do that speak disrespect to our husbands. They have a whole different perspective on life than we do as women. They are not wrong, they are different. And until we begin to understand their perspective and their goals and desires and priorities, we will not understand the way they think and feel. It takes time to learn to speak the language of respect fluently – especially if we didn’t have godly examples as we were growing up – but God can empower us to learn this lost art form and our marriages are richly blessed when we do!

      Disrespect for husbands is completely normal and expected now in our culture. We threw out respect for our men in the 1960s or so. This is unfortunate! Because now, most women have never even seen what it looks like for a wife to respect her husband and most women don’t recognize the disrespect and control they use with their husbands and how much it hurts their husbands and the marriage. I had no idea that I was being disrespectful and controlling the first 14+ years of our marriage – until one day, God opened my eyes in December of 2008. I was SHOCKED!

      You may also want to check out the posts from the past week or so about what it means to be an ungodly woman and about godly femininity.

      Much love to you! 🙂 Sending you a big hug!

    2. Hello, Elizabeth!

      I do understand your concern about your husband, but you see his nephew came from overseas and I think your husband wants to spend as much time as possible with his nephew because he knows that his nephew will go away very soon. For example, at the moment I live in a different country from my niece, and whenever I am in my home country, I spend as much time with her as I can because I adore her as if she were my own daughter. Probably your husband also has a fond relationship with his nephew.

      Of course, I would probably also be quite offended if somebody tried to pressure their will upon me, and, I am sorry, but your refusing to leave the room until your husband goes to bed looks like manipulation to me. He is not a kid, he is a grown adult, and if he chooses to stay with his nephew, that is fine, he should have missed him loads, and skipping some nights’ sleep won’t hurt much. Besides, husbands (and wives) really hate when somebody tells them off in front of other people, especially relatives.

      Surely, your husband shouldn’t have yelled (but then you wrote – almost – so it seems he tried to compose himself), but I presume he was just angry by your actions: implying like he is a small kid and trying to work your will upon him. At the same time, I am sure he and his nephew with his wife greatly appreciated all your efforts!

      So please try to understand your husband! What is not important to you may be important to him.

  44. My husband has a drug addiction, as well as an alcohol addiction. Growing up, his parents allowed it in their home. Now that we are married, and have been for two years, he goes to them for lots of things that he should turn to me,and only me, for. He is an addict, therefore he will go to his mother and ask her to get him pills that are addictive. She does it to please him in the moment of his suffering. She loves me, and wants our marriage to work, yet she goes against the important things my husband and i try to work on to improve. How do I handle her? I want to talk to her and let her know that this is only making matters worse, especially when i seem to be the only one supporting him in the right things. Is that the right approach?

    1. Kandra,

      What a painful, difficult situation. 🙁 I agree that your MIL is making things worse. But, I have not been through a situation like this with addictions, and I believe you will need more extensive support than I am able to give about how to handle that exactly. I wonder if Al-Anon, the Salvation Army or Celebrate Recovery or a trusted pastor might be a good place to start?

      I don’t know if your MIL can hear you. You can try asking her to stop enabling him. But, if she has been doing this for years, she may not be willing or able to stop. I pray the whole family can receive godly, wise, experienced counsel.

      Praying for wisdom for you!!!

  45. Hi, I spent 20 years being emotionally abused and disrespected by my in-laws. I followed “godly” and Christian advice for years. The kind of abuse rendered to me by my in-laws (and my husband) was insidious. . . the comments were often masked as humor (at my expense). My mother-in-law would wait until my husband or no one else was around and then say the most outrageous, disrespectful, condescending things to me. She gave me scornful looks for no reason. She commented rudely on my physical appearance openly in front of others. Father-in-law did the same. They acted with a superior attitude and treated me from the beginning as if I was nothing. If they had treated others around us this way, I would not have been so sensitive to it, but they did not. . . I was the target and could not understand why. There was nothing I could do to please them. And believe me, I tried for years to express unconditional, Christian love to them despite their abuses of me.

    When I finally did confront them (after they endangered the life of my children through their intent to ridicule me), I had to do so because my husband would not. Yes, he was scared to confront them. So I had to. . . God had spoken to me clearly that I was to protect my children from such emotional abuse and neglect. If my husband would not, then it was my job. The confrontation was such that my mother-in-law “apologized” with the typical “I’m sorry you misunderstood” comment that isn’t really an apology. My husband and I did not see the in-laws for a year and we ended up in Christian counseling. . . which did not work because the counselor was intent on letting my husband spend sessions feeling victimized instead of helping us find coping strategies or pointing us to Biblical wisdom. I knew how to find that on my own, so I withdrew from the counseling. It was only making the situation worse.

    If anything came out of Christian counseling, it became clear to me how dysfunctional my husband’s relationship was with his parents, esp. his mother. While he did not care to spend time with his parents at all, he empathized more with his mother than he did with me. My husband had been secretly dabbling in porn, and that was another issue. (I am 5’9″, weigh 135 lbs., am attractive and fit, so do not make stupid assumptions about my appearance forcing him to go look elsewhere for his “needs”. I also have historically had a stronger libido than his. So also do not blame me for “withholding sex” from my spouse.) But my husband’s sick empathy for his mother was a result of my father-in-law’s indifferent and disrespectful treatment of my mother-in-law all those years. Even I had witnessed it during the time I first met them. He is a smug, smarmy, arrogant man who is selfish. . . the typical selfish retired Baby Boomer man who has been a jerk to his wife all their marriage, and now he is retired and expects her to take care of his every little need. (But READ: I did not let my observations affect my treatment of them. I was kind, loving, giving, shared the grandkids with them even though they had no interest in my children except to use them as reflective mirrors of their own value and import.)

    After the counseling, I decided it was up to me to forgive them and not expect any apologies. I for one was sick of the bitterness. I tried the best I could to cope. I prayed, I leaned on Jesus. . . and I had anxiety attacks and symptoms every time a holiday drew near or they communicated with us. I knew I was not going to be protected by my husband. He would act like he would protect me, but then he said that he didn’t see what happened or hear it. I avoided being alone with mother-in-law. She always seemed to seek me out to take a stab at me.

    My husband knew of the pain I was in without me having to ask him to help. But he was so narcissistic himself, and his mother was the only female in his life with feelings. . . I was treated like an object. I was not treated like a precious soul, I was not cherished. My husband disregarded my health, emotionally and physically. I had five children I was trying to raise. He did not support my role here at home. I was just a slave to him and whatever he felt like the family needed to be doing. . . I was the one gently speaking God’s wisdom while my own husband was being his own “little god with a little g”.

    The in-law thing along with my husband’s issues only made everything worse.

    Last Christmas, we were exhausted – esp. the children and I. We weren’t interested in having a stressful holiday, and so in late October 2013, I asked my husband if we could go ahead and plan for the holidays. . . where we’d spend which weekend with each family. Of course, I did not like spending the holidays at all with his family (and neither did he), but we both were trying to be godly and include his family too. He contacted his mother, and they set up a specific weekend, and she said it was all good. Two weeks before we were supposed to go visit them, she called and feigned not to remember we had already made plans. She wanted to do it another weekend (which was not available because we’d already booked it) so that her favorite doctor son and his family could also be there. My husband explained to her that we were booked and that in the past, the brother had also said that he understood that there were sometimes going to be years where we all couldn’t be there at the same time. So could we still come as we had planned? She balked and said verbatim, “But then I won’t have time to get ready for K*** and C*** to be here.” She was notorious for making sure all the food was fresh for the favorite brother’s family, but we often got the leftovers. (Also, our children are exceptionally well-behaved, but she treats them like they are out of control. They are not. She’s just very controlling and domineering. My 13 year old has to sit with his knees to his chin at the tiny, fold-up kiddie table.)

    My husband told her he would talk to me, but we couldn’t change our plans. He and I came up with the idea that we could compromise and come at a time that wouldn’t be as stressful for her so she could prep for th eother son’s visit. She said that wouldn’t work either. So our other option that we came up with was that we would visit her and father-in-law AFTER Christmas so that it would be a relaxed, non-stressful time.

    She was furious, of course. She pouted and acted like a toddler. My husband was depressed throughout the holidays because of it.

    This was par for the course. We weren’t seen as adults with our own lives. We were objects for her to manipulate to feel better about herself. Father-in-law would stand by and watch this without helping his own wife to understand she couldn’t treat us that way. He was pathetic too.

    This is only one story of many I could tell you.

    The bottomline is this: well-meaning Christians and Christian counselors don’t always know the score. I followed the advice you offered and more for years. It didn’t work. My husband’s behavior and that of my in-law’s perpetrated to destroy my marriage. I could NOT trust my church leadership, “godly” counselors, my husband, my own family (because they were smart and remained neutral and loving to all), NO ONE.

    In the end, I had to get a backbone. I had to stand up to my in-laws on my own. I am no longer part of their family or social circle, and I feel that God allowed me that mercy. My children are no longer a part of it either. My husband can communicate with them all he wants to, but they made their own bed by their abuse.

    They are not Christians, but instead they are self-proclaimed “good people” hiding behind a sham civility. I thought that if I remained a perservering Christian, God might use me. But I think sometimes God uses His people increasingly to make it known that He will not keep suffering the foolish and proud.

    When I did finally stand up to my in-laws, my husband cried. He didn’t cry because he was angry with me or sad. He cried because I became his hero. . . I stood up to the very people he’d been bullied by since the day he was born. It’s bizarre, I know.

    He said he was relieved I did it. He himself could never do it. Of course, this is not okay. This is not the way it should be. But it was our case, and sadly, the Christian church needs to wake up and quit saying the same advice over and over that discounts the idea of emotional abuse and neglect.

    One more thing: as strong a need as men have to be “respected” and for sex, God also gave women a strong need to be “respected” and have their emotional needs met. The church (and foolish Christian women) have neglected to make sure that men understood what God meant when he told husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Our church-y messages on women submitting have overpowered that very important message to husbands. . . and it’s been wrong and abusive not to equally preach and teach it.

    Submission is a sticky thing. I submitted for a long time in an emotionally abusive situation, and it didn’t work to save my marriage in the long run.

    1. Lily,

      Thanks so much for sharing! There can be times – particularly if children are in danger, or the family is in danger – when a wife may have to stand up against family members if a husband will not. That is something that God’s Spirit will have to give each wife wisdom about. The story of Abigail in the Old Testament is a great example of this.

      I am glad you stood up against your husband’s family. It sounded like it needed to be done.

      I only teach wives, so I only talk about wives’ responsibilities here. But, that does not negate the fact that husbands have even more commands from God in marriage and that they are going to be held to a higher level of accountability because they have been given the leadership position by God.

      The post, Spiritual Authority, and A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage may be helpful for women in these kinds of sticky situations.

      Thank you so much!

