My wife insists that I correct my parents when they say things she finds objectionable

By Manh Kien   May 31, 2024 | 06:00 pm PT
Whenever we visit my parents and they begin offering unwelcome advice, my wife urges me to correct them rather than overlook their comments.

My wife and I have been married for two years and share a daughter. Our families reside five kilometers apart in a large city. I have an older brother who is also married with a child nearing school age.

We live with my wife’s family because their house is larger and more accommodating for her postpartum needs, and because her workplace is just 200 meters from my in-laws’ place. My job is closer as well.

We typically visit my parents on weekends. My parents hold traditional views and many outdated beliefs that sometimes irritate us. I tolerate these because they are my parents. Nevertheless, my wife expects my parents to always side with her.

For example, if our child drools, my parents might attribute it to my wife’s unfulfilled cravings during her pregnancy. I have explained to my parents that such beliefs are outdated, while also advising my wife to overlook these comments since we see them infrequently, only once a week or biweekly. However, she cannot let their remarks go unchallenged during our visits, prompting her to ask me to speak up.

Since she spends less time with my family, I don’t consider my parents’ outdated views as significant, but my wife fixates on every minor issue and holds a low regard for my parents, especially when they critique our parenting.

I have also informed my parents that it is our duty to care for and educate our child, and while we value their input, the final decisions are ours to make. Yet, each time they interfere, my wife becomes distressed and pressures me to intervene. She seems to accept comments from her own parents, but any criticism from mine results in tension.

I find myself in a difficult position, reluctant to confront my parents harshly because I understand their perspective, but also faced with my wife’s grievances and accusations of not defending her.

What should I do?

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