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Question: My father has a very big ego and does not like to be shown that he is wrong. Most of the time growing up we would just drop it and conform to his moods just to avoid conflict. But now that I’m married I see how that affects my wife and I don’t want to keep giving into a man who is so stubborn at the expense of my wife’s happiness. How do I balance the two?
Marriage is not only difficult on its own but can cause strain when redefining your relationships with your family of origin. Marriage is a time when all of the relationships in the family have to change and that can be very hard for some people to accept. Try to involve your father in ways that he enjoys being included so as to ease the transition of accepting your marriage your new relationship with him. In situations where he tries to assert authority where he should not, for example telling you how to behave in your marriage, gently remind him that the decision is between you and your wife. This is important to establish the new boundary that has been created between you and your wife and the rest of your families. When you speak to him, try to empathize with where he is coming from. Recognize that he is older and has had a lot of experience and show him you understand where he is coming from. This usually makes hearing a disagreement much easier because he will be less defensive. If you find that your father is being verbally/emotionally abusive, however, that is an entirely different story.
Please note that this section is for information and educational purposes only. Parijat’s answers are not intended to be therapy nor to replace counseling services.