  46. I am a man newly married to my wonderful wife. She has a wonderful family that is normally very supportive of her. One issue that I have been experiencing lately is that her mother routinely invites my wife to dinners and functions while specifically stating this is for her immediate family only and I am not invited. After several trips and events I now feel more and more like there’s a wedge being placed between us. When I attempt to talk to my wife about the issue she says she feels attacked and even accuses me of being like her ex husband regarding this issue. I told her I am fine with her spending time with her family, but that it really hurts me when I’m specifically excluded. She says it’s because her mom likes to spend time with just her immediate family. I don’t know how to handle this.

    1. Kris,

      Hi! It’s great to meet you!
      Goodness. I can see why you don’t like this situation. Were things like this before y’all got married, too?

      How often are they doing things that you are not invited to?
      Do they ever invite you?

      How does her family treat you?

      Are other siblings’ spouses included?

  47. i do not agree with your opinion. My mother-in-law said something to me and that was the last straw. I could have dealt with it if (big if) my husband grew a spine and told her to treat his wife with respect but he just lets it happen. I’m supposed to just be a meek little woman that just lets it happen. Heaven forbid if a woman stands up to the crap she’s been subjected to for years. My husband’s sister’s husband doesn’t ever come over because he got sick of her treatment. I am done with just rolling over and being a doormat. Please don’t say it’s the “Christian” way-you obviously reading a translated version-giving you words you want to hear, not what you need to hear. One last thing-Why God speak to the husbands

    1. Elsa,
      I am so very sorry for the painful situation in your extended family. There can be times when a wife does need to stand up to being mistreated, several other commenters and I have discussed that, you are welcome to look at those comments.

      If a husband doesn’t stand up for himself to his parents, he probably won’t stand up for his wife, either. At least, not at first. Not until he develops confidence as a leader.
      In some situations, a wife may hear God telling her to wait and allow her husband to handle things. If circumstances are more severe, a wife may have to say or do something herself. But, that wouldn’t be ideal. Ideally, she would allow her husband to handle his family.

      God’s Word does give the husband authority to be the head of the home. You can check out whatever translation you wish. The scripture references are:
      – Ephesians 5:22-33
      – I Peter 3:1-7
      – Titus 2:3-5
      – I Corinthians 11:3

      Many husbands have not had godly examples growing up – many wives today have not had godly examples either. A lot of husbands come into marriage not knowing how to love their wives as Christ loved the church, how to lay down their lives for their wives, how to protect, or lead and guide their wives and families.

      But when we seek to walk in obedience to God’s design for marriage, our marriages our richly blessed.

      Please search my home page for the following and prayerfully compare these posts to Scripture for yourself:
      – Spiritual Authority (at the top of my home page)
      – A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage (top of my home page)
      – Submission Does Not = The Husband Is Always Right
      – When My Spouse Is Wrong
      – Does Being a Biblically Submissive Wife Mean I Can’t Share My Feelings
      – Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them
      – My Husband Won’t Lead
      – My Husband Is Not a Good Spiritual Leader
      – lead
      – leader
      – I’m a better leader
      – when I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God
      – My Demon
      – The Voice in His Head

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ and your marriage for His glory!

    2. Elsa,

      I have a post about “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin.” There are absolutely times when a godly wife must confront her husband. However, this must be done in obedience to God’s Word and with the right spirit. Confronting others, like a Mother-in-Law, would follow a similar pattern.

      Before a wife would confront her husband’s family, she would most likely need to spend a great deal of time in prayer and in God’s Word, seeking God’s wisdom as much as possible.

      There are two extremes ungodly women go to – being disrespectful and controlling or being too passive and too submissive. Neither of those things bring glory to God or healing and health to a marriage. There is a place in the middle where, empowered by God’s Spirit, we can become the women God desires us to be.

      What Does It Mean to Be an Ungodly Woman?
      Godly Femininity

  48. My husband and I have been married for 7 years. He has a 17 year old son with his ex girlfriend from high school. My sisters in law have invited her to several family occasions, which was always uncomfortable for me. My husband recently put his foot down and told them “she is not family stop treating her like she is.” His sisters have told me that she is like a sister to them. The day of my sister in laws wedding my husband and I were blind sighted and didn’t expect her to be there. I feel my in laws have no respect for me or my husband. A couple of months ago my sister in law and I got into it and I told her how I felt about the situation. We haven’t talked since. She told my husband she doesn’t know what she did wrong and I should talk to her. I feel, like I have been put through so much and I pray on the this problem, but I am so hurt. My husband knows how I feel but he says he doesn’t want to be in the middle. How do I get closure from this situation?

    1. MS. V.,
      It’s great to meet you!

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      It seems to me that your husband has expressed himself very strongly about this issue to his sisters or sisters-in-law. Y’all can’t control them or make them stop being friends with his ex.

      You can only control yourselves. I don’t personally see a lot to be gained by you talking after your husband has made his position clear and this is his family.

      What does your husband think is the best route at this point?

      Much love!

      1. Thank you for replying back Peacefulwife! I appreciate your help. My husband and I are catholic. At this point he wants me to talk to his sister (the one that invited his ex to her wedding.) I wouldn’t know where to begin, there is so more to the story but I am hurt and angry and I feel disrespected. I understand that they will always be friends with his ex, I never gave his sisters an ultimatum but I am his wife and I feel his sisters should keep their friendship with his ex separate from me and my husband, just out of respect. Help me to some insight to this situation. Thank you!

        1. Ms. V.,
          I invite you to check out this post before attempting to confront your sister in law.

          Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin. Most of this would apply if you were confronting anyone about sin against you, as well.

          How is your walk with Christ?

          Are you willing to let go of your bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment?

          I invite you to search my home page for these terms:
          – bitterness
          – forgiveness
          – fear

          Much love!

  49. Hi April I live the blog
    Goodness like many wives my husband will not stick or protect me against his family, there had been some warning signs along the way inclucding on my wedding day when father in laws called me a “n” word yes I ma black and my husband white! I was not meant to Hear but he was so loud that well heard him including my husband and his brothers I so hurt by this but as usual my husband laughed it of and will not confront his dad, i love cooking and treating my husband like a king but no he will rather go to his moms for Sunday where they have a family gathering , IDo agree with it as far as I am corcen we now have our own family and should have our traditions too, emotionally I don’t think my husband had left his family of origin and it shows in his actions he left me whiles pregnant with my second daughter went to skiing holiday for a week with his family, I am none driver and it was winter but through it all I still love and supported him! His family make jokes very silly jokes including racial or people apperences they like name calling . His mum does not have any bouderiers and keep stepping the mark it hurts! I gave birth to my second daughter they came to hospital and started making fun of my daughter s name I sat in shock I just had a c section and could hardly move my husband did not say nothing, after three weeks I decide to go and have a word with them as I realised that I so hurt and did not want to keep anger in me I want to their house my husband once a gain did not want to be part of it he decide to play outside with our daughter!

    I Confrated them with love and respect even though I was hurting! They have done things in last and never have I sat down with them to confront them it was my frst time in six years! As usual the conversation turned to themselves it was all bout them and who did what to them but my father in law did did apologise, the next day 10 am they came to our house and yes my mil told me what she thought if me, calling me names for being a Christian (they are not and my husband is not either) she called me any name you can think if under the sun including ‘go. Back to Africa no body wants your hear’ my husband once again said nothing!

    They did tray yo apologise after but goodness it was so fake it was ureal this was follwed by a very insulting card on my birthday’ the women who went to the doctor as she thought she was shrinking’ a clear message that they think I am crazy once again he said nothing!

    I became so stressed out that I was diagnosed with alopecia I became totally bald and now wearing wigs (which I hate but have no choice) I decide to stop going yo my inlaws I have completely distance myself and goodness I feel better if course this is coursing some abutments with my husband as he does not see my point of view his parents have done nothing wrong it was a joke I should get over it! And I have but I can not have a relationship with them I just can’t I prayed about it, and I am at peace! But my mirage is not, no too of everything ? My husband wanted us to invate them yo spend chritsmars with them no chance! We have our two Daughters and I think we should have Christmas with our kids!

    I will recommend book called “Boundaries” it has helped me a great deal!
    I am spending time praying for our mirrage as things are not going well at the Moment as I wil not go to his family,

    1. Judith,

      Goodness, what a mess. Of course, if his family are not believers and your husband is not a believer – they are not going to act like Christ. They don’t have the Holy Spirit and they have nothing but the power of their own sinful selves to live by. How desperately they all need Christ – as we all do!

      I am heartbroken to hear the things they have said and done to you. My prayer is that God might somehow shine His love and truth through you – the only believer in this group. I pray that He might empower you to be the woman He desires you to be for His greatest glory! My prayer is for the salvation of this family and your husband. That is the greatest issue at stake here.

      Does your husband stand up for himself to his own family?

      A post that may bless you:

      “When My Spouse Is Wrong”

      I’m glad that Boundaries helped you.

      What does your husband want you to do? Does he understand your concerns?

      Is it possible that God may want to use you to reach this family for His glory?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Much love to you!

  50. Hello Peacefulwife!

    You wrote beautifully.

    My problem is that my wife doesn’t like my parents. My parents & us live together in the same house. I’ve been married for 10 months now & she has disrespected my parents many times. She gives back answers, is loud while talking to them. She is moody. She doesn’t like my other family members. She denies to go for family outings.

    Generally she talks well with them but if there’s something she doesn’t approve of, she argues with them. I’ve tried to make her understand countless times that you should respect them but in vain.

    Now my parents don’t like her either & they just keep it to themselves. They just expect her to talk to them, care for them & respect them. I’ve said her to make a connection with them, or take my mom out for shopping so she can connect but she simply denies.

    She loves me but she doesn’t wanna scarifies anything for our love. I wish to have kids in next three years but she doesn’t want them for another 4 years. She said she won’t take care of their diapers. She argues with me over petty things. Even if I live with her alone I am not sure if we can be happy together.

    She has good things, she loves me but she doesn’t listens me. My parents are unhappy with me coz they think I am fine with her behavior. I don’t what do I do. Should I continue with her or part ways with her.

    Please help.

    1. Mark,

      Such a difficult problem! I believe that there are two primary commands God gives us in marriage – and when we don’t obey Him on these things, problems inevitably arise. We are to leave our parents and cleave to our spouses. Trying to create your new family with your wife and to be the authority in the marriage and to demonstrate Christ’s love to her is especially difficult when you are still living with your parents. It creates confusion. A wife can easily feel like she was “adopted” more than “married.” It can often seem that the husband’s parents are trying to be the authority rather than the husband – from a new wife’s perspective, at least.

      I would love to see you and your wife be able to have your own place. I know that isn’t always possible. And if it isn’t possible, I would love to see you praying with her about finding your own place and seeking God’s provision for a new living arrangement. I think it would be much healthier for everyone.

      I believe your wife should be seeking to show respect for your parents and for you. But it is not biblical grounds to divorce her if she does not yet understand respect. She may not know what is disrespectful and what is respectful. Most wives today have no idea. So, she will need very concrete examples if you are explaining disrespect to her. “When you roll your eyes, that is disrespectful, Honey.” “Please don’t speak to me/my parents in that tone of voice.” But she continues to need your Christlike love even though she has not become the most godly wife ever yet. The book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs may be a great place for you both to start reading together.

