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Wife Harbors Hate And Resentment Toward My Parents

by Anonymous

My wife and I have been married for twenty years, we have three children between the ages of 8-13. Over the course of our marriage my wife has tolerated and sometimes got along fine with my older sister, her husband and my parents.

It was never a perfect relationship, but where we could have holiday dinners and visits. Until now, we've lived at a distance from my side of the family and it requires a planned trip for visitations. Any fighting or disagreements with my wife were often tied to my family or issues relating to my family.

A year ago, my parents decided to retire and move to our community. At the time, my wife and I were struggling. She battles depression and throughout our marriage there are periods where I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster ride. It can be emotionally draining.

My parents felt that they needed to be closer to us to provide support. This proved to fuel the problems, as the situation worsened. Despite my advising my parents that it would be best they not move so close, they bought a home and are within 5 minutes of us.

My wife and I have attempted to get counseling over the years to help with coping, with very little improvement. My wife has spiraled downward and at one point threats of suicide forced me to check her into a clinic for 72 hour stay. She is now on a prescription which mellows her anxiety, but it doesn't really solve the problem from my perspective.

I love my parents, but to reduce the tension, I have had to step back in a major way from communications/visits. It has been a struggle to negotiate any visitations for the kids, as my wife has harbored so much hate and resentment toward them that she'd like to see them dead and gone.

My parents aren't perfect and my mom can be controlling in her own way. They would attend every grandchild's school or church event if we hadn't put up parameters. My wife and I moved to the community five years ago to establish roots. We are heavily invested in our school and church, but feel that if my parents won't leave we have little choice but to pick up and leave ourselves.

I realize this is a "running away" mindset and doesn't resolve the issues with my wife and family. However, I feel like stepping away from the heat of the "fire" is necessary.

I've accepted that my wife may never interact with my parents again. That's a difficult thing for me. I love my wife, but struggle knowing that she holds so much "hate" in her heart toward my parents.

I question my Christian husband responsibility to myself and my kids. I know I'm not responsible for my wife's soul. However, I do care about it and would like her to get some resolution. At this point, outside of a miracle from God I don't know where else to turn.

Perhaps I should face reality and make the hard decision to leave the marriage. I've never felt that that was the right thing to do in terms of my commitment to the marriage and my children. I know divorce is very ugly and damaging for all involved. Since I still love my wife, letting go like that is not something I've been able to accept.

My parents feel that our leaving the area would be a mistake and it would have a negative impact on our kids and their friendships. I don't disagree, yet having a healthy core unit family is in my mind a higher priority than my children's friendships. I thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

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Nov 14, 2014
Your Commitment To Your Marriage Is Commendable
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. This is obviously a very trying and difficult situation you find yourself in. Certainly, there are no easy answers. I will do my best to offer some ideas that might prove beneficial to you.

I greatly respect your devotion to your wife, and to the goal of preserving your marriage and keeping your family intact. I don't believe that divorce is always the wrong choice, but I do believe it is important to do all you can to preserve your marriage as long as it is viable.

The fact that this takes you away from contact with your parents is indeed unfortunate. I truly hope your wife can get some help, and find her way to love and acceptance.

Meanwhile, all I really have to offer you is an exercise you can do in your own mind and heart to help yourself and your wife.

1) Every time you think of her, see her at her very best in your mind. Think of this as a kind of positive prayer that you do on a regular basis. This is an alternative to worrying about her and seeing her in terms of her problems when you think of her. Do this regardless of her behavior, mood or attitude. It will lower your stress, and she will feel the positive regard when you are in her presence.

2) Try not to help her in terms of offering solutions and advice. When she speaks of her problems and feelings, reflect what she's saying and express empathy for her viewpoint, even if you totally disagree and think that she is wrong in how she sees things. These communication skills will help with that.

3) Trust her, believe in her, and do your best to hold her in the highest possible regard. Spend time and energy on this, and I think you will like the results.

4) As you imagine her doing well and operating at her highest and best level, also picture things working out with your parents. If you incorporate this into your prayers, it will be even more powerful...but be sure you actually see and imagine things working out, and healing occurring in those relationships.

I hope this helps. I can tell you're a good man, and I wish you all the best on your journey.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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