Do you think that the immediate family should come first vs the in laws?

@cream97 (29166)
United States
June 11, 2008 6:32am CST
When in a marriage, should the immediate family become first in line? I feel that when two people become married, the husband has to set boundaries for his other side of the family. There should be a level of respect coming from both sides. I try to do my best to respect both sides. But sometimes, I notice that my in laws don't quite respect my marriage. Since, we are now married, should my voice mean anything? Should I be placed on the back burner? Who should come first?
14 people like this
46 responses
• United States
13 Jun 08
Everything is according to perspective. Yours and everyone else needs to be weighed fairly. It is easy to think that someone else is coming first in line. It is hard to objectively determine it fairly. Your husband's mom will remain his mother. His father, still the father. So when Mother's day comes around, the Mom will hope for a visit. The same with Father's Day or dear old Dad. Now, would you consider it being "Put on the back burner" if you husband likes to visit his mom every mother's day. Do you somehow imagine that there should be a Mother's Day when he just stays with you and ignores that she exists? How about holidays? Do you think that visiting family is not a worthwhile tradition for the holidays? Do you think you should be able to have a Christmas just at home without visiting the in-laws? Your in-laws might find that violating their family tradition. Your husband might find that violating his idea of a family tradition. With one paragraph, I can't really know where you are coming from. I have seen many people in my life who seem able to present the other side of the story as if it is foolish. Saying, "Shouldn't I come first?" Seems pretty obvious. Unfortunately, some people expect more when "coming first" is involved than others. So, let's just imagine a few situations. Let's assume a man and wife get married. The man has a family tradition of going to see his parents and grandparents. The wife has no such tradition and her parents live to far away for a visit. Now, if the family tradition is to visit family, the husband will feel that it is entirely reasonable to visit his family every holiday. The wife might pine that she should "come first" and in this mean that holidays should be held at the new family house and .. if the in-laws want to see them they should come there. Is that really reasonable? I do not think so. If you are trying to coordinate visits between multiple parties, for instance siblings, spouses, and grandchildren, it is easier to have everyone stop by the parent's house at their leisure and for the parents to hold still. Most families aren't going to push Christmas, for instance, around to the house of a different sibling every year. That would be obfuscated by the tradition of alternating family holidays with alternating sides of the family. The logistics become a burden. The same with Mother's day. A husband should visit his mother on Mother's Day if at all possible. It is rude to expect a mother to make the rounds of her children's houses in order to see people for Mother's Day. Now a wife could say, "Shouldn't I come first?" with this situation in mind. She's a mother, too. However, I think that contesting Mother's Day is a recipe for disaster. Is it really worth an argument and the mother-in-law's ill will? On the other hand (and looking at an issue from multiple vantage points is always wise), there are husbands who never seem to cut the apron strings. The wife is constantly overruled by a dominant and forceful mother in law. This, I would expect can get old quick. In my family, my wife wanted to have family holidays at home. She didn't want to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Mother's Day at my mom's house. I found this behavior to be terribly disrespectful and it caused arguments. We do, now divide holidays between going to see my family and staying in my home town. This means that my wife gets a holiday and my mother gets a holiday. I do not see any family value in having a holiday without visiting family. But, if I didn't give in to my wife's point of view on this issue, there would be no end of arguing. So, we all compromise as best we can. So, again, I return to the question as you phrased it, "Do you think that the immediate family should come first vs the in laws?" It seems to me that the idea of "coming first" sounds a bit demanding. If there is truly respect for both sides, then ever interaction is an attempt at peaceful compromise. Neither side should feel they come first or last. Being married does not absolve one from having to cope with the complications that our spouse's relations bring to the table. I have to visit my wife's grandpa and be sent home with a bag of stuff I never asked for but have to pay a few dollars to get. I get calls from her other grandpa who was to see us but whom she has a lukewarm at best relationship. I have to listen to the problems that this or that person is having. And, her friends of course make their own requirements. Should I be sitting down and saying "Shouldn't I come first?" I do not think so. I think if you love your spouse you have to find a way to work with the in-laws.. for your spouse's sake. But, if you truly feel you are getting shafted on a regular basis by your in-laws, then I think you certainly need to sit down with your husband and work out the details. You should be important enough that he also cares about how you feel. If he can't be convinced to do so then, quite frankly, you shouldn't be married to him. (On this, I and the Catholic Church disagree. The Catholic Church essentially believes you are just stuck with him now. I think a spouse is unfaithful if they are not willing to compromise and work with their partner. I see no reason to tolerate unfaithfulness.) Best wishes.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
14 Jun 08
Thanks for the insight. But let me tell you about my husband, the real him... He is the type of man that does not celebrate any holiday. With me, or his own parents.. He is not interested in these things.. Since, he does not do this, then there is no competition.. I never try to keep him from his family. I just don't want him to push me aside and take his other side over me. Which has happened before.. So, that is why, I feel the way that I feel. I have been mistreated by his mom so many times. I can't convince my husband to not be around his family, because he will.. He is a stubborn man set in his own ways.. There is no use in changing him.. Believe me, I am fair in this marriage. I just want his family to show the same respect for me, as I do for them. I am not here to cause any trouble.. His family says how they love me all the time, but then they do really mean things to hurt me. And I never try to hurt them back. Yes, I agree with you about his side of the family being just as important as I am.. But, when it comes to being married there has to be boundaries that are drawn.. No matter how much they may love him.. If I can have my side of the family respect my part of the marriage, then he can do the same thing as well. My sister-in-law is a vet bitter woman.. She wants me to leave her brother.. She thinks that he is no good for me.. She has nothing better else to do, but to destroy what I have with her brother. I am in no kind of competition with any of his family.. Although, I am afraid that they see me as being competitive.. From their own perspective..