      If you must stay there – please understand the confusion in a wife’ mind when her in-laws are the provider and her in-laws make the final decisions, not her husband. It causes her to inevitably look at her husband as a child, rather than her provider, protector, leader, and spiritual authority. She SHOULD still respect her husband and her in-laws. Yes. But the more you can create separation from your parents and the more you cleave to her and try to create space for you to have your own relationship where you are the loving, humble, Christlike authority – not your parents – the better, in my view.

      I invite you to check out “Spiritual Authority”

      What is her relationship with Christ?

      Did she have a godly example of a mother who joyfully respected and honored her father’s leadership?

      Are your parents believers in Christ?

      What is your relationship with Christ?

      I have some posts about disrespect and respect at the top of my home page that explain in great detail what is disrespectful to many men and what is respectful to many men. Much of it would also apply to respecting your parents, as well. Some wives don’t respond well to their husbands criticizing them a lot. I think you can approach her in a loving, gentle, humble way – and then share some of the things on the list that are the most important to you and to your parents.

      You can talk about that you understand her desire not to live with your parents, and talk about your plan to move out someday. And you can talk about your needs as a husband and her needs as a wife.

      If your parents are believers, you can ask for them to pray for you and your wife, that y’all would learn to have a godly marriage and that you might both grow closer and closer to Christ.

      I believe this situation will require much prayer and sensitivity to God’s Word and to His Spirit.

      1. Thank you.

        Yes I am spiritual, although she is not too much in to it.

        The question remains if I separate & live with her will I be happy? That I am not sure of.

        She is never satisfied with whatever I do for her. Inspite of me always caring for her, she says hurtful words to me. She called me a loser.

        I am a little introvert & have limited friends which she doesn’t like. She always complains that we have very little to do. Although we do go out & have fun but she is never satisfied. If she is awake late night & I ask her “what are you doing this late?” in a very soft manner she replies rudely “Yeah so?”
        She wanted to join a music instrument school & I just out of curiosity asked “I never knew you were in music, you never told me before” to which she got angry with me coz she doesn’t want me to question her.

        As far as I can tell she doesn’t me to lead the way. Her ego doesn’t let her listen to me.

        All these things are pushing me away from her. She fights and argues over small things. How will we stay happy if every other day we would have arguments.

        1. Mark,

          Well, for the believer in Christ, happiness is not our ultimate goal. I actually have a post about how easily we tend to make happiness into an idol.

          For the believer in Christ, becoming more and more like Jesus and knowing Him more and allowing His Spirit to have full control is the goal. Accomplishing His will and bringing Him great glory and honor is the goal. Paradoxically, as we seek Christ and His kingdom more than anything else, He fills us with His supernatural joy, peace, and Living Water which is actually much more substantial and fulfilling than earthly happiness.

          BUT- as we trust Him and seek to obey and honor Him and as we allow His Spirit full control over our lives, we also open the door for Him to work miracles and change hearts – our heart, and our spouse’s heart. You are not “doomed to unhappiness” when Christ is LORD of all in your life. Yes, you may have to make sacrifices at times, that is part of all of us dying to self, taking up our cross, and following Christ. We lay down our will, our desires, our dreams, our wisdom, our plans, and all that we have and all that we are to Him. Then we pick up His will, His desires, His plans, His wisdom, His power, and all of the spiritual treasures of heaven.

          God is able to change her. You cannot. But you can follow Christ with all your heart. He will transform you. And as He does that, He is plenty capable of convicting your wife of her sin and drawing her to Himself, as well – in His timing.

          “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against” – Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage.

          But when we focus on our own obedience to God and our walk with Christ, we are able to get out of His way so that He can work more powerfully in our lives and in our spouse’s life.

          I didn’t think Greg could or would lead me. But as I trusted God, He changed me and then He changed Greg. It was a slow process. It took 3.5 YEARS before Greg felt safe with me again. But I have seen God change hundreds of marriages – sometimes starting with the wife, sometimes starting with the husband. Rarely do both begin at the same time.

          Yes, she is pushing you away right now because she probably doesn’t understand you or that she is disrespecting you or what disrespect and respect even mean – if she is like most women.

          I am praying for wisdom and God’s healing for you both! I pray you might have His power to be the man He calls you to be for His greatest glory!!!

          Much love, my dear brother.

  51. Thank you for the wisdom. This post helped me look at these problems different. This has went on for years. My way if handleing it was always to demand he “put me first”. While I still don’t agree with his methods I now know I have hurt him many times with words about his family. Thank you again. Also its refreshing to me to see a true christian woman. One who believes wives should answer to husband’s (afterGod ) of course. I feel very isolated in this. All my friends and family tell me to get out of the fifty’s. I explain that a wife’s duty is explained in the bible. But still they all try to make me feel wrong and maybe even a little crazy. Thank you again. And thank God that there are other women practicing Gods word of being a good christian wife

    1. billee,

      You are most welcome. Many times, if a wife begins to truly honor her husband and treat his family with honor and respect, as well, tense situations like this may improve – at least in the marriage relationship. Praying for wisdom for you both!

      You are welcome here. I think you’ll find a lot of women who will surround you with love, prayer, acceptance, and blessing here.

      Much love! 🙂

  52. Thank you for a wonderful post. Long story short, during our wedding about 5 months ago, in addition to my parents failing to do something for my wife and her family as part of our culture for weddings and accepting a new daughter into the family, and remarks and slights my wife feels my mom said and made towards her leading up and throughout the wedding process, my wife feels my parents do not love her, and she strongly dislikes my parents, especially my mom. We have been married less than 5 months, and during this time, we fight about my parents every month. I tried to keep a distance between us and my parents in order to help alleviate some of the resentments, but it seems like it has only made it worse. My wife feels like I keep defending my parents, and I am not by her side. Now my wife is saying keeping the distance is the wrong approach, and stated she is disappointed in me for not solving this problem. I am thinking about asking my parents to apologize to her and her family, but I know my parents will be hurt by this. I don’t know what to do, please help.

    1. husband needs help,

      Goodness, that is so incredibly stressful.

      What do you believe the right thing to do would be for your wife and toward your parents?

      Do either of you have a relationship with Christ?

      This is a really difficult relationship dynamic many times – between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Does your wife have a godly wife mentor to talk to about this? Is she willing to move toward extending grace and forgiveness?

      It sounds to me like you may be trying to help her understand your parents’ viewpoint – and maybe your wife is taking that as you are defending your parents. What does your wife believe the solution is?

      Praying for you both and for your parents!

      1. Thank you for the quick response. Both of us are Christians, and my parents have been Christians for a long time as well. I have been reading so many blogs and posts about how the wife should forgive and move on to build that relationship with my parents, but my wife is not going to “bend down” (her words) and take that first step. My wife believes my parents need to be more proactive in their approach, to actually show they love her and want her to be part of the family. I have been trying to help her understand my parents’ viewpoint, but she takes it as I am being blind to what is actually happening. That is what led me to thinking asking my parents to apologize, which on one hand I think will only further drive a wedge between my wife and them. But if no side is willing to take that initial step, I am afraid I might be stressed to the point of breaking. Thank you for listening.

  53. I liked your article. The hard part for me is that since our engagement my husband has let his mother treat me horribly. We have been married 8 years and he never intervenes. It is hurtful and I do not respect him because he is not willing to fight this on my behalf. I’m a very independent woman and I want to respect him but he fails to lead our family not only in a Godly manner but in general. He lacks vision, drive and he is arrogant. He refuses to go to counseling but if I nag him he will agree then he backs out after I find a counselor. I do not trust him or believe in him any more. I do not want him making decisions because I work and I make sure we go to church and I take a job and he has done so many things I advise against that turn out as failures financially then acts like he is a financial genius. Not sure that I should submit myself to that type of husband

    1. N Haus,

      It is wonderful to meet you!

      Would you be able to tell me a bit about your relationship with Christ, please?

      Has your husband worked since you have been married?

      Are either of you dealing with addictions, mental illness, or abuse?

      What is your husband’s personality?

      Are there any things you do appreciate and admire about your man?

      How do you treat him when he fails?

      What do you do and say when he doesn’t protect you from his mom?

      Has he ever stood up against his mom for himself?

      Has he ever stood up to you?

      Much love! I am glad to hash through these difficult things with you if you are ready. 🙂

  54. I am thankful for finding you site. My heart hurts and has been for awhile. I have always felt less than around in laws and was pepetuated by my husband. Example, when they would come for a visit I would come of with things to do, would run it past my husband (who, by the way, is a pastor) he would approve, then once they arrived and we would follow through on plans, he would apologize to them and go on saying things like I don’t know why we are doing this, I know you can’t do this walking or it wouldn’t interest you. All this in front of me, he would do the same for gifts etc. Fastforward 19 years later, I finally had to speak up when she decided to make a purchase for our home and I didn’t approve. It was a blow up, but it had built up. My husband ended up apologizing, but before saying the most hurtful things that hard to forget. (Btw fI’ll died 2yrs agp). Now a year later after fight, he wants to move her in an apartment near us or in with us.
    I have prayed and wept before the Lord and fasted. I don’t know what I should do. My husband is impossible to talk to. He blows up and is a bully if you say anything that goes against what he wants/believes. I am hurting. I would leave if it were not for kids.

    1. Natalie,
      I am so very sorry for your pain!

      Would it work better if your husband planned things for his family? It is confusing to me that he would approve of things to you but then be so apologetic to them as if he knew they wouldn’t like what you had planned. In a situation like that, it seems to me that the husband might need to handle plans, gifts, and issues with his family.

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Is this the only issue in the marriage that is causing you to want to leave?

      You don’t want him to take care of his widowed mom? What do you want him to do?

      Much love and a big hug, my precious sister!!

      1. Thanks! I have turned over the planning and gifts over to him without him realizing it. I love that he wants to honor his mother but what God has shown me is that he has never left his parents to cleave to his wife. He is very difficult to talk to, he diesn’t receive it and ALWAYS turns it on me. I hit an all time low 4 years ago and became quite depressed, but I hid it from everyone. God used that low to teach me many things, to grow mw, to stretch me, but one thing, I have a terrible time expressing my self since he shuts me down with his tone and demeanor. If it were not for my Lord I would have no hope.

  55. I’ll be honest. I’ve read many posts like yours, so I only “glanced” through. Seems that you were speaking to women who have a hard time standing up. What if it’s the husband? I’m extremy ebarrassed to say that I’ve been married 3.5yrs and living at the in-laws while our house is being rebuilt (at a snails pace), and my MIL STILL doesn’t know we’re married!!!! FIL knows, everyone else knows!! My hubby is 48 going on 8. I feel stupid, ashamed and unworthy. Why is my hubby too embarrassed to tell the truth? He says it’s cause mommy will kick us out, but I doubt that. She’s a narcissistic, manipulative, controlling thunder c**nt!! To her my hubby is her second husband (a minion). I feel trapped and lied to. Hubby and I have known each other for a long time (18yrs). He’s always hidden his attachment to mommy… Until 2 yrs into our marriage. Why the lies and deceit? …I have this gut feeling that someday he will leave me for her. It’s sad that I’m justing waiting for my house to be finnished so I have a place to belong and he can stay with her. We can both be happy. How did I get myself into this mess? I believe in marriage, not divorce (I know how that sounds considering what I’ve just written), but this IS NOT how it should be! Not how I was raised. FML!!!

