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How do you forgive someone when they don't think they're wrong?

  Two weeks before our wedding, my then-future MIL told my then-fiance her estranged brother was having health issues and might pass away soon, and she told him if that happened, she'd go to the funeral instead of the wedding.  She then asked if she was important enough for us to postpone the ceremony so she could come too (this was after we practically let her pick the wedding date, she was travelling the furthest and had the strictest schedule of all guests at our small ceremony).  My fiance sided with his mother on this one, said she had to be at his wedding and if we needed to change the date, that's what he would do.  I was angry, I felt she was blackmailing him and since we had many other family members flying in, our non-refundable deposits paid for the ceremony site and honeymoon, I didn't think changing the date because of this conflict was possible or even a reasonable thing to request.  I used my then-future brother-in-law to help get his mother on the plane and to the wedding as scheduled.  Her brother passed away a month after our wedding. 

 I am still angry at my MIL for putting me thru a few days of emotional hell before the wedding and for then acting as though I was unreasonable for not saying "okay, the wedding date is flexible."  My husband doesn't feel she made an inappropriate request either, but my anger is affecting how I feel about my MIL.  She is not sorry for asking if she was important enough to change the wedding date, and she doesn't think she should apologize.  I know the only way I can get past what happened is to try to forgive her, but now that my husband and I are starting to make plans for trips and some smaller receptions around the country (my family is spread out across the country, getting everyone together for one big one isn't feasible), I'm frustrated that he keeps putting her feelings over mine.

Re: How do you forgive someone when they don't think they're wrong?

  • I think you are letting your feelings for your MIL and maybe her past actions cloud your view of this situation. It is not unreasonable for her to want to say goodbye to her brother, nor is it unreasonable for her to want to attend her son's wedding. Her request was likewise not unreasonable.

    Also, I'm getting from your post that you didn't end up having to postpone? Really, you are making a huge deal out of nothing. You need to get over this. 

  • image Golden42:

    I think you are letting your feelings for your MIL and maybe her past actions cloud your view of this situation. It is not unreasonable for her to want to say goodbye to her brother, nor is it unreasonable for her to want to attend her son's wedding. Her request was likewise not unreasonable.

    Also, I'm getting from your post that you didn't end up having to postpone? Really, you are making a huge deal out of nothing. You need to get over this. 

     I agree with Golden. If this was your mom I think you would be singing a different tune.

     

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  • I agree with you ladies but personally I'm not sure I would ask my son to postpone his wedding due to a probable funeral (of an estranged brother). That passive aggressive comment "am I important enough" would tick me off too.

    If it was the couple to express the wish to postpone as a sign of affection/respect towards the brother/uncle, I could see it happening; but to ASK someone to change their wedding date, I don't know, I would never.


  • Well, I don't think MIL was 100% wrong in this scenario- wanting to spend time with a brother before he passes is huge, but I can imagine she would feel terrible if she missed her own son's wedding.  If I were in her shoes, I don't know how I'd pick between the 2, so I could see why she might ask if the wedding date could be moved out of despiration.

    I would cut her a little bit of slack and think that if she was going through the serious illness of a brother, she might not stop and think about all of the other wedding guests, deposits, etc. that would be effected by changing the date at the last minute.  Being the bride, I could see how this would be on the forefront of your mind.  If I were in your shoes, I'd give her a mental "pass" on this one since you both had a lot on your plates, she probably wasn't thinking it out fully when she made the request, and it went over like a lead balloon.

    That said, if DH continues to prioritize her before you, I'd sit down with DH and explain how you feel.  If there are specific things she's asking that you feel are unreasonable, talk with DH and have him resolve it with his mom.  She's his mom and is certainly entitled to some respect and attention from him, but it can't always come at your expense.  He does need to make you a priority. 

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  • image Golden42:

    I think you are letting your feelings for your MIL and maybe her past actions cloud your view of this situation. It is not unreasonable for her to want to say goodbye to her brother, nor is it unreasonable for her to want to attend her son's wedding. Her request was likewise not unreasonable.

