Q: Hi, I have been married for the eight years and we have two children. We got married against everyone’s wishes and until date; we are still in love. Having said this, our relationship went through a rough patch for some time because my wife could not accommodate my parents and nobody in our family supported us.
Two months back, she asked me for a divorce and after a discussion; she cooled down and apologised for her behaviour. But during all these, she spoke ill about my parents and I cannot forgive her for that. Now, she wants me to cut off all the ties with them. They do not even live with us and we hardly meet them. I don’t know how to handle this situation.
Mr T. L, Lagos
A: Strained relationship between your wife and parents can be a very difficult situation. While it is their conflict and not yours, you will remain the central part of this. Thus, it is great you seek help.
If after eight years of marriage something has stirred up to bring divorce into the scenario, further explore to understand the underlying emotions instead of getting upset and finding it hard to forgive your wife.
You also mentioned that you married against everyone’s wishes. At the core, acceptance and a sense of belonging are some basic human needs. Is this lack of acceptance causing tension between them? Most often the problems could arise because of ego-related issues, the need of preserving the culture or their own identity.
I would suggest working on building a bridge between your wife and your parents. Impositions don’t resolve conflict, but talking and sharing in a non-conflicting environment can ease the anger or hurt. It will require you to hold your ground but with patience, kindness, gentleness, and respect.
In the end, it will be a journey from expectations to acceptance.