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 Jul 08
Hi Daddy =) I wanted to give you a little input about mother's day. Before I got married and became a mother myself, we usually did a family thing with MY mother for mother's day. Now that I am married and I am a mother, we do family things on our own. Our extended families live in other states, but even if they didn't, maybe we'd all get together for a meal or something, but I would still want to celebrate alone with my husband. As far as holidays, when I lived near my extended family, everybody wanted to do it at my house because well... we had the biggest house. *sigh* This meant lots of extra work and cooking for me, even if we did do potluck style and everybody brought a dish. This isn't to say I didn't like the get togethers, it was just a lot of work. These days, we celebrate our own holidays with just us. It's actually relaxing. If our families lived close enough to make getting together feasible, we would indeed swap off each year or decide where we were going and where we weren't going each year. I would never decide to always be the one to travel around and see 5 different people. That's too much traveling for the kids and then you get no relaxing time. As far as the whole 'shouldn't I come first' thing, it's clearly priorities. If you do not really want your first priority to be your wife or husband, then maybe you ought to think twice about getting married. If you do not want to have your other top priority to be your kid(s), then perhaps you shouldn't have any. If you still want to continue to keep your parents on a pedestal when you're an adult and it's time for you to have your own life, I just don't know what to think about you. I am not not trying to be hurtful in this response. I just don't see the purpose in trying to allow parents the priority which should be for a spouse and children only.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
7 Jul 08
Yes, I don't do so either. When the two of you are married.. Then the parents comes next.. Any and all decisions that the married couple will make, is now up to them. The parents just have to face the fact that the couple has to make these rules.. Like it or not.. They will have to be placed on the back burner.. This is just for their own benefit.
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Your immediate family comes first. But you learn to give a little when someone is very sick. Neither of us neglected our parents when they were sick or dying. My Mother is 91 and still lives alone and my husband never bothers me about my wanting to go see my mother. And I was the same with his parents. If there are interfering siblings on either side, you take up for your immediate family over your brothers or sisters! Husband and wife are life-long partners and should listen to one another.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Yes, and when you have jealous siblings, then the marriage can become short termed..
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Thank goodness my husband and I married for life and have never let others interfere in our personal business. That in itself has caused some of his older sisters some problems. :) But we've lasted for almost 44 years.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
12 Jun 08
Yes, I agree. Keeping siblings out of your marriage is the right thing to do.
@Jhordie (5115)
• Philippines
12 Jun 08
My immediate family should be first because they are the ones who help me, mold me, and have been the instrument of God to make me who I am now. I owe them more than my future in-laws... though I owe all to my in-laws when it comes to raising their daughter to be someone that she is now that i came to love and cherish.
1 person likes this
@kaleegirl45 (1474)
• United States
12 Jun 08
hi cream97 your family comes first, before anyone else. And what I mean by this is you, your husband and kids. than yours and his family. If you in-laws don't respect your marriage you have to let them know.If you have an opinion you hve every right to be heard. And don't let anyone put you in the back burner. Especially in your own home. I always put my kids and husband first. If my mother in law doesn't like what she see or hears, oh well. She once tried to tell what to do in my own home. and I told her that me and my husband do everything together, we go 50/50 on everything. she didn't like it, because she said I had to clean, cook, wash and work so that her son, could come home and relax. I told her that if he didn't like that thing were in our house, that he could leave anytime. We both work, we both do everything around the house. Now I stay home and I cook, we both wash and he still helps me around the house.
