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Spouse and Inlaws

About five months ago, my wife and my mother had an argument and that was the third argument that they have had over the course of about three years.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of getting in the middle and tried to be Mr. Fixit.  That made the problem worse becuase my wife thought I am taking sides of my parents.  I also threatened divorce.  That was a bad idea if I ever had one.  So now she has taken a reserved approach with my parents and answer only questions of her if she has been asked.  She doesn't actively participate in family events and acts like she is not really concerned with them.  I have had a heart to heart and that did not work.  I know I shouldn't care about how she acts in front of my parents and what is important is my relationship with them but why do I feel sad or lost hope?  Thanksgiving is coming up and I am not even sure about inviting my parents over.What is the best way to handle this please?
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13167_tn?1327197724
Joseph,  I think you need to decide who was right in this argument.  

You say you shouldn't care how your wife acts in front of your parents and what is important is your relationship with your parents.

I think what is important here is siding with who is right - and if there's any wiggle room,  or they're both wrong,  side with your wife.  

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184674_tn?1360864093
I'm trying to imagine this from your wife's perspective. She and your mother got into an argument, you ended up getting in the middle of it, giving your wife the impression that you sided with your mom, and then you told her you'd divorce her she didn't get over the argument--am I understanding this correctly?
I see this as a basic cause and effect situation: your wife doesn't want you to divorce her, or threaten to divorce her ever again, so she is trying to avoid any confrontation with your parents at all costs.
Heck, I would too.
I think you should apologize to your wife, for what it's worth to her. Then do your best to move on with family events like Thanksgiving. Your wife most likely isn't going to just get over how things turned out from the last ordeal. Give her some time to rebuild her confidence in you and your family, allowing her to see that she is wanted, appreciated, and accepted; the past is in the past. It will take some time, but she'll come around.
And if the argument was so significant that it's caused them to not be on speaking terms, then I'd recommend following RockRose's advice, and pick a side WITHOUT threating divorce (unless that's what you want) and stand by what you feel is right. But if it was just a general argument over something petty...then just drop it. Those types of arguments are not worth holding grudges over.
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285927_tn?1380802356
Stay of from in between the arguments. It is between them and they need to work it thru. Now you going and threatening divorce is a huge mistake on your part unless you meant it, but never ever use that against your wife in favor of your mother. I think you guys might be eating out for thanksgiving and pushing for anything else at this point is not gonna work. You are in a lose lose situation. If your mother invites you over and your wife does not want to go, ya betta stay with the wifey or else pay the consequences. The best thing ya might do is ask the wife if she is inviting family and hope she is ready to make up. If not, well, yer in a tight spot now arent ya? Shoulda kept your mouth shut. Maybe by Christmas?
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Avatar_m_tn
The argument in May happened when my mother who was babysitting our youngest kid asked my wife if she can take the kid back to her apartment.  My wife tells my mother that she has to watch the kid at our house because she has more room to run around.  My mother gets ticked off about that and felt that was unfair because my mother felt she was doing everything she can to help us out.  My mother is watching the kid for free and our kid was recovering from a surgery...  I thought that was unfair of my wife to say that especially when she was willing to let a stranger watch our kid at their apartment before she decided on my mother watching the kid...

You asked a question about if I meant it.  yeah, i did because there was so much resentment against my wife being built and I was ready for an explosion.  I had the realtor come over and look at the house to put on sale.  I split our accounts, etc... My frustration was that why was she not listening to me when I was spilling my guts to her to make things correct.
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134578_tn?1404951303
It sounds a lot less like the problem is between your wife and your parents and more between your wife and you.  You two (wife and self) should go to some couples counseling and learn about communication patterns and solutions.  Especially with all the stress of a child recovering from surgery, it would help to have  a neutral third party talk to the two of you about how to work things through with each other.  Just let this Thanksgiving be a "pass" as far as your expectations, and build to a much better Thanksgiving next year.
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Avatar_m_tn
Now how do I back out or reverse all the mistakes that I have done. If I could only go back in time!!!  Need help in figuring what to do moving forward....
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Avatar_m_tn
Believe it or not, we still go to my parents apartment for lunch after every Sunday mass almost every week (unless something comes up). When she gets there, she gives the I only answer the questions that I have been asked mentality...
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Avatar_m_tn
Joe, for what its worth....if my kid was recovering from suregery and my mother was willing to baby sit, I'd really prefer she do it at my house.  It is the surroundings that your child is most familiar and comfortable with.  I'd break that news to my mother.... 'Look Mom, we appreciate you looking after jr., but can you come over here to watch him?  He is recovering from surgery and we just want him to be as comfortable as possible.  Here he has all of his toys and his own bed...."  If mom says no, politely say..."ok, were going to call the sitter we are next most comfortable with and take it form there.  Thanks for the offer and perhaps when jr. gets better, you can watch him the next time."