    1. Kitty Burnett,

      Yikes! I think I missed your comment. I am SO sorry!

      I am speaking to women whose husbands have a hard time standing up to their parents or in-laws primarily.

      How are things going? Are you still living with your in-laws? Does your MIL know about your marriage yet?

      Much love to you! I’m glad to talk with you about this if you are interested. 🙂 I will do my best to point you to the healing and hope available in Christ.

  56. I’m so thankful I came across your blog and specifically this post! I’ve been married exactly one year and we dated for about a year and a half before. Needless to say, our first year of marriage has felt like going through a meat grinder. I’ve always been very independent and took care of myself (type A personality). My husband on the other hand is incredibily laid back and takes his own sweet time to do ANYTHING. This has caused a downright power struggle and lack of trust on both parts. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that battling him and going to war doesn’t do anything but push him away and make him avoid me and our home at all costs.

    I’ve been searching for a “better” way for awhile now as things have gotten so bad we are separated. I feel like God meant for me to find this blog and is trying to show me the better way I’ve been looking for. I yearn to be a respectful, loving wife that my husband values and appreciates. I’ve pushed and demanded for so long to be his #1 to build this team of he and I that all I’ve done is pushed him away. And all the while scratched my head as to why I married such a heartless, stubborn man that doesn’t care or love me. Foolish me.

    There is one thing though that I would truly appreciate some advice/counsel on. This is the matter of my husbands family. It has been my BIG issue ever since we’ve been married. It doesn’t seem to get any better, if anything worse, and has caused me considerable amounts of stress, hurt and worry. It’s to the point where it consumes my life and mind. I need to break free from this with Gods help.

    So here is some background. Prior to getting married things were great with his family and I. His mother has always had a strong personality and did a lot in helping to plan the wedding but I viewed it more as a blessing and that she was really excited and supportive of us. Looking back I feel like she steam rolled me at times or talked me into decisions I didn’t really want but agree to so as not to rock the boat or hurt her feelings. This has caused quite a bit of bitterness and resentment over the past year that I know have to her. Now I just view her as controlling and dominating.

    His sister has had a meth addiction on and off for the past couple years. All of his family lives close by. His sister is a constant problem for everyone in the family between money issues, needing help raising her two kids and the constant drama that is her existence. She and I had a run in the day after our wedding where some very hurtful comments were made that I have not let go of or forgiven her for. The family blames her actions on the drugs she was on at the time but it doesn’t aleviate the damage it casued me. This is something I need to let go and release to God but I have such hatred and animosity towards her it seems easier to swallow a sword at this point.

    My husband seems to be very much tied to his family still. In his mind there is no hierarchy of people once you are married. He views us all equally and priority is given to whomevers need is greater at that time. In my mind this is all wrong. I believe that once you are married your spouse comes first and above all else. We war over this.

    His father has health problems and deals with it through alcohol. His mother is controlling and constantingly worrying about her daughter who is an addict and has two young children. So at the end of the day my husband is the only normal one in his family and I think he tries to remain so tied to them because he thinks they will fall apart without him. This is very frustrating to me because I feel like those are their own issues and we are all adults and they shouldn’t constantly drag my husband into the middle of everything especially since we are trying to have our own life and our own family.

    When things with his family arise, I naturally either get upset or disagree with the actions he wants to take to try and help them. This has caused much friction between my husband and I as he thinks I do not like his family and it’s to the point where he doesn’t even bring them up becuase he knows it will be met with either sarcastic remarks or abrasiveness from me. His mother is always wanting to have dinners at her house and between our jobs and schedules, doing a dinner at their house every week is too much.

    I just want time with my husband especially since we are such newlyweds but feel like I constantly have to share him with them. He will not tell her no to these dinners or get togethers so most of the time I stay home upset while he goes. It makes me very upset that he will go against my wishes of him staying home with me and doing our own thing. Other times something will happen with his sister and he will run and drop everything to go see if she is ok or to find her. Again many times against my wishes of him to not go and buy into her ridiculous behavior.

    I feel like they absolutely enable her. When he does these things I feel like he picks them over me and I am not his priority or first choice. I truly need some advice on how to fix this and what I should do. It has gotten so bad that I truly despise his parents and sister because I feel like he chooses them over me and they are more important to me. And his mother is very good at guilting and manipulating him to do things and no matter what my opinion is he does what she wants. It’s like he is married to his mother. I’m not sure if I should divorce him because then I would never have to deal with them again and their destructive ways. I wish they knew how much damage they are doing to our marriage.

    Please help!

    1. firerceandbrave: April will be infinitely more diplomatic in her response to you, I’m sure. My response is simple: If I were your husband, I’d likely be separated from you too. BTW, fierceness isn’t a virtue in dealing with your husband and his family.

      1. I get it. But let me begin by saying lets extend grace to you, your hubby, MIL, SIL and extended family. I believe sis April will ask you about your relationship with God and in particular Jesus Christ because the basis of this will determine the statues under which you will navigate this conflict. As a bible believing Christian, I believe that there is no basis for divorce (unless there has been infidelity). Ideally, you need to find a way to love your husband through respect and submission, honor your parents and his despite themselves. I feel your pain on the SIL and MIL. Please revisit the story of Noah. As an adult, I have found that this story of an arc speaks to putting an arc around your heart (essentially guarding your heart) but still honoring his parents. God shows how he put an arc around hus beloved in the midst of chaos.

        Sis, April will say more but here are things to think through. Remember, you cannot change your inlaws’ dysfunction. Love you in Christ, sis. Seek him in this moment.

    2. Fierceandbrave,

      Oh goodness! There are some elements in your story that I can relate to so much that parts of it are deja vu! Your description of the dynamics and personalities in your marriage are VERY similar to our marriage.

      My husband’s family doesn’t have drug/alcohol issues, thankfully – but when we were first married, I felt they were way overly involved in our marriage and began to hold incredible resentment toward them and toward Greg. I felt they were controlling. Looking back 21 years later, I am able to see that they were different from my parents and that they were truly seeking to help us and love us. I can also see now that the way I responded to them was incredibly disrespectful and hateful. I created a lot of the tension because of my expectations. I remember blasting Greg because, “The Bible says you are supposed to leave your father and mother! You are letting them be too involved in our decisions! Obviously, you love them more than you love me!” And I lost my respect for Greg within about a week of us getting married – then I determined to try to take over and force him to do “the right thing” and for us to make our own decisions. My parents had raised me to be independent and take care of myself – I didn’t want to mooch off of anyone! I was insulted and embarrassed to receive financial help from anyone. Greg’s parents were different. It is not that they were wrong – I see that now. They were different. They wanted to help keep us from going into debt while I was still in college and Greg was looking for a job.

      I could have chosen to respond with gratitude and grace. I could have shared my concerns with Greg respectfully and allowed Greg to make the final decision about how much help his parents’ gave us. I could have turned the issue over to God and trusted His sovereignty. I could have respected Greg and his parents and focused on the things for which I was thankful. I could have thanked Greg for trying to make the best decision he could. I could have thanked Greg’s parents for their overwhelming generosity.

      When God opened my eyes to all of my pride, self-righteousness, control, disrespect, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc… in December of 2008 – I was mortified! I repented to Greg, but I also repented to Greg’s parents for my disrespect and resentment. It was very humbling to have to do that.

      Your husband is in a no-win situation. Yes, marriage is the priority. Well, actually Christ should be the first priority, then marriage, then his family. But, he is still to honor his parents and he still loves his family. Dinner once a week is not necessarily intrusive. What if there are just different perspectives going on here – and what if your husband is not wrong? What if it is a GOOD thing that he loves his family and wants to be there for them? What if he is a loving, responsible guy who loves his mom, dad, sister, and his wife? Why should he be forced in a position of having to choose? Can’t he live with you and be with you most of the time – but also still be involved with his family? That is how a lot of couples do things. We do! We see my husband’s family 1-2 times per week and my family 1-2 times per week.

      A wife can choose to enjoy her husband’s family and to shine a light for Christ there if there is dysfunction. If a wife forces her husband into a position of having to choose between herself and his family – that is unbearably painful for a husband. Yes, if there is no other choice, a husband should choose his wife over his family. But if it is not necessary to put him in that incredibly painful situation, why do that to him?

      As a pharmacist in a very meth-prone area – I understand the devastation of meth addiction. That is a TOUGH, TOUGH situation for everyone in the family. It is scary. I am sure they are all worried about her safety. I’m sure the family needs support and prayer – because this would be devastating to deal with.

      It sounds like you have a great guy there. I think he may even actually love you dearly – even though you feel that he doesn’t. Sometimes men with a more passive personality just show love in very different ways than we type A women expect. I would NOT assume he is unloving. Or even that he doesn’t love you. I bet he does love you deeply – but doesn’t want to be controlled, dominated, criticized, and ostracized from his family.

      Did he initiate the separation? Or did you?

      What would happen if you let him determine how involved he is with his family and if you stop criticizing and hating his family?

      I can tell you this, my dear sister – when a wife criticizes her husband’s family, he feels that she is criticizing him. She drives a wedge into the marriage and puts him in a no-win situation.

      He can see the problems in his family. You don’t have to point them out to him. But when you begin to blast his family, you are forcing him into a position where he feels he has to defend his family to you. You become the enemy now – and he feels forced to protect and defend his parents and sister. That is not what you want! You want him to want to defend YOU. 🙂

      If you allow him freedom to make these choices on his own – sharing concerns occasionally and respectfully and humbly – you will not be the enemy. Then he will be much more free to choose you rather than to defend his family against you.

      I have a lot of posts that I believe would be a blessing for you here.

      How is your relationship with Christ going? That is going to be really key in this situation.

      I would encourage you to check out the posts from this week about giving space and about closeness in marriage being different from what we expected – it is not supposed to be an enmeshed kind of thing.

      I would also encourage you to read all of A Fellow Wife’s posts that you can (you can search Fellow Wife on my home page) – because her situation was VERY, VERY similar to yours. She is now 3 years into this journey, and she has learned to give her husband space to make his own decisions. He is now beginning to move toward her again and to love her in the ways she always wanted now that she is no longer demanding to be “first” and now that she has learned to respect that he is a grown man and that he can make his own decisions about how he spends his time and how much contact he has with his family.

      When we make demands and try to control our husbands – we repel them. When we share requests respectfully, gently, softly, humbly – and probably only once – we give our husbands the choice to please us or not. They are much more likely to come toward us when we allow them to have the choice rather than steamrolling them.

      Your husband will need to see that you love his family. They are not perfect. But you can forgive them and get rid of this toxic bitterness that could very well destroy your marriage. You can also study about what expectations you may need to drop. And about what it means to be a godly wife.

      This post may also be helpful – A Drill Sergeant Approach VS. a Godly Feminine Approach.

