I have been married for just over 2 years. Here is the problem; my wife either calls or receives a phone call from her mom 4 to 5 times a day. I refer to genesis 2.24, I hope this applies to women too. The constant talking is driving my crazy. My father in law is up there too, but not nearly as bad as my mother in law. We can leave their house and in 5 minutes, the cell phone rings, blah blah blah. It makes me feel inadequate as a husband, to know that my wife still has to talk to her parents constantly. Ok, ok, ok…
Is this normal? What is the normal role for in-laws?
If it is not normal (I hope that it isn’t) how can I combat it?
I had a friend with a similar problem. They would go food shopping, the moment they walked in the door (while still wearing her coat and before putting the food away), the wife would be on the phone with her Mom. The husband put a stop to it by complaining and constantly pointing it out and the wife gradually stopped talking to her mother that much.
Then the mother suddenly died. The wife ended up resenting the husband because she didn’t spend as much time with her mother as she should / could have during her final days / weeks / months and now that opportunity was gone forever. As a result of this resentment, the wife filed for divorce and the marriage ended.
However, you decided to handle your particular situation, please keep this little story in mind.
You have it easy brother, how about having your mother in law at the house for weeks on end. Every time I look up she is there. We recently had our first child (7 months) and since then my mother in law has stayed with us, as she is from another area, for all but about a month. I love my wife very much and she enjoys the company and the assistance that her mother provides. I own my own business and work fairly long hours and am glad that she is there for my wife. If I were you I would do as Father Corapi says and offer it up, as I do.
PRAISE GOD your wife has that relationship with her parents. My wife rarely talks to her mother because her mother is too busy. It is a blessing that your wife has another mother to talk to. Like it or not, we can learn a lot from our parents. And since you were so quick to through out scripture, Proverbs tells older women to train younger women, your mother-in-law was just following scripture.
When I lived with my parents…my sister’s would call 4-5 times a day and my mom would call them the same amount…my mom would also get mad at me if I stayed on the phone to a friend for longer than 15 minutes because my sisters may have needed to get a hold of her…your not alone on this one…it used to drive me crazy too!!
my wife does not work outside the home, we have four children, 9, 5, 4, 11 months. I guess I was under the impression that once you married, you reduced your reliance on your parents for support. I am not saying that she shouldn’t talk to her parents at all, just not 7 times a day… Also, no one has responded to my question about the proper role on in-laws in a marriage, advice please.
I can certainly understand your frustration at your wife being so connected to her mom. I’m sure it seems like she is less interested in her bond with you than in her bond with her mother.
If it really is a nuisance- pull her aside and explain that to her. She may be frustrated and offended- because she has had a VERY close relationship with her Mom and Dad for many years. She will be loosing a part of a relationship that means a lot to her. This means you need to work extra hard to fill in the gaps for her.
I guess I was under the impression that once you married, you reduced your reliance on your parents for support.
Is she actually needing support? Or does she just want to share with them? Women don’t always want something fixed when they open their mouth- sometimes they just want to talk. Some women like to talk more than others.
I am not saying that she shouldn’t talk to her parents at all, just not 7 times a day…
So what would be an appropriate amount? One call in the morning and one at night? Just one call every other day?
If her conversations are taking time away from her family, she needs to adjust the time she spends on the phone. No doubt.
But if she’s juggling 4 young children during the day- I know I would need to talk with someone or the stress would cause me to burst!
Maybe rather than make demands on her about who, when, how long, how often- you should make it so she would think of speaking to you rather than her parents. Use this as an opportunity and motivation to build up your marriage.
Also, no one has responded to my question about the proper role on in-laws in a marriage, advice please.
I think it’s because this is SO SUBJECTIVE. I don’t think there is a normal role of anyone in a family. Familial roles depend so much on the people inolved. Your case is a perfect example. You find this an enormous frustration- there are several posters on this thread who called you LUCKY!
You just need to find a happy medium for your family.
Personally, I would voice my concerns with my spouse to keep the communication channels open. Maybe she doesn’t realize how deeply you feel about this- or that you have a valid concern. It might fix your problem automatically.
That said, I do think that it is very important to remain strongly connected to our families. Especially since we always seem to complain that the fall of society is because families are broken or breaking.
I would also say that the more family we can involve and love- the better! We learn a great many things from our family, not the least of which are Humility, Charity and Kindness.
First, 4-5 calls a day does seem more than typical. But this could either mean that they have a good friendship or that they have an unhealthy dependence on each other. I wouldn’t judge by the number alone. And women often do need other female companionship in different amounts. Either way there is a problem because it is interfering with her relationship with you.