It doesnt need to be a showdown at the OK Corral.  If mom doesnt get that, God forbid she have to have a surgery, let he recoup somewhere rather than where she normally would.  I'd guess if she is a rational woman, she would see this.

I had a few beefs with my dad concerning watching my kids.  I kept my wife out of them, and won them all.  After all, they are my kids and I am calling the shots until they are 18.

Now, about threatening divorce.....dude, I've done that and it is not right.  If you have intentions of divorce, get it out there and hash it out...but dont use it as a threat.  Just nothing good is going to come out of it, and here's the kicker.  Lets say you do it again, and really have no intention of divorcing her....then it happens again....then say about the fourth time you let it fly she beats you to the punch and has you served?  Different story now, isnt it..... You just have to play it cool Joe, and I know that a position between mom's and the wife is not a comfortable spot.  

You can always enter the fray as the 3rd party.  "What are you two arguing about?"  Then become the mediator. "Mom, understand her point....its nothing personal, dont make it personal.  Jr. just got out of surgery and she/we think he'd be far more comfortable at home."    Or, depending on the circumstances you could say..."Honey, whats the big deal.  Jr. is getting around and is feeling good.  Its not like we just took him off the operating table.  Let mom watch him at her place....bet she hooks him up with some killer chicken soup and a grilled cheese.."

I dont know where I think I got negotiation skills from pertaining to marriage, but I did go to the school of hard knocks.  I managed a bar/nightclub for almost 20 years and my skills worked awesome with the slightly to moderately impaired....
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13167_tn?1327197724
Is your wife a bit of a pain about other things too,  Joseph?  Her reaction seems incredibly immature considering this was something that happened back in May?  I mean really,  that's a heck of a lot of effort to keep putting in to expressing disdain.

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Avatar_f_tn
If either of my children were recovering from surgery you can bet your butt they're recovering at home. No matter who is watching them. And if my husband EVER threatened to divorce me ( not even go as far as you did) he'd have those papers in 48 hours. Whether he meant it or not. That is NOT something to use as a threat. You need to either get the divorce done with or beg your wife for forgiveness while hauling a$$ to marriage counseling.
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Avatar_m_tn
The surgery happened three months prior to this argument and she had healed.  We were waiting to send her to the daycare until she was a little bit older. That call was made by wife.  I was willing to pay for daycare...  Yeah, I know what i did was a mistake.  But question remains, what can I do for the future?  I can't do anything about the past.  
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285927_tn?1380802356
Let her know you love her and am sorry for the way you handled that incident and ask her forgiveness and let her know you will try to handle things differently in the future. It is a hard place to be between a parent and a spouse. Her hurt comes from you moreso than your mother in that you threatened divorce thereby letting her know she is not loved unconditionally. Then ask her to meet you in the middle and try one more time with the inlaws, if for no other reason than the childs sake. You also need to let your mother know that her part in all this has to stop as well. It is not her child it is yours and your wifes and she crossed the boundaries and disrespected you and your family. When a parent offends a spouse, they offend the sanctity of that marriage. It sounds like your mother is watching the child way too much and is taking liberties that are not hers to take by getting mad at a parents decision. Sort of like a spoiled brat throwing a temper fit. It was her decision to watch the child and if she did not want to stay at your home to watch the child, then she should have gracefully declined to care for her. Throwing a fit on either side is not going to come to compromise. Your wife is feeling rejected, resentful and hurt by both of you. Just make sure you dont go there in the future and if they cannot get along, you might want to utilize a daycare and leave mom on her side of the pond to sit and ponder on it for awhile. IMO

I have several grandchildren and would never ever undermine the parents decision in any way. I have more respect for myself and them than to cause these kinds of immature outbursts in their lives.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Okay, a couple of things.  First, when we marry----------  and I go to mass to and was married in the Catholic church-------- it is clearly stated that you leave your parents and cleave to your new spouse.  Perhaps there is a power struggle going on and has been for a long time between your mother and wife over you.  And you are torn.  Your first action is to make it clear to your wife that you are not torn.  She is now your primary family and your number one priority and loyalty lies with her.  This is how it is meant to be and how it should have been all along.  And then she could open up and be more accepting of your mother.  Your mother would also know her place in your life.  Important but defferent to your wife.  Your comment that you'd divorce HER over a fight with your parents goes against the very idea of marriage.  YOU need to make sure your priorities are straight.  