      It is not your husband’s job or God’s job to submit to you. Study God’s design for marriage and His commands for you as a wife – you only control yourself. If you are willing to question your beliefs about marriage, femininity, masculinity and your expectations and you are willing to look with fresh eyes at the Bible and God’s desires for you to grow spiritually in your faith in Christ – God can radically change you and very likely, heal your marriage. But first, He wants to focus on your soul and the changes He wants to make in you. This will get you out of His way to work on your husband and marriage. 🙂

      As you learn to submit fully to Christ as Lord and to release control and learn to trust God’s sovereignty, you can rest in peace no matter what the circumstances may be – knowing God will work it all out for your ultimate good.

      How to Make Your Husband an Idol

      Fear Fuels Our Need to Control

      Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected

      The Idol of Control

      The Idol of Happiness

      Boundaries and Control

      These posts will give you a great place to start.

      When you are ready – I would love to help you consider how you might begin to reach out to your husband to start healing this marriage in a godly way.

      Much love to you! I am glad to walk beside you on this journey. 🙂

  57. I may be very late in joining the comments but I’m need MUCH prayer and advice as well . . .

    My husband and I have been married for nearly 6 months. I would expect to be enjoying the honeymoon phase to some degree, but cannot because we are living with his mother and grandmother. It’s stressful coming “home” because each day I have to deal with something different from MIL – her rearranging our closet, taking it upon herself to put away our possessions off our dresser, etc while we are at work and then she cries foul to my husband and expects him to feel sorry for her. Each time she places demands on him (ie, ‘you need to clean the garage/mow the grass/feed the dog’, etc), he takes it out on me.

    Even worse, my husband is very unwilling to leave his mother’s house. Twice already, we’ve had offers from others who are willing to sell us their house for cheap, but I’ve had to reject pursuing it because my husband does not want us to get a house right now. What makes this even more frustrating is that, while my husband bounces between accusing God of not giving us a house and rejecting potential offers to actually getting a house, I have to keep my mouth shut!!! Besides the power of prayer, I don’t know what else to do.

    I can forget talking to my husband about it because, it does not matter if I’m nagging or gentle, he will not listen to me. I’m at my wit’s end about what to do. I don’t feel like I’m in a true marriage; yes, I am married but I feel like there’s an unspoken part of my husband’s heart that will always belong to his mother

    1. StrugglingtoSubmit,

      Congratulations on your new marriage! We stayed with my in-laws for the first 3 weeks of our marriage. I was not prepared for the dynamics and for the feeling of being more “adopted” than married. I didn’t handle things well at all – not with Greg or with his parents. 🙁

      I would be glad to hash through some of these things with you. 🙂

      Is his mom rather controlling? What are the dynamics like between your MIL and your husband?

      What is his relationship with Christ?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Do you believe he feels generally respected by you in the marriage? Does he know that you want to look to him as the leader?

      Is he concerned about finances?

      What do you do when he takes his frustration out on you?

      How are you doing with getting along with his MIL and grandmother?

      1. Thank you for the congrats!

        Based on other family members’ assessments of MIL, yes, she can come across as controlling. The dynamic between MIL and my husband has not been, er, the best. The more she makes demands on him, the further away he wants to get. He makes it clear that he just wants peace, to be left alone, and for no one to be making demands on him, etc.

        I’m not really sure about his relationship with Christ; it’s really hard to tell at this point if he really needs to work things out with God or establish a relationship with Him to begin with.

        My own walk with Christ, as much as I can, is growing. I’m still trying to reconcile between having a vibrant, growing relationship with God while my marriage is, um, not.

        I’ve recently been trying very hard to respect my husband and wanting him to be the leader of the marriage just short of actually saying it. As long as I don’t question his decisions and fulfill his requests when he wants (ie, being ready to eat when he sits at the dinner table), he’s happy with me.

        Yes, he’s very much concerned about finances. He’s been struggling at work so much and worries around the clock having enough money to pay the bills. Our biggest expense right now is food (MIL is very territorial over her kitchen), as we have to fork out for the drive thru and prepackaged items.

        I used to lash back when he took his frustrations out on me, but I’m learning to go to God and vent all of my frustrations on Him. In return He gives me all the strength and grace He can afford to me to be respectful towards my husband.

        I will confess that it’s very difficult to get along with MIL. It’s either withdraw from her and be at peace or have anything to do with her and be subjected to her control, demands, and tantrums. His grandmother, however, is very easy and sweet to get along with.

        1. StrugglingtoSubmit,

          So, she may be rather dominant/controlling and he reacts by being passive or shutting down with her?

          What does she do when he shuts down or walks away?

          You absolutely can have a vibrant relationship with Christ, even if your husband is struggling or your circumstances are frustrating. You have access to all of the treasures of heaven in Christ when you belong to Him no matter what is going on around you!

          Is there a reason why you don’t tell your husband you respect his leadership? Do you think he will respond in a bad way?

          Did your husband’s dad lead? Was he passive?

          I don’t want you to feel that you can’t share your insights, concerns, and perspective. You can share those things respectfully – and probably once, rather than every day. The goal isn’t actually to make your husband be happy with you – but rather, to please Christ. 🙂 Does that make sense? You won’t be passive – you will be sharing your mind, your heart, your gifts, your perspective – but in a way that affirms and blesses your husband.

          If he is extremely concerned about finances, wouldn’t that be the reason he is reluctant to get a house? Is there some goal he wants to reach so that he feels that it is a responsible time to get a house? Maybe he is very worried about providing well for you.

          What does he say about how his mother acts?

          How do you seek to affirm and respect him? Are you seeing any changes in him?

          Is he depressed/discouraged? Do you believe he may be drowning in shame as a man?

          Dealing with a controlling woman is SO DIFFICULT!!!!! Yep. I have a youtube video about this and here is a post that may be helpful.

          Also, Control and Boundaries, Using Guilt to Motivate Is So Destructive, Playing the Martyr, and The Snare of People Pleasing may be helpful.

          Something else that may be helpful is to search these terms on my home page:

          – lead
          – leader
          – husband won’t lead

          I’m so thankful you are beginning to learn some of God’s ways already so early in your marriage. I wish I had done that!

          If possible, I would encourage you to let your husband handle his mom as much as you can.

          Are you experiencing any bitterness or resentment? How are you dealing with that large temptation?

          Much love to you!

          1. Yes, that’s exactly what happens. She will usually keep after him (ie, following him outside, wait on the porch for him when we come home from work) or mess with something of his (ie, rearranging the items on his nightstand) in order to keep nagging at him to the point where he blows up. (then she’ll scamper away and he vents his frustration out on me)

            The reason why I don’t tell him verbally is because, when I’ve communicated respect for him before (“I appreciated how you helped me bring in the groceries last night!”), he didn’t really respond, um, enthusiastically. The best way, so far, that I’ve told him that I respected him and admired him was posting it on his timeline on Facebook. (he likes them) and giving him love notes (which he keeps).

            As for my FIL, unfortunately, he went to be with the Lord 13 years ago so I never got the chance to know him. From what my husband said, he was pretty much the same way, withdrawn from MIL. What’s really scary was that MIL was nagging on FIL about fixing the air conditioner when he keeled over from a heart attack on the front steps of their house and died.

            Part of my struggle (if not all) is making sure that I’m being respectful when I’m sharing my insights and requests to my husband. I’m a very confrontational and straight-shooting speaker by nature, so it takes much to speak respectfully and watch how many times I bring up a matter to him.

            There are big-ticket bills he wants to get paid off (ie, car note, credit cards) before he can become more confident in getting a house, and he’s mentioned that he wants to use that freed up money to put into a house so we can get it paid off. And unless I’m missing something, he doesn’t really see himself as being my provider.

            The only thing he really says about the way his mother acts is that he just wants her to leave him alone. According to him, it’s frustrating coming home to her lists of demands and questions after spending all day at work with other people giving to him their own lists. He wants me to be with him, but he responds much better when I just sit there in the quiet with him and, when he does open up and talk, just make affirming statements without offering my opinion or questioning him on anything.

            And, yes, he struggles with depression. A lot of prayer is definitely needed there!!

          2. StrugglingtoSubmit,

            Oh, yikes!!!! 🙁

            If you read my posts about what feels disrespectful to men – um… your MIL is doing an awful lot of those things! No wonder your husband just wants to get away.

            I wish you could just share my blog with her – but – that may not go over very well, especially coming from a daughter-in-law. But we can pray about that! 🙂 This is the kind of woman I would love to minister to!

            How did he respond to your verbal respect in the past?

            Not sure if you read my post about shame Monday – but – I would venture to guess that your husband may be dealing with a lot of shame – and may be drowning in it. His mom’s actions and attitude toward him are really not helpful – as you know. But they help you understand why a husband would not appreciate being treated that way – with so much disrespect and control. It is repulsive!

            I’m glad that you shared some things with him on FB and in notes. What I want him to experience when he is with you – is a haven of peace, joy, your beautiful smile, your admiration, your encouragement, your willingness to treat him with honor, your willingness to allow him to begin to lead, and your support.

            That is absolutely terrifying about how your husband’s FIL died. Wow. So his dad was passive and didn’t stand up to his wife. And your husband tries to avoid her and avoid conflict but when she pursues him with control and disrespect, he eventually blows up. This is what seems “normal” to him – but, obviously – this is not the pattern you want for your marriage.

            What was your parents’ marriage like?

            It does take a LOT of effort and intentionality at first to learn to speak respectfully. I agree. it feels like speaking a foreign language at first if you are not used to it. But it becomes more natural in time, with the help of the Holy Spirit and a lot of practice and study. 🙂

            I can understand your husband wanting to get these debts paid off before buying or renting a house. That sounds reasonable and responsible – particularly if money is very tight. Does he have a timeframe in mind for how long he expects this to take?

            Did his mom work outside the house?

            Can y’all put a lock on your bedroom door with a key? Seriously.

            If he shares this with her, that her behavior is repelling him – what does she say? Of course, by this point, she is really deeply ingrained in the controlling behavior. Is she a believer in Christ? If so, some sermons or articles about the sovereignty of God may be a blessing. Some of David Platt or John Piper’s sermons, perhaps? or

            I want you to be able to share your feelings, needs, concerns, and opinions. I know there can be a temporary phase where you may need to be quiet. And there are times God’s Spirit prompts us to be quiet and wait and pray. Follow God’s Spirit on that! But if this becomes the normal way of interacting – it is not healthy – and it will create a lot of problems for you as you give up your personhood and influence.

            There is a balance – not being disrespectful or controlling, being respectful, being joyful in Christ, but also sharing our desires, feelings, perspectives, concerns, and needs respectfully. Ultimately the goal is to please Christ – not our husband’s happiness. That is a REALLY big key here! So I wanted to repeat it for extra emphasis.

            Is it possible for y’all to go off by yourselves to do something together – that is free – alone at times?

            I vote to thank him for working to provide for you and for his financial sense and desire to be responsible with money.

            You can’t change your husband. You can encourage and bless him.