1 person likes this
@grammasnook (1877)
• United States
11 Jun 08
It really all depends on the situation. If his mom is sick and you decide that you have made plans for dinner and he wants to be with his mom well his mom should come first. Do you put your family on the back burner meaning your mom sisters brothers and so on. We try to make everyone happy when we are married. When you get married you marry everything that comes with him. He may just feel the same way about your family as you do about his. If he feels his family isnt respecting your marriage then everyone should sit down and talk, but it has to come from his mouth. Good luck
1 person likes this
@rinkub (231)
• India
11 Jun 08
Well, it all depends on the situation at hand and on individuals. But, for women, I've noticed, once she gets married, it's her husband and her kids( once they arrive) who take precedence over her own family. But again, it depends. For me, even after my marriage my parents continued to be equally important in my life. But, for men, their families as in parents and siblings continue to be as important as wife and children. Though, again in case of my husband, I know his immediate family as in our son and I are very important. But he continues to be as close to to his own family. There's a difference between being close and having more responsibility. Sometimes, out of a sense of responsibility, one cannot ignore others in the family. And, sometimes, despite no real responsibility, out of closeness and love you are close to other members in the family. It's all a matter of individual choice. In fact, the meaning of the term 'immediate family' itself is relative, differing from person to person. This is getting too long, but I have to narrate this incident: My in-laws visited us recently. The room in which they were staying also had the computer. My eight-year-old son had just finished his exams that day and two of his very close friends dropped by. They played for a while and then sat at the computer for about an hour. Suddenly, my son came running into my room crying saying that his grandpa had insulted his friends by making comments on why they were there for so long, didn't they have a home, was this why they came to our house, etc. I was in a fix as I didn't know what to say. I directed my son to his father to whom he complained about grandpa. All this while, my son was sobbing away. You know what my husband did? He scolded our son saying that his grandpa had the right to say whatever he said as he was an old man and he was resting and with the boys in the same room he was getting disturbed. When I told my husband that he was being unfair to our son and did our son not have the right to bring home his friends, my husband simply said 'he is my father and he's old'. Surprisingly, our son stopped crying. Later at the dinner table, when our son was in his room, I heard my husband telling his father that he had been wrong in insulting his grandson's friends and that he had always been like this even with his(my husband's) friends and had never liked his son bringing his friends home. I knew the way my husband had handled the entire matter was wise, though at the moment, I was very upset. But, he had managed to ensure that bit of respect between grandfather and grandson.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Yes, I see. When I have issues with my husband's families. Things seem to get resolved. I believe that my husband has told them some things at the time.. That is when things seem to change.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 Jul 08
I am not as kind nor as diplomatic as you are. I would not allow anybody to scold or yell at my child for something I considered NOT my child's fault. I don't care whether it's my parents, his parents, or another relative. Relatives always think they can do whatever they want! It really bothers me that people are like this. Friends don't do things like this, probably because they understand there are boundaries and you do not STEP ON THE PARENT'S BOUNDARIES by yelling at THEIR child. I would have said something immediately to grandpa about apologizing to my son's friends! I would hope that if *I* did something rude like that to my grandkids' friends that SOMEBODY would kick me in the butt so I didn't do it again.
@mykmari_08 (2466)
• Philippines
7 Jul 08
I believe that when a person gets married, somehow he has to sacrifice something or he has to change his priorities. He doesn't need to totally forget all about his parents and siblings but he has to think of his own family first before them. Personally, I definitely think that problems arise when this issue is raised. I myself have been married for more than five years now and I've got to admit that problems have surfaced with this matter as the cause. I wouldn't say that I'm perfect in these matters but after careful observation and analysis, I guess it's best that before one gets married, he has enough funds not only for his wedding and future pregnancy of his wife; but also maintain a separate funds for emergency needs of his parents and siblings especially if they have been relying on him for finances like education of his siblings. But this fund need not be hidden from his wife. He could tell this beforehand so that his wife would know and won't get suspicious of him.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
7 Jul 08
Yes, you are very right! A husband has to draw the line when it comes to respect.. If he is not willing to do this, because of what his parents may think, then shame on him! It does not matter how close he is to his folks, but he chose to marry the woman, so now he has to make a profound decision.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 Jul 08
Absolutely absolutely ABSOLUTELY!!! Cream, I am with you to the end here on this subject. When a couple becomes a couple, they are most important. If the parents would respect this WHEN they become a couple, then it would be easier for them to let go when the couple marries. It would be easier still for the parents not to get nosy and harrass the couple when they have a baby. And another baby. Or buy a home. And start coming over all the time and rearranging the wife's kitchen. Or digging through the husband's garage. Little petty crap like that. I realize this is my opinion but I really believe this should be more of a law of respect and not just an opinion. The husband should come first, not the wife's parents, and the wife should come first, not the husband's parents. I firmly believe any parents who are meddling, nosy, or harrassing in their GROWN child's marriage or life needs a reality check. This is unacceptable clingy immature behavior. Get over yourself! You are right! YOu should not be put on the back burner. Your happiness and comfort and fulfillment should come first, ahead of anybody's parents. I'm sure you would put your husband ahead of your parents, wouldn't you? I would.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
7 Jul 08
Yes, I do.. My father talks junk about my husband all the time. Most of the things he says are very untrue. So, yes, I do put my husband first over what my father thinks. He does not like when I do this.. But it has to be done! Thanks for the comment.. It helped a lot.. If that is your daughter, she is very pretty.. Her beauty could melt your heart!!!!!
