Feeling married with wife's family
Being married for almost fifteen years and my wife has her parents in other country. Her parents live with my wife three other siblings (two sisters and one brother) all of them work full time and are over 30s already. My wife’s parents are in the 60s and they don’t really work. The problem is my wife keeps helping them economically every month and doesn’t want stop doing it (I know it is over $100 every month and she keeps saying that it is her money and can do anything she wants with it [after she pays some bills in our home]). I am tired being arguing about it every month because we have kids and I want safe money for things we need here. However, I feel that they too tie each other and live as never will go out of that house (they are paying the house). I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to lose my marriage but she gets mad with me every time I spoke about it. Thank you for your feedbacks.
Could not help to notice the tense and frustrating situation you are in that involves you wife financially contributing to her family of origin, and your sense of responsibility in managing the finances for important things in your own household. Does not seem to make sense to you with your wife’s siblings working and living in the parent’s home. Must be a lot of loyalty there. Is this a cultural thing where adult children are expected to support parents?
Does not appear that your wife is acting irresponsibly with her monthly payments to parents, but clearly a difference between the two of you on priorities for spending and/or savings. Turns out to be a very difficult topic to discuss, and from your description, the arguments are unproductive. This is a sensitive topic for her and you.
You are clear in your priority in not wanting to compromise your marriage over this issue. Here are some of my thoughts/perspectives:
(1) Maybe to get away from the specific monthly payment to the emotional-psychological meaning of money for each of you. Money is a loaded topic. For individuals, it can mean or feel like power, control, freedom to make choices, security, comfort, stability, etc. For many, money or the lack of it affects our mood, identity, how we value ourselves.
(2) Could the way you both discuss this subject be improved? Sounds like one or both of you might be feeling attacked, criticized, judged, which is only going to incite one’s defenses, often leading to counter-attack. An empathic approach would acknowledge the emotion and motivation behind the behavior, an indication of an attempt to understand the other, which often gets confused with agreement to what you are doing, which it is not. We can try to show support and understanding of where the other is coming from, but still have our own views and not agree. There are just differences, not right or wrong.
(3) Might consider marital counseling to help facilitate a resolution to your conflict.
(4) Maybe a financial advisor to help you prepare budget and/or options to reach your financial goals.
(5) You value your marriage, and you have been through and have accomplished a lot over 15 years. So, what is it that you find in each other, want to give to each other? Is there a faith or spiritual foundation to your marriage? Do you pray together? Having a relationship with Jesus can empower us to forgive, have compassion.
Hope this was helpful to you. My prayer is that you find your way through this based on realizing what is really important.