            You can’t change your MIL. You can seek to set a godly example. When she is freaking out, you can say, “You know, I hate seeing you so worried and afraid about this. Let’s pray about it together right now,” if you believe God leads you to. God may use you to reach her. Who knows?!?! You can pray for them. And you can continue to abide in Christ and be filled with His Spirit’s power yourself so that God can use you to bless them and to pour His truth, love, and life into the family.

            It is MISERABLE to live the way your MIL is living. And it is miserable to live with someone who is living that way. I want to see healing for all of you!

          3. Yes, please. Prayer is MUCH needed!! I’ve been noticing a change in him, though . . . when I’m not asking him so many questions or giving him suggestions about certain things (as much as I want to), he’s been more willing to open up. I mean, when I just sit there quietly except for, “Yeah”, “Sure”, “Absolutely” when he’s talking, he just keeps opening up! I like this small change because it’s a big step from where we used to be.

            As far as a house is concerned, I’m still having to keep my mouth shut (it looks like this is the season God wants me in, but I have no clue as to how long) because my husband keeps changing his mind. On one hand, he does want us to have our own house but then flips in a matter of days that he’s content for us to have the house that MIL currently owns. I’m not looking forward to that!!! I’m REALLY needing God to change his heart on that because I’m already having a hard time living with MIL enough as it is . . . I don’t want to spend the rest of my married life living with his mother. It’s hard for me to keep silent as I watch him go from “That’s going to be our house” to “Maybe this (MILs house) is our house but we just can’t have it yet”. **bangs head on wall**

            Prayers are needed all around . . .

          4. strugglingtosubmit,

            Such a difficult situation with the MIL. 🙁 Breaks my heart!

            I’m glad he is opening up. That is awesome! I pray for wisdom for your husband and for you about the house thing. I totally understand that neither of you would want to live with your MIL forever. I pray for God’s provision for this need. But most of all I pray that you will glean every treasure from this trial that God has for you and that God might use it to sharpen and refine your faith and grow you in much greater maturity for His glory!

            I pray for healing for your MIL to find freedom from this bondage to control, anxiety, and fear. I pray she might learn to trust God and His sovereignty and to rest in His peace, love, and joy! I pray for healing for your husband’s soul and mind and heart. I pray God might empower him to become a godly husband, man, and leader for His glory!

    1. dipuo,

      That is a VERY painful situation for a wife to be in. 🙁 My heart aches with you!

      Do you and your husband live close by to his parents?

      How long have y’all been married?

      How do you respond when you feel upset about the situation?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      Much love to you!

  58. What I got out of this is the man is the “leader,” the women needs to know her place and that she needs to follow him in whatever he chooses. Garbage. A women does not deserve abusive verbal attacks from the husbands family and just sit there silently and take it. This is crap.

    1. Kari,

      I am afraid you are not hearing my message correctly. So I am really glad you said something! Yes, the Bible does describe that God defines the husband as the leader – but he is subject to God’s authority and he has limitations in his leadership. He is not the absolute authority. There is a BIG difference between the two!

      I have a number of posts about the importance of a woman sharing her needs, desires, feelings, concerns, and perspective. One of them is here.

      I also have posts about how wives can confront their husbands about their sins – which is necessary many times.

      A woman must know her place in relationship to Christ and be in full submission to Him. So must a man. Men and women believers are to die to themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus daily – walking in obedience and submission to Him as Lord.

      There are certainly times, if a husband will not or cannot defend his wife against his family’s attacks, when a wife needs to say something or needs to leave or stay away from his family for her own safety.

      Much love to you!

  59. I’ve been married going on 11 years. My husbands mom smokes in her home. I am allergic to it so visits are embarrassing cause I have to sit outside . His mom feels judged when really its a health issue and pet peeve. We have a ten yr old daughter that I keep by my side and again my mother-in-law acts snobby about it. When we visit I raise cane cause I don’t want us sleeping there. My husband don’t say anything to anyone if they light up around us. How am I pose to handle this? I have a good husband. He works hard. He don’t drink or do drugs. He isn’t abusive. But emotionally I feel neglected.

    1. Anonymous,

      This is a great question! I am allergic to smoke, too – so I can certainly appreciate that being around smoke is a real health problem.

      I’d like to get a bit of a better idea of what is going on. Would it be okay if I ask a few questions? 🙂

      Much love to you!

  60. Peaceful Wife,
    I happened across your blog this morning and it was a lot of what I needed to read. My husband and I have been married for 3.5 years and have an 18 month old daughter; we have always had a great relationship with both of our parents, but we started having some friction when my daughter was born. She’s the first grandchild on both sides, and both my husband and I grew up being close to only one set of grandparents. Both sets of our parents are wildly in love with my daughter, but I often feel left out, jealous, and in need of defending my parents’ rights to their granddaughter.
    My inlaws are incredibly nice people that would go out of their way to do anything for their family. I am blessed to have them. After my daughter was born, I felt like my mother in law was constantly trying to take my daughter from me, leave me out, and act like she knows her better than me. Both of my inlaws often take my daughter from me while I have her, and give me advice on how I need to be raising my child. They are always buying extravagant gifts for her, which makes me feel uncomfortable and like they’re buying the “right” to spend more time with her. My family was not well off so we didn’t have many toys; my husband had about anything he wanted and, as a result, he often doesn’t appreciate what he has (he had a big learning curve on being financially responsible partly due to this). I know much of this is jealousy on my part, but I don’t know how to combat it.
    My family lives about 6 hours away from both of our parents; due to an ill grandfather, we always stayed with my inlaws when we travelled to see our parents for the first 2 years of our marriage. After he passed away, though, I pointed out that we needed to spend more time with my parents. However, my inlaws had grown accustomed to us always being with them, so my mother in law continues to get upset that we don’t spend more time with them. It’s already difficult making that trip over a long weekend and seeing both sets of family, but my MIL always successfully pushes my husband to get more than her fair share of time.
    I feel like I’m constantly having to defend my daughter’s time with my own parents. We always end up at my inlaws’ first where they often let her miss her nap, so she arrives cranky and fussy for most of the time at my parents’ house. We visited our families for Thanksgiving and it turned into a mess where no one was happy. Now that it’s Christmas, despite my wish that we would spend Christmas as a family of 3 (for a relaxing day to spend quality time together, not cooking and visiting), my inlaws still showed up at lunch time. They also brought way too many gifts, purchasing everything on my daughter’s wish list. It seemed like they were trying to outdo everything; now, three days later, my parents are in town to give them their gifts and I know it’s going to be disappointing because most of their toys are duplicates. My mother is so excited about a few gifts, and my heart is already a little broken that my daughter won’t be as excited to receive the gifts.
    I have repeatedly asked my husband to have his parents back off a little. In his defense, he did tell them at Thanksgiving that they needed to reign in their spending a little. However, this weekend I reached my breaking point. I was hurt that my Christmas was a hasty flash of opening gifts followed by cleaning and preparing our house for guests, then an afternoon of watching my daughter open endless gifts from her grandparents. The few times I was able to hold my daughter, someone would always come to take her away from me. This kept happening and after my father in law took my daughter away from me yesterday morning, I ended up crying in my bedroom. My inlaws could tell something was wrong and talked about leaving early, which only made me feel guiltier. This morning my hurt turned to anger. My husband took my daughter from me the moment I was able to hold her and I ended up snapping at him when we were in private. I said mean hurtful things and, when he only responded with a non-thoughtful “sorry,” it made my blood boil even higher.
    I realize this has been a long, rambling comment, so I apologize. We are somewhat new to our area and I haven’t found a good, Christian friend to share this with. I need advice and prayer. I know that I am much of the problem; I keep telling myself that my inlaws love my daughter, and the rest doesn’t matter. It hurts so much when I can’t get even just a moment or two of quality time with my daughter every day, and that my husband isn’t helping me to get those moments. I know I am horribly jealous. I know that there’s a better way to talk to my husband about my feeling, and I hope that there’s some way he can hear what I’m saying. I want to treat him like the head of the family and make him feel like he’s a good leader. But I don’t know how- I pray, but my heart is being stubborn on this. I’ve been struggling with this since the day my daughter was born. Please- I would love to hear any advice that you might have.

    1. Michelle,

      I thought I responded to this comment. I am so very sorry!

      How is your walk with Christ going, my sister?

      Did you and your husband talk about things a bit more? What does your husband believe is the best course of action regarding his parents’ over-generosity toward your daughter?

      It is frustrating when people overstep boundaries. 🙁

      How are you feeling after having some time to think about things?

      Sending you a huge hug!

  61. Hi, I am beginning to resent my husband because of the position he has taken with my in-laws. Every interaction with his family members (parents, siblings, nephews) has resulted in me being completely disrespected. We buy them gifts and give them money regularly and they have never thanked me. When they visit my home, I am completely excluded from everything discussed because they refuse to speak English (they are all bilingual). Sometimes I can tell that they are talking about me bedause i hear my name mentioned during the conversation but I have no idea what they are saying. I try to be hospitable and make them feel welcome. When I address his parents or siblings in English, they completely ignore me and respond to my husband in their language. My husband then paraphrases what they said to him. It bothers me that they won’t speak with me directly. They know how to speak English and this is not a “cultural” thing. I feel so uncomfortable in my home when they visit because I am treated more or less like an intruder. When his family visits they try to control what we do In our home and criticize me openly. The same thing happens when we visit them, however, it doesn’t bother me as much when it happens in their homes. His sisters allow their children to make rude comments to me and they never offer correction. His family did not offer any support for our wedding they did not help me in any way and did not even give us a card. However, his sisters criticized my appearance on my wedding day, criticized the food that was served, criticized the dresses I had purchased for them and made me feel very unwelcome from the very beginning. I have expressed to my husband how I feel and he becomes very defensive and tells me I am being silly because his family has “never done anything” to me. He does not see anything wrong with how they relate with me.
    My husband’s family is very dependent on him. His sisters and/or their husbands call him several times each day. His sisters are very manipulative and seem to crave attention from my husband. One of his sisters regularly pretends to be sick to get attention from him. I need help because I cannot let go of the resentment. I resent my husband for not standing up for me when they visit and allowing them to exclude me in my own home. I am resentful of him for not setting boundaries with these people.

    1. Dee,

      That sounds like a really tough position for any wife to be in. 🙁 My heart hurts with you! If you are interested in having a bit of help with this, I am glad to offer any help I can and will seek to point you to Christ and to the Bible primarily. But I would like to be sure I understand the situation before I attempt to address anything. The last thing I want to do is make things worse!

      If you would like some help, whenever you have time, I would appreciate if you might be willing to answer a few questions for me, please:

      How long have you been married?

      Are you living in his country of origin or yours or a different one?

      Is your husband a believer in Christ?

      How is your walk with Christ going at this time?

      Did y’all have any counseling before marriage about handling the cultural issues and the family issues?

      How often do you visit with his family?

      If possible, would you be able to share what culture his family is from, not necessarily which country (unless you feel comfortable doing that), but which continent or which religious background?

      Is it possible that all of this seems “normal” to your husband because he has grown up with it and hasn’t experienced any other family dynamics? Are there any other English only speakers in the extended family? If so, how are they treated by the family?