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
12 Jun 08
When a man and woman marry they form a union and they and their children become part of that union. The parents and other family members should now be secondary to the family unit. My husband has very strong feelings about family and how important the bond between husband and wife is and he told me when we got serious that he would always back me up, right or wrong, because we were partners. As far as dealing with the inlaws goes, you may never feel the respect you want to feel from them but that's no reflection on you, that's a problem of theirs. Your main focus should be on your husband and your family and try not to worry too much about your standings with them. My ex-mother-in-law never liked me much until she got sick and, for a long time, I tried. Giving up lifted that weight off of my shoulders. I was niec and polite but I didn't really care what they thought anymore.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
12 Jun 08
Yes, this is very true. I must say. It does not matter what the in laws may feel. It is about what the two married couples feel.
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@sweetdesign (5151)
• United States
12 Jun 08
I can tell you from experience that when your husband puts others before you and your children it hurts very deeply and causes rifts in the relationship. My daughter and I were way down on my exhusbands list. His family and friends were always put above us. Their needs were always met before ours were. When a couple gets married the husband and wife are to cleave to each other and leave their other family behind that doesn't mean you drop your other family like a stone but the needs of your wife and children should be paramount and number one then everybody else.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
12 Jun 08
Yes this is exactly how it should be!
1 person likes this
@freedomg (1684)
• United States
11 Jun 08
That's a hard one. To your husband they are his immediate family. But you are right, both sides need to be sat down and given a set boundary. It can be really hard to adjust to your child suddenly having this whole other life that you aren't 100% involved in. Especially for some mothers. Try to set the boundaries with out bruising egos, that will only lead to much greater problems. I have had the same issue with my mil for 17 years. The problem with hers is if I want her to follow the boundaries I had better out up an electric fence. But she is a rare breed and most people when having had it out to them in the right way are all to happy to try and find a happy medium. Good Luck.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 Jul 08
You may be surprised to discover that there are many of us who have inlaws who feel that any boundaries do not apply to them. I suggest that we all join the electric fence club, pronto. I'm not even trying to be funny, I have heard stories (and I have my own) that would peel paint from the walls just from telling.
@thepack (32)
• United States
12 Jun 08
actually you should parents are always respected but they need to give that in return,you should really be a daughter to them i as a mother in law think of my daughter in law as a daughter we may not see eye to eye on things but she takes care of my son and granson.I guess what i'm tring to say is yes with respect you should be able to voice your opnion
1 person likes this
@kareng (7980)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Your immediate family should come first and all the in-laws should have some respect for that. You sound like you have a handle on things since you said you try to be fair about things. That's all you can do!
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Yes, that is what I do. I try to be fair. And I also let them know that. I am not going to stand in their way with my husband. I just want them to respect me as being his wife. Just because they need his time, dosen't mean that I don't. I had to let his sister know this. She was calling anytime that she pleased. When she would call would be the time that me and my husband are in a conversation. It got on my nerves. She said that her brother was helping her find a place to stay. But, I also wanted her to realize that I needed him just as much as she needed him.. I just wanted her to respect the fact that I need time with her brother.
1 person likes this
@kareng (7980)
• United States
11 Jun 08
What would happen if you offered to help her? Would that be possible and maybe relieve some of the effort from your husband? It could also be a good bonding experience for you and your sister in law. I don't know if you work outside the home or not and if this would even be possible? But she might really appreciate it and even the offer.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
No, I would not be able to help her. My husband knows more about these places than I do., He is a licensed state contractor. My sil knows how to ask me for something when she needs my help. She is just that bold. So if she does not ask me, then she does not need me for my help. But if she does, I will help her. I love her. She is like a sister to me. Even though she does things that I may dislike..
