Justin’s parents really seem to hate me at times. They ignore me at dinners and talk over my head as if I am not there because I disagree with them politically. Do we really have to spend Thanksgiving with them?
He Says: They just don’t like her politics
Sarah is exaggerating. My parents don’t approve of her politics, true, but they don’t actually hate her. I think they ignore her because they don’t know what to say. These are my parents and I want to see them on the holidays. I think Sarah can buck up for a few days a year.
What do they do?
Unfortunately for Sarah, the reality is when she married Justin she also became a member of his family, which includes the good and the bad. On the other hand, Justin’s suggestion to “buck up” resonates as inconsiderate, insensitive, unloving fighting words! Both of them are frustrated, and rightly so.
Justin seems to be taking Sarah’s plight lightly, and is failing to realize that although he is accustomed to the way his parents express themselves, Sarah is not. Sarah is hurt by their actions, and it is Justin’s responsibility to inform his parents how their behavior is affecting Sarah.
Likewise, Sarah has a responsibility to be sensitive to differing points of view. To be really supportive, Justin can put himself in her shoes by asking himself, “How would I feel if it was the other way around?” The passage in Mark 10:8 that says “…and the two shall become one flesh,” means that words and actions against one spouse are words and actions against the other spouse as well. The situation with Justin’s parents is not a Sarah problem; it is a Justin-Sarah problem.
It would also help if Justin would let his parents know through words and actions how deeply he and Sarah care for each other. When parents see their married children happy and supportive of each other, they tend to accept them more as a couple and not just as their son or daughter and an outsider. So Justin, we highly recommend you “buck up,” support your wife and assure her of your love and unwavering support.
Deacon Tom and JoAnne Fogle help prepare couples for marriage.