My husband is opposed to my parents visiting our home

By Phuong Thuy   March 15, 2024 | 09:31 pm PT
I have observed my husband’s tepid response to the idea of my parents staying with us one or two days a month for nearly a year.

We tied the knot nine years ago and are parents to two kids. Although we aren’t affluent, we manage well thanks to my husband’s commitment to his job, which brings in a substantial salary.

Following a five-year hiatus from the workforce due to childbirth and child-rearing, I recently resumed employment as an office worker, earning a modest salary of VND15 million (US$635) monthly.

In the past, while I was home with our children and my husband frequently had work trips, my parents would travel from the countryside to lend a hand. Now in their 60s, they are retired and without any source of income. So I make it a point to allocate a part of my earnings—around VND5 million each month—to cover their living and medical expenses.

My husband has switched to remote work for the last three years, eliminating the need for business travel. Concurrently, my parents made a permanent move back to the countryside. Despite this, I continue to support them financially, given their modest earnings from a small garden.

They still visit the city monthly for medical appointments due to my mother’s chronic illness, and every time like that, they stay with us to enjoy time with their grandchildren for a day or two. My children cherish these visits, delighting in their grandparents’ company, the stories they share, and the traditional countryside meals they prepare.

Now, my husband is against my parents’ brief stays during their medical visits. He initially hinted at it by expressing concern for my parents’ well being given the distance of their travel for medical appointments. Opting for silence to evade disputes, I was confronted with his outright declaration of feeling overwhelmed by their visits. He remarked: "No son-in-law endures as frequent in-law visits as yours do."

This attitude towards my parents’ visits has been apparent for roughly a year.

I’m well-acquainted with my husband’s character. He is a hard worker, abstains from trivial pursuits, and avoids tobacco and alcohol, sparingly socializing over coffee while keeping me informed.

However, disagreements between us have become frequent over the past year, exacerbated by my husband’s traditional views. He insists that I need his permission for social outings and exhibits unpleasant behavior if I return home past 8:30 p.m. from outings with friends or colleagues.

He holds steadfast to his beliefs about a wife’s proper conduct, closely monitoring my whereabouts. Nevertheless, on occasions when I am delayed, his anger is inevitable. Although this tension dissipates after one to three weeks, it’s a superficial resolution, with underlying issues persisting as he seeks greater control. His outbursts are not uncommon, often involving hurtful remarks.

Despite expressing my feelings and seeking understanding, it has yet to yield a positive change. This leaves me feeling powerless within our marriage, as minor issues progressively emotionally estrange me from him. I now feel isolated and vulnerable in our relationship. There came a point when I began to differentiate what is his from what is not, except for our children, in our shared life.

His firm stance against my parents’ visits marks a critical juncture, diminishing my desire to negotiate or dispute further with him.

Still, I chose to keep our marital challenges hidden from my parents and relatives to preserve my husband’s respect and avoid causing them concern. Since we are still married, he remains my husband, and I feel obliged to protect our family’s privacy and dignity. I also want to focus on ensuring a stable environment for my children’s education and my parents’ contented twilight years.

Is this approach correct?

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