So, you need to do damage control and make your wife feel like she is your queen bee.  Even if you have to force yourself.  Because it will be what can possibly change her attitude about your family.  

Now the example of the the babysitting thing was silly--------- I agree.  Did you ask her though what her reasoning was?

And on some Sunday after Mass, ask your wife if she'd like to go to brunch somewhere else.  

I am not asking you to not love your parents and remain in their life and close to them but to move them to seat number three after first your wife and then your children.  They can still be an important part of your life but your wife needs to know she matters more.  If you can pull that off, she'll probably be more open about your family in general.  good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Specialmom,

That makes a lot of sense.  How can I get my mind to put away the hurt or overlook that?  Right now, I am loosing focus at work and with life in general. So I need to find a way to get over that.  Any suggestions?  I tried working out having some luck...  Also how should I act in front of her family?  For some reason, the resentment is causing me to be vengeful against her family, which I know deep down is not the right thing to do.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Perhaps if you think of your wife and yourself as a family unit.  You two as the main objective to keep solid.  And then it makes it easier to stomach swallowing our pride or anger. You are working to stregthen your marriage and to show love to the person you married.  As far as her family, you have to look at this as a blip on the radar.  You feel this way today because you are upset----------  as it blows over, those feelings will fade completely or be much less so. So go through the motions until it blows over.  Plaster that smile on your face and remember that you love your wife and if you let it all blow over and make her feel you are committed first to her, everyone can go on in peace in the future.  If you do anything else, you will make a rift that may or may NOT be able to be fixed.  Good luck

oh, and if you think you might have some depression or anxiety that is of a clinical nature---------- interferes with work/life for two or more weeks, then you should consult your doctor.  You may need treatment for it and then when that cloud is lifted, it is easier to deal with these things.  Otherwise, exercising is a great way to blow off steam as is meditation and yoga.  Good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Joesph, I'm not sure you need to overlook the hurt but better address it.  Talk the situation over with your wife and mother, offer sincere apologies where necessary and move from there.  The wife is your top priority, then your children, then your folks.  This should be acknowledged by all involved, and this really shouldnt be the power struggle it seems to be.  As much as you want to be able to put it away, so should everyone else involved.

And are you losing focus at work over this issue alone, or is there more to that?  As an employer and even an employee, I have always preached that home problems stay at home and work problems stay at work.  Those are 2 different things in your life that do need some seperation.  Work is work, home is home, and you can make the best of both of them with a bit of self restraint.  Crap from work shouldnt interfere with home and vice-versa.

Working out is a great idea and has helped me a lot!!!  When do you work out?  For me, I ge t to the gym right after work.... blow out in the weight room and then run myself ragged on the treadmill or stationary bike.  The whole time I concentrate on what I am doing and trying to accomplish (health wise) and purposely thinking of getting rid of the work day funk before I get home to my wife and kids.  Like I said, it has helped me immensely.

Another thing, and I am not accusing you of anything, might be to speak to someone if you think you have anger issues....Man, I was one of the grumpiest bastards I could ever think of, and nobody could hold a grudge like me.  I used to use grudges as a fuel....spend all that energy holding on to useless crap and there was really no benefit.  I recently began to see a therapist who along with my gym routine is working wonders for my anger.  One thing I learned is that there is a difference between focus and tunnel vision.  Tunnel vision is thinking of one thing and obsessing on it....focus is not looking directly at the issue but all that surrounds the issue.  It takes a bit of time to work on, but if you take a second to think before you act or speak sometimes, it works wonders.  It allows me to take some of the emotion out of an answer..... does that make sense?  I try to be more rational.... proactive rather than reactive.

Work on it Joseph.... its all doable, but definately stick with the gym routine.  If anything else, you will make yourself healthier.  When you begin to recognize the changes in your physical health, it will work wonders for you mental health man.  It will allow you to address things differently.

Good luck sir.
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Avatar_m_tn
All of guys are making a lot of sense. I think I have a guilty conscious because I tried to meddle in this mess and try to fix it.  It has been on going for about 2 years now.  I just need to get over that guilty consicous and not blame myself (tried to help but blew in my face...)  I have the guilty conscious that because of me that things are not going to work out.  Also sometimes she would act noncaring to my parents, etc... (like she would not say hi to my parents), that is driving me mad.  I am now at a stage where I am focusing on little things.  I need to let things pass (which i am finding out easier said than done)...
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Avatar_m_tn
Right now I am "afraid" to bring up Thanksgiving with my family because I am afraid it could stir up bad feelings. So I am deciding to leave it alone and maybe next year or Christmas there is better hope...
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287246_tn?1318573663
Joseph, I am sorry you are going through this but think you have gotten a lot of good advice here.  My inlaws are a huge point of contention between my husband and I as well.  It is really hard because I love my husband.  But I know that as long as I am with him, they will be part of the deal.  

