Relationship Advice

Heartfelt Remarks

determined woman

My husband and son had a bad dispute last year, and my husband made some "comments" about our son's wife. My husband and son have since reconciled to the point of being polite, talking and joking, but there is still some strain and resentment on our son's part.

Our daughter-in-law still wants nothing to do with us. We have not seen her or spoken to her. I sent her Christmas presents home with our son. He said she didn't want to take them, but he convinced her that she should.

It is now her birthday. We give a card with money in it to our boys and their wives for each of their birthdays. I say we give her a card with money. My husband says she wants nothing to do with us, why be fake and send her a card. I would like to see the feud end at some point. I'd appreciate hearing what you have to say.


Myrna, we get letters involving alcoholism, neglect, and physical abuse--all of which can and should cause a permanent rift in families. Compared to those letters, there is nothing in your letter which makes this problem one which should fracture your family, keeping one generation estranged from portions of the next two.

Perhaps your husband and your son are too much alike. At any rate, in the heat of a dispute your husband tried to hurt his son by hurting his wife, and your son repeated the remarks to get his wife on his side. Because it is always prudent to stay away from those who try to hurt us, your daughter-in-law's reaction is both understandable and justified.

There is a principle your husband would do well to keep in mind: we don't need to say everything which is in our head. Now his son's wife knows what he thinks of her, and that can't be taken back. However, your husband is right about one thing. It would be a fraud to send her a card--from him. But it is not a fraud for you to send the card along with a check.

Treat your daughter-in-law like your other daughters-in-law. In time she may let this pass and accept your husband for who he is. In truly toxic families there is no solution except a split, but that is a remedy of last resort, not the first place to go to when we are furious.

Wayne & Tamara