      Has your husband ever stood up for himself against his family?

      What are you doing at this point with your resentment?

      Much love and a BIG hug to you!

  62. I feel you’ve written in your point of view.If there is love and trust in relationship then care and protectiveness must be there.A girl leaves her family and go to a new one and its in-laws duty to make her feel comfortable not sad.If your Husband not supporting you in awkward situation then he must be a coward.There shouldn’t be anything like leadership in any relationship. Its all about mutual understanding. Both Couple should be honest in relationship then marriage will definitely work.I am little disappointed with your point view as I find it male centric.

    Wish u a Happy New Year

    1. Saswati,

      I am in total agreement with you that all of the people in the family have responsibilities before God to love, honor, respect, and protect each other. Certainly a husband has that responsibility for his wife, and a wife for her husband. But even the in-laws SHOULD be treating a daughter-in-law well – with a 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 kind of love. And they should be full of God’s Spirit and overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

      However, in this fallen world, many people do not act as they should. They sometimes sin against us. We cannot control others. We can only control ourselves. We can ask for what we need – from our in-laws and our husbands. We can set boundaries if things get really bad and toxic.

      It is not productive, in my view, to label a husband “a coward” if he won’t stand up for his wife. What would be better is for a wife to seek to show faith in her husband and to respectfully share her needs and concerns. A wife can lead in a feminine way – in that she shows faith in her husband and walks beside him as he grows to become the man God calls him to be. Sometimes it does take time for a man to stand up to his family. Not that is should – but sometimes there is growth that needs to happen or conviction that needs to happen or all kinds of things that may need to take place first. Men are not perfect. Women are not perfect. In-laws are not perfect. When we are dealing with sinners, people will do the wrong thing sometimes. There will be a need for grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the wisdom, power, and healing of God to straighten out big messes.

      Of course there should be mutual understanding, love, respect, and honor.

      What is your relationship with Christ, if I may ask, please? 🙂 Have you experienced His love, mercy, grace, and ultimate sacrificial love for you?

      God’s Word, the Bible, has a good bit to say about how God designed marriage and what He intended it to be. If we are seeking to live for Christ, we want to understand how marriage works the way God designed it, not how the world says it should work. Scripture describes that God gave a leadership position to husbands – but not for the purpose of being selfish, lording it over anyone, or being cruel. They are to protect, nurture, provide for, and cherish their wives. Wives are to honor and respect their husbands. Husbands and wives are to love each other with I Corinthians 13:4-8 godly love. My goal is not to exalt my own wisdom or thinking or to promote worldly ideas and human wisdom – but to exalt God’s Word and His plan for our lives that results in healing, joy, growth, and fulfillment.

      Much love to you! Happy New Year to you, as well!


  63. I have been married to my husband for almost 3 years and have had an ongoing problem that I really need some advice on. A bit of background: When my husband and I were dating he was living with his father in a sort of roommate/ co bachelor situation. According to him it was economical and he never saw the need to move out on his own. Once engaged, I convinced him that we should buy a house together, which he agreed to. At first he wanted to move his dad in with us, but fortunately God nipped that one in the bud and we ended up buying a house a few blocks away instead.

    Well, once married, I assumed that we would move into our new place and begin our lives together as a married couple. However, my husband insisted that we continue to go over and “visit” his dad on a daily basis, make him dinner every night and sit with him while he watches reality tv shows (about 3-4 hours a night). I have tried on multiple occasions to convince my husband that the situation he has put us in is enabling his dad to take advantage of us, putting a hardship on us (we purchase extra food every week for his dad) as a couple and taking away from time that we need together in order to grow as a couple.

    His father is retired and has a pretty non existent social life. He sits on the couch all day and watches tv and smokes. He also suffers from depression and some minor instances of paranoia mostly related to leaving his dog alone. He has almost completely isolated himself from everyone else and so my husband insists that if we don’t continue “visiting” him every day he will be upset, possibly cutting us out of his life permanently. He also fears that his dad will allow himself to deteriorate and end up sick or worse. What we call in the hospital setting “Failure to thrive”.

    I understand that my husband cares about his dad and is concerned for his wellbeing. I don’t mind spending SOME time with him every now and then, and making sure he has what he needs, but having to go over after an 8 hour work day and cook for someone who is perfectly capable of taking care of himself (he’s not ill or anything) and spending 4 hours doing nothing (watching reality tv) is a huge burden.

    When I try to bring up the issue or discuss a possible compromise with my husband he gets very angry, accusing me of being selfish and wanting to cut his dad out of our lives. He accuses me of not caring about his father’s wellbeing and tells me that I “have to just accept the things I can’t change”. I want to support and bless my husband. I don’t want him to have to bare this burden on his own, but in a way I feel like he’s choosing his father over his wife (me) and it has put a strain on our marriage. I have asked him several times to go to counselling and he refuses, stating that we don’t need counselling and that a counsellor would only validate MY concerns because that’s what they get paid to do.

    After 3 years of having the same fight, trying it both ways (“accepting what I can’t change”) and also resenting the situation until I’d almost wished somehow we could just be rid of his dad (not my finest moment) I’m at a loss. I’ve spoken with trusted church members including my pastor’s wife who all tell me that this lifestyle of putting a parent before a spouse is anything but normal. I’m beginning to feel emotionally disconnected in my marriage. I just seem to be going on autopilot every night until my husband decides it’s time to leave and go home.

    I have a new husband, new house we totally renovated and a brand new kitchen, none of which I’m spending any kind of valuable time in/with. I’m wondering if I should just make the decision alone to stop enabling this behavior and not participate in the scenario anymore. I’ve told my husband before that I don’t want to go with him anymore and he said it was fine, but the expectation of me hasn’t changed. I’m still expected to go cook on nights that it’s my turn to make the meal and to get things started for my husband on his nights since he works later than I do. Not only that, but I want to be with my husband and he wants to be with his dad so I go along with it because I don’t think I’d ever see him otherwise.

    I want to continue to have a good relationship with my husband and his family, but I want my life back and I want our marriage to be exactly that, our’s and especially God’s. I feel like I’m married to my husband AND his dad. I feel like dinner, holidays and events are monopolized by this problem (All holidays are done in such a way that caters to DH’s father. And my mom has expressed her feelings of feeling left out and it being unfair that we don’t do some of the same things for her too.) I spend regular time with my mom but my husband sees my mom about once a month and only if he has to.

    Please help! I don’t know what to do anymore. I know that God has a plan for us but I feel so defeated by this problem. All I really want is to know whether I’m doing what God wants me to do or if it needs to stop and if so, how do I proceed? I feel like we’ve missed out on so much as a couple because of this time we are spending with his dad. I wish my husband would choose me over his sense of false guilt, but he clings to it. I feel alone in my marriage and am afraid to even talk about it anymore because I know it’ll just lead to an explosive fighting reaction from my husband and me feeling defeated, rejected and exhausted.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Stevie,


      I can absolutely understand your frustration – and I am sure I would feel very much the same way you are feeling about this arrangement.

      I’m glad your husband loves his dad. But, this does seem a bit overboard. Has he lived with his dad his entire life? Does his dad use guilt if your husband is not there?

      How is your walk with Christ going?

      What do you believe God is prompting you to do?

      What are you praying for?

      What are you doing with the bitterness that would inevitably result from this situation?

      I’d be glad to help you hash through things and I will do my best to point you to Christ!

      Much love!

      1. Wow! Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, Peaceful Wife. You asked about my walk with Christ and I do admit it goes through seasons. Right now I’m in a season of seeking answers and a lot of prayer. I pray for healing for myself and my husband. I pray that God would continue to shape me and make me a blessing to my husband. That He would show me what He wants me to do and that He would work in DH’s life and make him the man that God wants him to be. So right now I guess I’m in a wait and see wasteland. Waiting to be shown what to do and where all this will lead.
        You also asked wanted to know about what I’m doing about the bitterness. I’m finding that I don’t really talk to hubby or his dad when we’re over there. I bring my computer and will put my headphones in and watch a movie or learn a language or something like that.
        The two of them will complain about people and things that happened that day or talk about cars or football, all of which I know very little about. I know I should probably try harder to get involved but the truth is I don’t want to put in the effort anymore.
        I find myself wishing sometimes that I had married someone else or better yet not married anyone at all. I would never dream of leaving or divorcing my husband. I know that’s not God’s will. Christ is the only one I have in this. Without Him I would crumble. He is the only one that I feel truly loved by.

        1. Stevie,

          Did y’all talk about expectations before marriage? Or did you have premarital counseling about what your relationship would be like with his dad as a couple?

          What happens if you spend a few evenings at home (your house) each week by yourself? Is that a possibility?

          I’m really glad you are focusing on Christ. The wait and see wasteland – is actually a time that can bring about the most amazing spiritual growth. I think of it as when Israel was in the desert following God.

          What do you believe you need to be happy?

          What are your greatest fears?

          It is true, that even if you had the “best” human husband, only God would be able to fully, totally, unconditionally love you and fulfill you and bring real purpose, contentment, meaning, acceptance, and real love into your life. Only Christ can meet our deepest needs.

          Praying for wisdom for you and for your husband and that God might make this into something beautiful for His glory!

          I would love for you to check out these videos on contentment on my Youtube channel and let me know what God may speak to your heart.

          Much love!



          1. Hi Peaceful Wife,

            I’ve been watching your YouTube channel and I have to say I absolutely love your insights. It’s so helpful to be able to go through and see videos and helpful tips about all the things I’m going through and questions that I have. You’re such a blessing.

            I have been thinking a lot about what you said about being content in the Lord and His love and grace being sufficient. You’re absolutely right, that without Christ I am nothing and God loves me and is the only fulfillment that I could ever hope for in my life.

            The situation that I’m in has definitely brought about changes in me that I probably would never have had. God has broken me in many ways using this trial. I’ve been asking God to show me why this change of situation is so important to me and asking myself “what would make me happy?”

            The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not about going to my father-in-law’s house every day. Although, it is a burden and I would rather come home and be in my own environment after a long day at work I don’t mind helping out if that’s what God is asking me to do. It’s more about wanting to spend more quality time with my husband and finding things that we can do together to connect and grow as a couple.

            I’ve asked my husband in the past to add days during the week that we can spend together. For example I’ve been going to a new church and they have a group that meets on Thursday nights. Since he doesn’t get the opportunity to attend regular services I asked if he would go with me. He told me it was inconvenient for him and that he would be tired so I told him that was fine but asked if I could go by myself. That made him angry and he ended up saying, “Fine, if that’s what you’d rather do than having “our night” then that’s what we’ll do.”

            We already take a couple of hours on Mondays and we cook at home on Wednesdays (“our night”) and I cherish those times because I feel like we connect better and can pay more attention to each other. When we’re at his dad’s house we’re all just basically occupying the same space. I thought we could add a night of worship and seeking God together since we don’t really do that as a couple anymore. We used to all the time, but it’s stopped recently so I was excited about another opportunity to start going again.