It sounds like many of these phone calls are happening while you’re nearby. So it seems like your wife is choosing to talk with her mom over you. Maybe if she understood how that hurts your feelings to feel like you’re 2nd, she’d be willing to cut back a bit.
It’s not like she has to stop talking to her mom, just adjust WHEN the talking takes place. Maybe you and she could agree that they’d do their chatting during the day when you’re at work, or at other times when you’re not around anyway.
Or maybe the problem is that she’s choosing to answer the cell phone over being in the present with you. A little cell phone etiquite might help a bit.
But it’s true, if you and she do work something out with this, you will have to be prepared to also “be present and available” to her for talking and “sharing” and chatting.
If the actual things she talks about with her parents are undermining to you as a husband (like complaining about you to them etc), then timing of calls won’t help. Then you’d need deal with that issue separately. Closeness to a parent or a friend doesn’t require betrayal of loyalty to the spouse.
Sounds like the wife is a talker. Some people like to talk constantly or talk on the phone constantly or both.
If the wife didn’t have her parents to talk with on the phone, she would probably be on the phone with her friends. Or, if she didn’t have parents or friends to talk with, she would be phoning her husband all day. The husband is lucky she has her parents to talk with.
The husband has absolutely no right to put restrictions on his wife’s phone calls. However, if the phone calls are interupting a conversaton or other activity, he could ask his wife to please tell the caller she’s busy right now and will call back later.
I asked the questions because I have a 10, 8, 2 and 1 year old and I homeschool. I don’t call my mom as much as I used to, but I would have to talk to her everyday at 10:00 a.m. after she got back from Mass. Now I talk with her every other day, but at a time when I am depressed, unappreciated, not listened to etc., it is nice to have her to just hear me. It has helped my marriage because she is a good woman that gives great advice about treating your husband well and taking care of the children. I needed that. NOW, there is a problem, you and she are the only ones to fix this, but really sit down and TALK. She needs to talk, and if you want her to talk less to everyone else, open up and let her come to you. PLEASE don’t take that as a critism, you are working and taking care of kids too. I give you a ton of credit putting this problem out there! I just know that my phone line goes crazy when I am going CRAZY. Good luck and God Bless You!
It may be excessive, but your wife may not see it as excessive, or she may just not know how to say “no” to her parents.
If it is not normal (I hope that it isn’t) how can I combat it?
My wife used to begrudge the amount I talked to my mother on the phone, which may have only been 1 or 2 times a week, sometimes more, but usually over an hour. It got to be where I would try to call my mother when my wife was not home, but she was usually home when I was except for short errands, so it got to where I would quickly end the call with mom when I heard the car turn in the driveway. It was very uncomfortable, and was the only thing that was a black mark in an otherwise wonderful marriage.
She told me that she thought I was ignoring her, etc etc even though I was available for her for many times the amount I talked to my mom. It was like she was jealous or something. Actually there were additional factors, but nothing wrong with my mom or anything like that.
On most any issue, I completely went along with my wife’s wishes, except with this one I became increasingly resentful. Plus, her parents are here in town and my mother (dad died three years ago) lives in Chicago, 700 miles away so she saw her parents frequently and talked to them not-long distance even more frequently.
We got over it now, and there is no longer a problem. From it I leave you with one strong warning: NEVER ask your spouse to choose between you and his/her parents. (In our case, my wife never put it into those words, but that’s about how it came down.)
If it merely annoys you, get over it. If it seriously interrupts your communications with your wife, as another poster suggested, maybe she needs to learn some phone etiquette. Many people are strangely conditioned – like Pavlov’s dog – to answer the phone immediately, with priority over everything else. Maybe she will agree to turn the cell phone off and let it take a message while you are with her in the car, and while at home if you’re having a discussion, let the answering machine get it.
I have four children and when they were young I stayed at home with them and was there night and day for them. My parents were retired and able to call me during the day when I was home alone with the children. At times I think they helped me get through that time more than anyone. I think it is really hard sometimes when kids are small and so very challenging.
That being said, I think that one can go overboard too. I recently read a book called A Woman after God’s own Heart, and it had some really good advice on how to treat your family and the respect that you need for your spouse and children. One of the tips the author gives is to never talk on the phone when your husband is home. I know it sounds harsh, but I did see the logic to it. When your spouse is home is the time to work on your relationship. If you don’t do it then, then you are missing out on building the family bonds that strengthen the family unit. I don’t think you could tell her what to do without seeming like a jealous and uncaring husband. One thing that might work is to go to a marriage encounter. During that weekend there is ample time to discuss and write to each other about things like this. It is more controlled and loving, and it would work better than when you are at odds with each other. Just a thought… and don’t forget to pray about it. What you say can’t be taken back, and I am sure you know that.
