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515Re: [KWChoir] Mother -in-law Stories - Part II

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  • John Phipps
    Oct 3, 2006
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      I found parents always liked me and this was the death knell of most relationships. I get along with my in-laws, the English ones and the Yank one. Divorce in modern society can lead to a multiplication of mothers-in-law.
       
      I sent my wife off on a Pilgrimage this morning. A present for our 20th Anniversary. To Fatima Portugal, not Canterbury but her brother's in-laws are in Asturias in Spain. He was a Yank working on his Doctorate in Maths at the U of Glasgow and followed her off to Spain. He learned to speak Spanish and became a convert to Catholcism, He also agreed not to drag his wife off to America. After about 10 years she got a job here and now works at the Spanish Embassy while he teaches math at the U of MD. His father-in-law is an old Francoist, only speaks Spanish, and on a visit to the states thought everything better in Spain.
       
      Fathers-in-law can be a treat at times. On the other hand his brothers and sisters in-laws are very nice. We can gather and smoke Cuban cigars and drink single malt scotch and drive the old folks away.
       
      Have you considered cigars?
       
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 5:42 PM
      Subject: Re: [KWChoir] Mother -in-law Stories - Part II

      I forgot to share this also ...
       
      Apparently the night before our wedding, my mother-in-law confided to my father-in-law the following:
       
      "I am totally against this wedding and this marriage.  I think it's a terrible mistake.  But since it appears to be going on whether or not I like it or not, I'll just learn to love her after the wedding."
       
      Gee, thanks.  Love those crumbs you've swept to the floor for me to grovel for ...
       
      Now to add insult to injury ... I am not kidding, my father-in-law called us EVERY DAY we were away on our honeymoon!  We were only gone for three days, but I am not exaggerating when I say he just called to chat! (Happy First Day of Your Honeymoon! ... Happy Second Day of Your Honeymoon!)  Finally my husband got annoyed with him and told him to quit it, reminded him that we were on our honeymoon and that we were doing what newlyweds usually do on their honeymoon.  I was annoyed with my husband for even answering the phone.
       
      A month later, father-in-law turns to my husband and asks him in a "stage whisper"  "So, is Susan still mad at us?"
       
      Sigh.
       
      Yours in patience,
      Susanna

      Susan Stoltze <susanstoltze@ yahoo.com> wrote:
      I don't suppose your mother-in-law is Jewish (and you're not)?
       
      I actually wrote a five-page letter to our pre-marital rabbi and his wife because we were having so much trouble with my beloved's parents last year when we were married (we will celebrate our 1st anniversary the first weekend in November).  Up until two weeks before the wedding, we didn't know if his mother would show up.
       
      At every opportunity both his parents would trot out a "laundry list" of all the reasons why he shouldn't marry me.  Apparently it was "dishonorable" for their eldest son to marry a shiksa.  My mother-in-law sat in the back of the ceremony room and pouted, refused to wear the corsage I bought for her, never said one word of "good luck, happy marriage or even smiled.  She swore up and down that since I wasn't Jewish, we couldn't possibly have a Jewish wedding (big surprise to our rabbi), that anything resembling a Jewish wedding would be a "mockery" and a "fiasco" and that of course they wouldn't attend anything BUT a Jewish wedding.  Shades of Catch-22.  They didn't lift one finger to help out or ask about how things were going, etc.
       
      My father-in-law met me at a local restaurant on the sly to beg me to make a meaningless conversion for the sake of HIS marriage.  That way he and his wife could hold their heads up in their little circle of friends and say, "but of course our boy married a nice Jewish girl ..."  I told him that he was asking me to commit an act of dishonor and that nothing but a rip in the fabric of time would make me appear before his god with a lie on my lips.  He told me as we were leaving that he was shocked and disappointed that I didn't immediately agree to convert!!!
       
      Instead of being overtly obnoxious, my mother-in-law is passive agressive.  For instance, when the family gets together, i.e., the parents, his brother and his Jewish wife, and my husband and me, the other two ladies will bring up subjects like the maids, the summer camps, the mah jong tournaments -- all the things that are a cultural mystery to me.  No one can talk intelligently about music, history, plants and gardening, so naturally I am the silent partner. 
       
      Our rabbi's wife had some excellent advice, as she is a family/marriage counselor.  Some of the things she told us were:
       
      1.  Some people are just "crazy makers."  Their sole purpose in life is to make your's miserable.  You can choose to give in to emotional blackmail or not.
       
      2.  You and your spouse MUST present a united front.  There is nothing wrong with a delay tactic like "John and I must talk about this first - family policy - so we'll get back to you."  I must say that works like a charm for me and my husband.
       
      3.  You cannot choose how your in-laws treat you.  You can always choose how you react to it.
       
      4.  As personal as your mother-in-law tries to make things, do not stoop to her level.  You will probably lose.  Remember, her son is wonderful (or why are you married to him?) and so are your children and (unfortunately) that connection is there with her.
       
      5.  Always leave an escape route.
       
      6.  If you feel like you are going to go nuclear every time you visit, or she visits you, as a last resort consider visiting a family counselor with your husband to learn more coping mechanisms.  If he won't (or can't go), then go yourself.
       
      Believe me, I have and still do, share your pain.  On a final note, smiling and walking away will make her more nuts than anything else you do.
       
      Yours in service (and sympathy)
      Susanna Merrybegot
      Susan Stoltze
       
      p.s.  I have always wanted to start a daughter-in- law or shiksa daughter-in- law support group on line ... keep in touch and let us know how you are doing?


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