2 people like this
@ch88ss (2270)
• United States
11 Jun 08
your voice should be heard loud and clear. The person who can make your voice heard will be your husband. If your husband acts in a way that says "my wife's voice is important" then the in laws can feel that and realized they need to listen to you in order to gain the respect of your husband. I feel the same way about problems.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Yes, this is so damn true! He needs to voice his feelings so that they can understand that they can't just walk all over our marriage!
@ch88ss (2270)
• United States
11 Jun 08
that is right! keep it up tks for the best response.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
You are very welcomed!
• India
11 Jun 08
Though there is always a limit to tolerance, you should always respect the other side. You want your spouce to respect your side, so it is only natural that you do the same. There are people who sometimes dont like you and do things that are unbecoming, but you at first should discuss it with your partner, and only if things become unmanageable, you should look to give back in kind.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
11 Jun 08
Yes, and this is exactly what I do. If I have a problem with my in laws, I will tell my husband first.. But he thinks that he should not be the one to deal with it..
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
7 Jul 08
He thinks he should not be the one to deal with it?! Well whom does he think should deal with it? YOU? Nobody? LOL! Sometimes I marvel at the complexities of men. They are HIS parents. He should grow a pair perhaps =P My dad (better known as my male parental figure) and I are not getting along because of grudges he is holding against me for moving away, so when my husband and I do have to see him, he'd better watch it because I won't let him get away with saying anything rude to my husband!
• United States
9 Jul 08
Since you are the wife and married, you hold a valued and esteemed position in life. Your opinion can and should be honored. Please don't allow extended family members to bully you into a lower place. You are not simply a toy. You have the right to be valued. If they do not respect you in your house or theirs, then ban them from your house until they gain respect. Sometimes the only way to handle a bully is to bully back.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
9 Jul 08
Yes, I see what you mean.. Handle to be handled! Thanks for your comment!
@TheCarter (370)
• United States
9 Jul 08
When the two get married they become one. Everyone has to respect the fact that you are married. That is what the ceremont was about! If that had any particulars about your marriage, they have spoke then. If they talk now they juat become a bunch of hating warmongers! LOL. I have the same problem sometimes. I have found that the real boundary setter is the wife my friend! She is the one who has to let her own family know what is legal and illegal in your marriage. Just the same way you have to tell your family when to back off. (I hope I got the gender right). Most of the time they will not respect the husband if the wife does not respect the husband in front of them. They will make a foot of whatever inch she gives them, perhaps you should talk to your spouse about that?
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
9 Jul 08
Yes, I always let my family know what they can do and not do around me. It is my husband that has to stand up for me. He may have done it.. Because I have seen some differences lately.. But you see if my husband spoked to his folks about boundaries, then I would not have known, because he never said anything to me about anything. It appears that he must have, I have seen many things that I complained to him about, ceased. From that I am assuming that he has done some talking.. And I hope that his family shows the respect that is fue unto me. I have shown mines many times..
1 person likes this
• Australia
14 Jun 08
I think that both sides should set boundries for both sides of the family. It is common to reach some sort of comprimise considering everyone knows you can't pick your family, or your inlaws. Yes they are sometimes very interferring and push their boundries, but family is family so we have to accept each others.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
14 Jun 08
You are right.. There should be boundaries on both sides.. Funny thing, I am the only one that knows boundaries..
• Philippines
13 Jun 08
A BIG YES is my answer. Honestly, I have a problem with this. I'm already married and since I got married at a very young age, which is 20, Me,my husband and our son is currently living with my in laws. Its very hard on my part because I feel like I am always taken on second account. My mother in law always comes first! I always tell him and remind him that he already have his own family to think about.. Its very very hard... really!
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
13 Jun 08
Yes, it is very very hard. I am one to know this.. I lived with my in laws for 5 years. It was hell! My mil did so many terrible things to be, till it isn't funny! Now we are on our own and out of there house. She can no longer harm me anymore.
@jer31558 (3683)
• United States
12 Jun 08
I think that the significant other should come first. I would hope that my wife would question me if I put someone else's opinion ahead of hers. I am sure that she would feel like I didn't even love her in the first place.
@cream97 (29166)
• United States
12 Jun 08
Yes, and that is how I feel when my husband puts others opinion before mines. It makes me think that he does not love me..