From a wives point of view, specialmom, teko, and Brice are correct.  I know I feel like I come last a lot of the time.  I have even told my husband that if I felt like my feelings were most important, then it would make other things easier.  We just had this very conversation last night in fact.  He "says" that I am most important.  But actions speak louder than words.  This is a work in progress on my end.  But what the others have said is true.  You wife really does need to feel like she comes first.  That is really important.  My husband comes first and I will defend him against anyone.  I'm not even sure if it would matter if he was right.  It is just because he is my husband and I am the only person allowed to be mad at him :)

Try to picture your life without your wife in it as your wife.  Just imagine if you did divorce her because she isn't crazy about your parents.  She is not the first and will not be the last person to not get along with her inlaws.  This is a very common problem.  So I just challenge you to picture your life without her because of that.  Would you be happier?  Afterall, she is who you come home to every night.  Not your parents.

If you think bringing up Thanksgiving is not a good idea, then I wouldn't.  Maybe Christmas.  Just try to have the best day you can with your wife.  She probably only has your children's best interest at heart when it comes to your parents.  I know that I do.  Best of luck.
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973741_tn?1342346373
I honestly feel leaving it alone is your best option this year.  Let it lay and rebuild with your wife and hopefully her heart will open back up to you and then your family.  

My mission when it is a married couple is for them to remain as solid as possible first and foremost.  Then it can branch out to the families.  I'm going to assume no one is nuts here including your mom or your wife (that is a whole other ball game and would mean that really, there is no hope).  

I think that if you have an issue with your wife -------- you do need to talk about it and even marriage therapy would be helpful (I feel ANY couple can benefit from that).  I, unfortunately though, see people make mountains out of mole hills and then do damage they can not repair.  I'm not calling this a mole hill but please do not let extended family cause strife with you and your wife.  You two are a unit and should decide how to handle her family and your family together.  Not this year because everyone is licking their wounds--------  but starting with the next holiday.  You can even approach her that way.  She and your shared child matter most and you'd like to have your parents in your life and that she and your  mother at least get along and are polite but that you are HER husband and will be there to support her.  

Because all I can say is when a wife acts this distressed over in law issues, there is usually a history.  So while your wife seems to be over reacting to me----------  well, there has to be more to it.  That part doesn't matter except to say that you are married to her and you need to support her and if you don't agree with her--------- come up with a compromise between the two of you.  

My husband pushed a relationship on me with his overbearing and slightly obnoxious mother.  Yep, I said.  The women drove me to levels of irritation that I can not describe.  Just her voice on the phone at one point made me want to grab a knife out of the silverware drawer.  When I got him to back off of the pushing me or making such a federal case out of us getting together with them, etc.  .  .  I could stop, relax and forge my own relationship with her on MY terms and within my own boundaries and without any pressure.  We developed our own "thing".   She gave me my space and I could tell her she was starting to bug me and she could otherwise be her usual self (slightly annoying I now say with affection).  I ended up caring for her in her last weeks before she died of ovarian cancer and I can say with all honesty that I now miss her and grew to love her.  Give your wife a chance to develop that on her own terms by having the confidence that you will love her no matter what happens.  good luck
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanksgiving came and went.  We had a conversation that morning. My wife said she wouldn't having a family get together today even though she didn't like the idea of people sitting together silently.  I don't know how to take into that.  Also my parents called when she was sleeping in the afternoon.  I told her that they called and they wished her happy thanksgiving. I was hoping that she would call back and wish them back. But I don't think that happened.  I am disappointed and don't know how to take that either...  I was hoping that she would extend an olive branch and extend back the courtesy my parents showed....
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, it is fresh.  Give it time.  You threatened to divorce her over a fight with them------- that hurts.  They are now a threat to her marriage.  Try to be patient.  I give her credit for not being a fake with them.  I'd wait until the new year to think of how they will rebuild their relationship and leave that up to her.  good luck
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1006035_tn?1391310794
When you leave your parents your wife should be your #1 girl, not your mother. You should defend her unless she has gone completely off the wall. Threatening divorce sounds like it was a mistake, especially in front of your mother. It gives your mom the idea that she has the ability to get in your relationship. Your wife is probably still upset at the situation and its better to let her take it at her own pace after what happened.
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