October 30, 2013 in Features

Carolyn Hax: Seek husband’s help with his family

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: I have been married for four years. We love each other and enjoy being around each other.

Our families could not be more different. My family is very stoic and quiet. They have educations. If they don’t like/agree with an opinion, they keep their mouths shut and change the topic to a pleasant or neutral subject.

My husband’s family is loud, racist and uneducated. They look at science and medicine as mumbo-jumbo they’ll never believe. If I try to change to a neutral topic, they continue to press the subject.

Sitting and smiling pleasantly is not cutting the mustard. Silence on my part upsets my husband, who advises, “Just be you.”

How can I survive the upcoming holidays without wanting to run screaming? – Holiday Road Kill

So, uneducated =unevolved? Wow.

You’re reflecting your family’s oh-so-proper DNA when you run out of ideas after “change subject” and “be right.”

Just because he doesn’t want you to, you can’t remain silent?

All this means – or needs to mean, if you’re both good sports about it – is that on this issue, you’ll both need to work a lot harder to accept each other.

For him, it means either he sticks up for you, or helps you figure out how to handle his family better – since you’re obviously new to (and overmatched by) tactics like theirs and he’s not.

For you, “work a little harder” means you don’t give up on mustard-cutting quite so quickly. Maybe you need to want to succeed at it more than you want to write these people off. Maybe you need to stop seeing his family as the collective, intellectual unwashed and train your eyes on them as individuals.

One way to start this whole process is by asking your husband how he would handle his family if he were in your place. Make it clear you want to come up with a better solution than just sucking it up to make him happy …


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