By Annie Lane
Dear Annie: Hope you can give us some sage advice! My daughter is married to a man who has many good qualities but is very controlling. He knows everything and always must have things his way as well as the last word. When we are all together, he dominates the conversation when we are eager to hear from his wife who we all miss and love.
My daughter is well aware of her husband’s shortcomings, but she loves him and continues to take his verbal abuse and put-downs. Sadly, sometimes he does this in front of us. My other three children are very upset by this behavior toward their sister. To make matters worse, the husband has called me and my other children from time to time to complain about his wife (my daughter/their sister). It is VERY difficult for us to hear these petty complaints.
For example, he recently called me to say that he and his mother have been discussing my daughter’s failings. Apparently, she doesn’t cook the way he would like. He is a workaholic and comes home at odd hours even though he is his own boss. She can never rely on a time for dinner even though she has often asked him to let her know when he will be home. She does not prepare elaborate meals, rather she prepares a meal that she can reheat when he finally returns.
He also complained to me that my daughter will ask him which of two or three dresses he would like her to wear to an event they will attend together. She simply wants to please him. But he thinks she is wasting his valuable time and should make the decision herself without bothering him.
Recently, he called my eldest daughter to complain about his wife (her sister) and said, “If I divorce her one day, my life will be so much better.” This has upset all of us. My children think that they should tell their sister what her husband is saying about her behind her back. And I hesitate as I think that this will break my daughter’s heart to hear the nasty things her husband says about her to us.
You should know that we have all encouraged marital counseling. And they tried it, but apparently it has not worked because we continue to get these troubling calls from the husband.
The question for you is: Should we tell my daughter what her husband is saying about her to us? Or should we remain silent? Thanks for any help and suggestions. — Very Sad Mother of a Very Sweet and Special Daughter