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Read Letter

My Relatives Are Coming For Summer!

Dear Jack, I think it’s about that saying about knowing how to be abased and how to abound. Finance is a major thing in marriage. I’ve told you that before. Not properly handled it can dislocate a marriage.  It’s wise to know where your wife is coming from. It will help you understand her attitude to some things. You can see for example that she’s particular about financial security for the family. It’s because of what she deems her father’s mistakes. When you know where your wife is coming from you will have insight into her motivations and fears. For instance she’s against relatives coming to stay over during vacation. That’s coming from somewhere, she’s not being difficult.

Growing up, relatives used to stay over in their house and that crowded out the rights of the children. So she’s very sensitive about relatives staying over. That’s where she’s coming from. Her father gave consideration to relatives and family members to the detriment of his children. And kids don’t forget that sort of thing. It’s why she is defending her home against invasion by relatives. And you ought to listen to her. That it means a lot to her means your insistence on having your relatives stay over during summer will give her stress. You don’t want your wife stressed. It’s going to be passed to you. You won’t have passive peace.

There are things we do in marriage for the sake of the peace and wellbeing of our partner. There are sacrifices we make, there are things we give up. After summer when your relatives are gone you’re going to have her to contend with. Remember that. Unless you intend to go and live with your relatives after summer I’d advise you pay heed to her concerns. Though I don’t know why your relatives can’t stay in a hotel for their summer vacation. Why put the load of burden on your wife. The burden will be on her. There’s the privacy she’ll lose in her home, there’s extra mouths to feed, there’s a lot of cleaning to be done, and there’s the sheer inconvenience of having people over in the house. It’s not wise to commence what you can’t sustain. Once you give leeway to your relatives to come and stay over summer you must be ready for subsequent summers. You’ve set precedent. If you weren’t in America, surely these relatives will find somewhere to stay for vacation.

Now, I know there’s the African cultural thing but saving your marriage is much more important than observance of culture of indeterminate provenance. And it’s an unnecessary issue. Don’t forget your wife also has to endure the burden of your mum staying over. Last time she stayed for three months. Your mum is not exactly easy. This you know. Your mum sees your home as her home, gives no reckoning to your wife in her own home. She treats her like a third party.

I’d advise you intervene in that progression before it’s too late. You don’t want rebellion on your hands. Long after your mum is gone, you’ll have the issues created to contend with. You may lose the respect of your wife. There are mums who deliberately wreck their son’s marriage, just to resume control over his life. Some see their son’s wife as competition. Doesn’t make sense but you have to fight that mindset if you don’t want your marriage broken. Sometimes young men are afraid of confronting the marriage-breaking practices of their mum. Probably has to do with staying in the womb for almost a year; some mums continue to demand rent for that stay in the womb years after. Don’t allow your mum wreck your marriage. You’re the one who’s going to have the regrets. All your mum can do after wrecking your marriage is apologise. But the harm would have been done.

As per relatives coming to stay over, you ought to consider your wife’s disposition, inclination and convenience. It’s perhaps easier if they’re people she wants to have around. She’ll be more accommodating. But she’s not used to these people. Aren’t there cheap motels they can stay for summer? They shouldn’t transfer the cost of their vacation to your family. Surely anyone going on vacation knows he ought to make provision for lodging, food and transport. Why would you be financing someone else’s vacation? Why are you subsidising someone else’s lifestyle? If they chose to go on vacation, they should make provision for lodging.

If you and your wife can’t agree on who can come and stay over in your house during vacation, better to err on the side of consideration for her. You don’t want her feeling you’re willing to sacrifice her happiness and convenience for your relatives. That can prove dangerous. In giving her that impression, albeit unwittingly, you’re harping back to those periods in her life when her uncles came to stay over and she was denied her rights as a daughter. It’s why she seems so adamant and unusually vehement about this idea of your relatives staying over. It’s where she’s coming from. Now she has her own home she doesn’t want to be disenfranchised in it.

My take is, the home belongs to the woman. Some would of course argue the proposition but that position is borne out of deep cogitation. If she’s not happy, you’re not going to be happy. It’s that simple and stark. It’s why you must strive as a man to make your wife happy. And I’m not talking about unreasonable expectations and demands. I’m talking about the basic stability of your home, the peaceableness of your marriage. You must cherish that.

Don’t repeat the mistakes of your father’s generation concerning marriage. Some of those fathers neglected responsibilities to their children in order to satisfy their relatives. Some postponed paying school fees for their children in order to please family members. And the children grew silently bitter.

On the other hand, it’s not wise to give a wrong impression to your relatives about your capacity. What you can’t afford you can’t afford. And there are things we can’t afford emotionally, not just financially. For instance you can’t afford an unhappy wife. You can’t afford her going to war with you over what she deems intrusion by your relatives. How you handle all these things is really up to you. However you handle them be careful not to paint your wife black in the process. Why don’t you tell your relatives you don’t have the space to accommodate them for the summer. It’s not as if you live in a big house! You can invite them over for dinner, say on Sunday. That limits the pressure on your wife, containerises it. And you get to please your relatives as well. You can spend time reminiscing with them after dinner.

You shouldn’t be a foolish husband. You can’t afford to be insensitive to your wife’s feelings. Worse will follow. If you feel so buoyant you can pay the hotel bill for their summer vacation. Your relatives will appreciate that. But the fact this is happening now tells me you never discussed their stay with your wife. You shouldn’t have agreed to it without consulting your wife. That’s a marriage rookie’s mistake. She’s going to feel her opinion doesn’t count, and if you push her too far she’s going to display in front of your relatives. She won’t care!

I’m just saying do all you can to preserve your marriage. A marriage is worth preserving. When the pitcher is broken and the water spills, you can’t scoop it back into the jug. Take time to think about these things. You don’t want the pitcher broken, or cracked. I do wish you wisdom.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Do all you can to preserve your marriage. A marriage is worth preserving. Click To Tweet
Tags : Family, Spouse

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