    Also, I'm getting from your post that you didn't end up having to postpone? Really, you are making a huge deal out of nothing. You need to get over this. 

    I think there's more to it because the OP stated that her H sided with his mother - and I imagine this might not be the first time that has happened.

    You are right that her MIL is not unreasonable for wanting to say goodbye to her brother or wanting to attend her son's wedding, but it seems like her MIL waited until the last minute to tell them they should postpone their wedding, after they had already planned around MIL's 'schedule' to begin with (which for me, is a load of crap too, but whatevs) - and MIL acted like that was no big deal to just delay the wedding. That's not cool - not when deposits were paid, other people bought plane tickets to travel, etc....her MIL is one person out of however many were invited to the wedding, and for her to basically screw those people out of the expense of traveling too without apology is totally not cool.

    That said - OP, I do think you might want to let this go. It happened. It sucks. But you can't go back and change it - you guys had your wedding and it's in the past now. I would really like to know more about the situation with your H siding with his mother and putting her first though. That needs to stop. You guys are a family now and he needs to know that he puts you first. If not, then you definitely have a problem and it's not your MIL ;)

  • you could have said no but you said yes. live with your decision and let it go. it was your wedding too. and dh needs to put you first. if he's not it's a whole separate issue.
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  • image R.Wilsonny:
    image Golden42:

    I think you are letting your feelings for your MIL and maybe her past actions cloud your view of this situation. It is not unreasonable for her to want to say goodbye to her brother, nor is it unreasonable for her to want to attend her son's wedding. Her request was likewise not unreasonable.

    Also, I'm getting from your post that you didn't end up having to postpone? Really, you are making a huge deal out of nothing. You need to get over this. 

    I think there's more to it because the OP stated that her H sided with his mother - and I imagine this might not be the first time that has happened.

    You are right that her MIL is not unreasonable for wanting to say goodbye to her brother or wanting to attend her son's wedding, but it seems like her MIL waited until the last minute to tell them they should postpone their wedding, after they had already planned around MIL's 'schedule' to begin with (which for me, is a load of crap too, but whatevs) - and MIL acted like that was no big deal to just delay the wedding. That's not cool - not when deposits were paid, other people bought plane tickets to travel, etc....her MIL is one person out of however many were invited to the wedding, and for her to basically screw those people out of the expense of traveling too without apology is totally not cool.

    That said - OP, I do think you might want to let this go. It happened. It sucks. But you can't go back and change it - you guys had your wedding and it's in the past now. I would really like to know more about the situation with your H siding with his mother and putting her first though. That needs to stop. You guys are a family now and he needs to know that he puts you first. If not, then you definitely have a problem and it's not your MIL ;)

    Oh I agree that if this is a recurring problem then they need to address it. I can just see in this specific situation why her H didn't think it was crazy. Plus, since it didn't actually happen, that colors my response considerably.
  • If you think that this request is soooo innapropriate, why arent you angry at your HUSBAND for giving in?
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  • You are putting all your anger on your MIL. Your anger should be put on your HUSBAND. Here are the facts:

    -MIL can ask for anything under the sun

    -Your H needs to tell her no.

    -Your H won't, hasn't or isn't telling her no.

    -You married him anyways.

    -You now have a HUSBAND problem, he is putting his mother and her crazy over you.

    You need to sit him down and explain how wrong he was in this situation. In the future big decisions that affect both of you (like your wedding day FFS) have to be a mutal decision.

    Also, you need to figure out why you are not placing the anger on the correct party here. MIL asked a f-Ed up thing for sure but why did he feel it was okay? And why for all that is holy did you marry him? 

  •  I am still angry at my MIL for putting me thru a few days of emotional hell before the wedding and for then acting as though I was unreasonable for not saying "okay, the wedding date is flexible."  My husband doesn't feel she made an inappropriate request either, but my anger is affecting how I feel about my MIL
     
    Again, she didn't put you through this your H did. All he had to do was tell her no. Of course she thinks you are unreasonable, her son TOLD her it was OKAY and TOTALLY fine. See how he is the issue and problem here?!? 
  • Yeah, I'm w/ Illumine and MLE on this one.  You need to be pissed at your DH.