In your original post, you said you had been married just under 2 years. Later you noted that you have 4 children–ranging in age from 11 months to 9 years. So one or both of you has been married before. Could it be that your concern about your wife’s overly close relationship with her mother (your mother-in-law) is a surrogate for other issues and concerns between you? It might be a good idea for you to consider that possibility and honestly acknowledge why this bothers you. For example, is it because her relationship is closer with her mother than with you? Or because you are afraid they are talking about you? Or because her mother helped her through a previous failed relationship? Or does your mother-in-law not approve entirely of you? When something is bothering you, it is important to think it through and get behind the feeling it evokes to understand why you feel the way you do. Recognizing that something (like this) bothers you is an important first step to identifying the core issue, deciding what you can and will do about it, and changing what you can change to resolve the issue. Good luck and God bless.
You have to deal with both the facts that your WIFE calls her mother, and her mother calls her, and expects to be called all the time. Two people to deal with. First you need to realize WHY this is bothering you. Do you feel inadequate as a husband? Do you miss your wife while she’s yakking away? Do you want that time for the two of you? Once you know this answer, it will be much easier to deal with the solution since you will know how to talk about it. And once you and your wife come to a conclusion, SHE needs to relay the new schedule to her mother.
As far as what is normal - normal is whatever you BOTH can handle and are comfortable with. To some, having their parents live with them are great. Others, holiday phone calls and once a year visits work well. You need to have a good conversation between the two of you and come to a compromise or agreement. Find the heart of the issue, and work from there. And good luck!
My advice is that you both get involved with other families with stay at home Moms. She can talk to them on the phone and have play dates which help the difficulties of staying home with young children easier. She may need to get out of the house more. Her constant talking to her mother is probably a major coping mechanism. She needs to embrace her role in life by meeting other moms. Also, I have always found the advice of friends in the same stage of life as I to be more helpful than advice from my mother (although I enjoy her perspective, as well). Do you live far from family? Is your wife lonely for friends?
As a stay at home Mom, I always try to not call my friends in the evening so as to not take away from their “family time”. I am also just too busy to talk on the phone. Of course, I really enjoy these message boards.
My other advice, get rid of the cell phone. I am always shocked when I see a couple out at the mall and one is talking on the phone instead of talking to the person who is actually with them!
Also, pray about it. After my first child was born, my mother-in-law called at least once a day for the play by play on our son’s development. It drove me crazy. I begged God every night that she would stop calling so much. It gradually went to once a day, then once every other day, then eventually to once a week. What a relief it was to me.
I really do not talk on the phone much because my favorite person to talk to is my husband. We love to talk and we agree on everything.
hey you are lucky! my wife not only call her mother as much as you wife calls her’s, but my wifes call a ceartain half a dozen friends that much also every day. some women just love to talk.ints no big deal till you get the phone bill. just curious, why doesn it bother you anyway?
wow…this has been a great string of advice, seriously! it’s been a little wake-up call for me to check my own telephone habits with my mom. i talk to my mom at least 4 times a day. she is a friend and a spiritual mentor. she also has respect for my husband and my privacy and relationship. if mom happens to call in the morning before my husband leaves for work, she can usually sense that we are still in transition. once she realizes he is not out the door yet, she’ll offer to call back later.
my husband loves the relationship we have with my parents. when we experience something difficult or something exciting, he will hand me the phone and say, “here…you’d better call your mom!”
i do have to be conscious of the fact that he is my best friend and that he always takes priority over my mom. i will admit it, though, i am a talker! it usually takes my husband and I at least two hours of non-stop talking in the evenings before we have everything said.
if i were you, i’d try to look on the bright side. there are many cultures in the world where families live together; parents, grand-parents, great-grandparents. each culture gets to define norms for themselves. you can choose to make those phone calls with your mother-in-law part of your family’s unique culture. why not?
because i am a talker, i also find the telephone to be a HUGE mental distraction to me. it is a habit…not unlike smoking might be to some. i have to discipline myself not to turn to the phone every time i think of something…as an outlet for my extroverted personality.
i have to wholeheartedly agree with st. catherine’s advice to seriously consider losing that cell phone forever. when i used to have a cell phone, i would use it way too much. in the car, my kids would be working for my attention while i filled a friend in on what street we were driving on at the moment. it can really take away attention from those who need our attention the most.
good luck, sir! i will pray that God speaks to your wife’s heart on this issue. He is really the only one who can convict our hearts of wrongdoing.
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