Q: My own parents keep trying to sabotage my relationship with my spouse. They always have snide remarks or something that they think isn’t being done right. What can I do?
A: Your first response is to probably want to say to them: “Get a life, you guys, and quit sabotaging my marriage. This is my husband. And we are building a healthy, biblical marriage.” But that probably wouldn’t be the best way to deal with this.
Instead, you need to cling to your husband and let your family know in no uncertain terms that when they reject your spouse, they’re rejecting you. If they get all upset and dysfunctional about that, then they’re sucked into some toxic behavior patterns. Don’t take the bait. Instead, pray for them. Love them. Honor them. Encourage them, but support your spouse. That will do a number of things. First, it will eventually extinguish their behavior because, after a few months, it’s going to burn out because they aren’t getting anything from you. Second, it will build the esteem of your spouse so much that he/she will be drawn to you and feel the incredible sense of connectedness. Third, it will strengthen your marriage.
It’s going to take time. It may never be completely gone. But realize that you can’t control it. No matter what you do, that stuff was there before you and your spouse were on the scene and it’s going to be there after you leave the scene. You can’t change them until the Holy Spirit convicts them and changes them. In the meantime, do what you can to show honor while making it very clear where you stand.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!