    Was her request a bit crazy?  Yes - taking into account ALL the people it would affect.  But it was ONLY a question.  She wasn't holding a gun to your head. Had you said "no", then no undue stress.

    But your DH did not say no.  He said yes.  And from that, the stress was created.

     See the connection?

    But I have a feeling this isn't the first time you've seen this behavior and your DH backing HER up and not you. But nooooooo, you can't be mad at the guy you love and want to marry. It must be his evil mom.  Never, ever him. Tongue Tied

    Unless you starting holding him accountable, this issue will never, ever go away.

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  • image BulgariHeart:

    I agree with you ladies but personally I'm not sure I would ask my son to postpone his wedding due to a probable funeral (of an estranged brother). That passive aggressive comment "am I important enough" would tick me off too.

    If it was the couple to express the wish to postpone as a sign of affection/respect towards the brother/uncle, I could see it happening; but to ASK someone to change their wedding date, I don't know, I would never.

    I had the same though.  An estranged brother? I think MIL was just using this as a way to show you that her little boy is still her little boy and he would pick her over you, which is shitty of her and she shouldn't do that. How was your relationship with you MIL before she was your MIL, aside from this issue obviously?

    But that brings me to the opinion of most people who have responded... your husband is a big part of the problem and since you are probably recently married, you don't want to believe that it could be him.  

  • Estranged or not, your sibling dying is stressful and something that she probably would want to be there for. I don't think she is being unreasonable - to her, she was put into a position of potentially having to choose between her brother's funeral and her son's wedding - appreciate that it is a horrible position to be in with that kind of choice.

    She asked if the wedding was at all flexible, your husband said yes, the wedding wasn't actually changed and everything went to plan. Chalk it up as a win and move on, I would think. Dwelling on something like this isn't going to do you any good - she didn't even "ruin" your wedding, what is there, really, to forgive?

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  • Ditto PPs, it sounds like your real problem here is your DH. Does he say, "How high?" every time his mother tells him to jump? I'm curious as to what attracted you to this kind of man who is willing to put his mother ahead of himself and his wife. 
  • image MLE2010:

    You are putting all your anger on your MIL. Your anger should be put on your HUSBAND. Here are the facts:

    -MIL can ask for anything under the sun

    -Your H needs to tell her no.

    -Your H won't, hasn't or isn't telling her no.

    -You married him anyways.

    -You now have a HUSBAND problem, he is putting his mother and her crazy over you.

    You need to sit him down and explain how wrong he was in this situation. In the future big decisions that affect both of you (like your wedding day FFS) have to be a mutal decision.

    Also, you need to figure out why you are not placing the anger on the correct party here. MIL asked a f-Ed up thing for sure but why did he feel it was okay? And why for all that is holy did you marry him? 

    I really could not have said it better myself.

  • Your husband missed the boat.  He should have said to her " am I not important enough, or at least more important than an ESTRANGED brother? I am IN your life, while he is not....so YOU tell me who is important"
  • Grief and loss (or anticipatory grief and loss) can do strange things to a person. If your MIL is otherwise a reasonable person and you otherwise get along, I would just drop it. If your MIL is not someone you get along with, then that previous relationship is probably influencing your view of this situation. 

     I think both of you are acting unreasonable here. Yes, weddings are expensive and once you get past a certain point very costly with time, effort, and money to change dates, but at the same time her brother was dying (even if they were estranged- possibly all the more reason for her to want to go to a funeral for some closure or whatever). So, yeah. At the end of the day, you didn't have to change your plans, and although you were stressed, it all worked out in the end. So, I think you really need to get over it at this point, unless you want to live the rest of your life pissed at your MIL and your H. 

    Everyone in this situation (you, YH, MIL) could have handled it differently and better. But, you can't change the past, so all you can do is move forward. It also sounds like you and YH could use some better communication skills. 