            When I asked if I could go by myself he got even angrier and complained about having to work all day and then come home and make dinner, himself. I feel like I can’t win. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that I feel trapped and like I’m not allowed to have a life outside of what he wants me to do from 5pm-9pm everyday. I also feel like he’d rather spend his time with his dad rather than spend it doing something with me. That’s fine and I’ve told him that, but he won’t let me do something else with my time.

            You asked what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of my husband’s anger. He’s usually very good, but there are times that he can be so mean to me. He has expectations that I can’t always meet and when I don’t do what he wants or thinks I should do he gets mad.

            Sorry, this is getting really long. I guess the point is I’ve realized that maybe I’m not respecting my husband the way I should be and that I need God to change that part of my relationship. I also need to learn that blessing my husband is not a chore but should be a privilege. So I’m going to let God work on me and be obedient to Him and see what kinds of things He will do in me and see the changes that He will bring to my life.

            Thank you for your prayers and your blessings.

            Warmest regards,


          2. Stevie,

            It is not wrong for you to want more time at home with your husband. He is not necessarily wrong to want to be with his dad so much – but very few wives would be excited about that.

            When he gets angry, do you feel responsible for his anger?

            Do you feel like you are able to share your needs and be okay if you have a reasonable request and he gets angry? What might happen if he doesn’t like your request? He understands that you don’t really want to be at his dad’s so much, right? Or does he know that?

            Would you be interested in talking about some approaches you could pray about?

            Do you believe it is never okay if your husband is angry with you?

            Are you responsible for your husband’s emotions and happiness?

            Is he responsible for your emotions and your happiness?

            I’m glad that you are focusing on God and allowing Him to work in you!
            Much love to you!

          3. Peaceful Wife,
            I grew up with parents who used the same tactics of manipulation in order to get us kids to do what we were supposed to. I was always a people pleaser from a very young age. I remember being embarassed at school if I got any sort of correction from the teacher because I almost NEVER got in trouble. I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed in me.

            I realize that I still have a long way to go to heal from such deep wounds and conditioning but I know that I can’t be responsible for people’s happiness. I do still feel responsible when someone if upset and it’s a direct result of something I have done or didn’t do.

            I feel like I can make minor requests without upsetting my husband, but this is an EXTREMELY touchy subject. I’ve tried several times and several tactics but it always ends up the same, explosive anger and two days of not talking to me. I’ll admit that I have not always been easy to talk to, playing the martyr and also using manipulation tactics to get my way. I thought I really had it the last time I approached him though.

            I had thought for days about what I was going to say, my tone, I wrote out my reasons and basically had a whole presentation and speech prepared. I was ready! Same result. Maybe I did what you told me not to and used to many words and feelings?

            So to answer another question, yes. He does know that I don’t necessarily want to be there, but I’ve been less boisterous about it since the last attempt. I think maybe he just thinks I’ve given up and accepted things as they are. And maybe I should?

            I’m more than willing and happy to entertain new ways to pray about this.

            As far as whether or not it’s never ok for my husband to be angry with me, I don’t really know if I believe that. I know that there are always circumstances and situations that arise in any relationship where people will become angry with one another, but I feel that his anger is often unwarranted and it’s not because of something I’ve done wring but because of expectations I failed to meet.

            I try not to make myself or him responsible for the other person’s happiness in our marriage, but I do feel that it is my God given responsibility to bless my husband so I try to do what I think God wants me to do.

          4. Stevie,

            I had a big issue with people pleasing myself. I have some posts about these topics that I pray might be a blessing:

            People Pleasing
            Playing the Martyr
            Using Guilt to Motivate
            Control and Healthy Boundaries

            Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Happiness?

            The Idol of Happiness

            You may also search “conflict.” Not sure if you saw Radiant’s post about “It’s Not OK for Me to Have Needs, Emotions, or to Ask for Things”?

            It may be wise to wait and pray before attempting to address this again – until you know for sure what you believe God is prompting you to do.

            There is a balance here that is delicate – you do want to respect and bless your husband. You want to be a godly wife. But you don’t want your husband or his happiness to be an idol and you don’t want self to be an idol.

            Would you want to share how you attempted to approach him last time?

            Much love to you!

          5. Hi April,
            Thank you so much for the links. I didn’t realize that control and misplaced guilt were actually considered sin. It helped a lot to read the various articles you suggested and it gave me a different perspective on things.
            It’s true, I’m not, nor should I be in control of others and I cannot allow others to control me using guilt and anger. On that note I do agree with your previous statement of there being a delicate balance between what I don’t need to put up with and being a doormat and what God requires of me when it comes to biblical submission to my husband. I suppose I need to pray and ask God what I must do in situations where I feel that I’m being manipulated, but I still want to bless my spouse and be respectful and submit to something he is asking me to do.
            In a way my husband is asking me to sin by continuing to not trust God for his father’s well-being and allowing my husband to control the situation. However, if he thinks he’s doing what is best for his father then who am I to tell him that it’s not what God wants?
            I also know that I’m FAR from the wife that God has called me to be and since finding your blog and videos, have been asking for Him to change me and the way I view my husband and my marriage. I know it will be a long and painful process but I don’t want anything but God’s best for me, my husband and our marriage. My views have been deeply distorted and I’ve repented of all the negativity, selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness and blame, among so many other sins I’ve harbored for so long.
            Thank you for helping me through this journey. God bless!

          6. Stevie,

            I had no idea how much sin I had in my life for decades – with all my people pleasing and trying to control others. I really thought I was right. I didn’t understand healthy boundaries and that brought me, God, and others a lot of pain. I also didn’t trust God, but trusted myself, thinking I needed to be responsible for a lot of things really God is responsible for. That was stressful!!! God can handle all that weight but my shoulders couldn’t. There is so much peace in resting in His love and sovereignty and in knowing where my boundaries and responsibilities should be.

            Often, as we begin this journey, we kind of swing too far one way and then too far the other way – into being too quiet and passive, then too dominant and controlling – until we find the balance with God’s help. YES! Prayer and the prompting of God’s Spirit is exactly what we need to know exactly how to handle each situation! God will direct us as we listen and yield to Him.

            I don’t know your husband’s heart or his motives. I don’t know if he is asking you not to trust God for his father’s well-being. It seems that he is probably trying to do what he thinks is best for his dad – and maybe for you, too.

            I’m excited that you are willing to allow God to work in your heart, mind, and soul and that you are willing to let God radically change you. This is awesome! I love your heart for God and for your marriage. Praise God that you repented of all of that sin – there is so much freedom, joy, and peace in getting rid of all of that icky, toxic stuff and embracing God.

            You are most welcome!

            Much love!

          7. Hi Peaceful Wife,
            I went back and read the comments and realized that I hadn’t answered a couple of imprtant questions you asked. The first was “Has he lived with his dad his entire life? Does his dad use guilt if your husband is not there?”
            My husband had a very troubled childhood. There was a period after his parents divorced that his mom married an abusive man who would beat him up a lot (he was 11). So his aunt rescued him and he lived with her for a number of years before going to live with his dad as a teenager. He told me that he moved out once but came back and had been living with his dad until we got married and bought a house (he was 32).
            His dad uses anger as his manipulation tactic when he doesn’t get his way and there are times that he won’t talk to us for weeks if there’s something going on.

            The other thing you asked was did we “talk about expectations before marriage? Or did you have premarital counseling about what your relationship would be like with his dad as a couple?”

            The short answer is no. We did have a couple of sessions with our pastor before we got married where we sat down and he asked us a series of questions pertaining to marriage, but the issue of adopting a parent is pretty uncommon so the subject never arose and to be honest I didn’t really think about it being a problem later on. I had expectations of how marriage was built up in my mind. I guess I expected that once we were married my husband would leave and cleave.

            That obviously didn’t happen.

            Thanks again for your insights. Blessing!

          8. Stevie,

            That is helpful for me to understand. So, he is afraid of his dad’s anger and a guilt trip from him, and you are afraid of your husband’s anger in the same way, maybe?

            What does your husband do when his dad won’t talk to him for weeks? Does he get really upset? Or is he calm and just waits it out and knows it will be okay?

            Much love to you!

          9. Yes, he usually waits it out and carries on like everything is normal. It used to really upset him but I think he’s realized more that he can’t make himself responsible for his dad’s mood swings. That being said, it still hasn’t stopped him from believing that he is the only one who can save his father from himself and I got swept up with the current.

          10. Stevie,

            That is interesting. Now he doesn’t get upset? I’m glad he is not feeling responsible for his dad’s moods. What do you believe he wants to safe his father from? What does he think would happen if he were not there all the time?

            When you get a chance, I would love to hear about your thoughts about your husband’s anger and how you think about that.

            Much love!

  64. Is this blog still active? I have something encouraging to add but would feel silly putting it all out there if nobody answers…..

  65. Thank you for the fast answer!
    My husband was the type that would not defend me. Ever. I have been subjected to lies, name calling, insults and had my character assassinated on a regular basis by his mother. My husband would hear most of it and if it were possible, would slide out a back door. Just like you, I had a need to be “right” about his lack of defense. I was even accused of domestic violence by her. She phoned my family and demanded help in breaking up our marriage of 20 years. None of what she said was in any way true.

    I had two weapons at my disposal: God and prayer.

    I left him one day. I called him to let him know I would not be home for a few days and refused to let him know where I was. That was actually the Lord leading me. I wasn’t intending to leave him permanently. When I came home a few days later he was truly scared. I tried to be gentle (though I may not have been) and let him know that I only physically abandoned him for a few days, but he had been doing that emotionally to me for two decades. That woke him up. I mean, really woke him.

    Then I went into prayer and fasting about our marriage. At this juncture I should say that I became a Christian about 9 years into our marriage. I was agnostic when we married. My husband was raised to be something between atheist and agnostic. He still is, but I am watching him creep ever closer to Christianity.

    What happened? First I had to understand my husband. He loved his mother so dearly that he couldn’t fathom that she would lie to him and even try to destroy our marriage just to suit herself. My sister wisely advised me to keep my mouth shut on the subject. She knows how very hard that is for me. As time and prayers progressed, my husband began to notice his mother still attacking without provocation. The more she attacked, the less he associated with her. She now claims I am keeping him from her, but she doesn’t realize that’s her son’s choice. I had nothing to do with it. He still calls her once or twice a month, she is still his mother. I’m completely fine with it. But he will no longer go to see her.

    Recently he has put his arms around me, told me how much he loves me and that he now sees how he failed to protect me. The Lord has strengthened our marriage. We still bear the scars but those are also healing. I have forgiven his mother, although the relationship is severed between the two of us. I pray for her to find peace and the Lord.

    I felt after reading all these messages that a word of healing and encouragement might be welcome.

    1. Happily gave up,

      I love your story! Not the painful part – because it sounds VERY painful. But I love that you sought God and His voice and you wanted to honor Him and tried to follow His wisdom for you in this situation. And I love the healing that is taking place in your marriage. I pray God might open your husband’s eyes to Christ.

      Thank you so much for sharing!!!!! 🙂

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ!

Thank you for sharing in our discussion here. Much love to each of you!

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