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  • My MIL is the same way, we actually planned our wedding for 3 months earlier than what we had told everyone, because "she wouldnt be able to enjoy it as much because of tax season and she would be too stressed." Let me say she didnt help plan, so she was basically whining because she didnt want work on her mind for our wedding day. Kinda ridiculous.

     

    I bet this isnt a one time thing. I understand wanting to be with your brother before he passes, but my guess is she does this on little things too. If your husband doesnt realize how much it effects your relationship you need to keep bringing it up every time until he realizes this isnt how its supposed to be, he is supposed to put you as the top priority.

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  • Forgiveness isn't something you do to reward people because they've admitted that they were wrong.  You forgive someone because of the way YOU feel; because YOU need to do it to move on.

    You will forgive your MIL when you really are ready to accept that she was selfish and inappropriate to request that you change your wedding day but you're still okay with that.

    My sense is that your real problem is with your husband. 

  • Forgiveness doesn't just free the other person it frees you as well. You made a vow to love and honor DH. You can do this by honoring his family. If nothing else forgiving her is in fact loving him. 

    I find random acts of kindness help. It is hard to be angry when we are serving one another. Bake her something or send her a card.

    Think of all her positive qualities and appreciate those in her. Love her for raising your husband. That is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.

    Many prayers for you and your marriage and all the best. 

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  • image MLE2010:

    You are putting all your anger on your MIL. Your anger should be put on your HUSBAND. Here are the facts:

    -MIL can ask for anything under the sun

    -Your H needs to tell her no.

    -Your H won't, hasn't or isn't telling her no.

    -You married him anyways.

    -You now have a HUSBAND problem, he is putting his mother and her crazy over you.

    You need to sit him down and explain how wrong he was in this situation. In the future big decisions that affect both of you (like your wedding day FFS) have to be a mutal decision.

    Also, you need to figure out why you are not placing the anger on the correct party here. MIL asked a f-Ed up thing for sure but why did he feel it was okay? And why for all that is holy did you marry him? 

     

    I agree with all of this. In my experience, it wasn't MIL that had the control over DH, but his ex-wife. When we met, she controlled everything, to the point that she would not allow him to get SS and have him around me until she met me, saw my apartment and "decided I wasn't crazy." (this was before a custody order so she didn't have to let DH see his son). She is her own set of crazy and a story unto itself, but point being, I spent a long time being furious with her for every time she got to make a decision that affected me and or my plans. Finally, realizing my problem was not her, but rather him, I sat down with DH and explained why I was so pissed, and asked why he felt the need to put her wishes before our relationship, and told him that if we were going to be married, I should be the number one woman in his life and the only person he makes decisions with first. It turns out DH had a lot of guilt for the way things were with his ex (she was young when they married, got herself into a ton of debt which he promised to help her out of and never did, still lives with her parents, never got an education, never has money for phone, car, daycare, etc. despite all the child support he gives, and so on). We had a long discussion about living in the past and how it does not matter what he gives into with her, she has to make the choice to forgive him for the past, but in the meantime he is ruining the present. Old habits die hard, and there are days when he gives in to things that I don't think he should, and I spend a while pissed off at him, but for the most part, he now comes to me before any decisions have been made regarding SS and our schedule. He got a custody order in place that we can all agree to, and finally stood up to his ex and explained that I will be included on any decisions that affect scheduling with SS and would be treated with respect as a parent in this relationship.

     

    My suggestion is talk to your DH, explain your feelings, lay down the law, and ask why he feels the need to give in to his mother's every whim. At the very least, he needs to be consulting you before giving his mother an answer to questions like that, he is married now, it is no longer a one-person decision. Get some closure, then forgive. Forgiveness is freeing yourself from the burden of it, it doesn't mean that she has to admit to being wrong, she may never will, and that's on her, not you.

  • I agree with many previous posters, this is a Husband issue and not a MIL issue. You married him, now you have to live with this. It is very possible that he will never change.
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