- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Friends and Family Relationships
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 10:15
"Honor thy father and thy mother" applies lifelong. Overbearing parents should be treated with respect and love. Adult children honor their parents, not by obeying them, but by upholding what they value.
If patience and prayer don’t resolve the issue, a first response could be a gentle, perhaps humorous, reminder by the wife or the husband, depending on whose parent is overbearing. If that makes no difference, a kind, but more direct plea could follow. If this is ineffective a different course is indicated. By continuing to cultivate a relationship of mutual respect between themselves and the overbearing parents, the younger couple will be better able to handle the problem effectively.
Marriage forms a new relationship. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife" (Genesis 2:24). The wife leaves her father’s headship for a new head. The man leaves his parents to establish a new home and headship. The husband is responsible for this new marriage relationship. He is responsible to lead in protecting this relationship and, therefore, in dealing with overbearing parents. Both partners should be open and caring in discussing the problem between themselves and should make every effort to extend understanding to the offending parents. This cannot be allowed to come between the husband and wife and they must remain united in arriving at a way to confront the issue. If his parents are the problem, it’s appropriate for him to speak to them both by himself. In this way, he protects his wife and confines the problem to the ones directly involved. When he expresses the problem and the proposed solution to his parents, he indicates that "we have this concern" (not "she has…"), and "we are asking you to…" (not "she wants you to…"). If the wife’s parents are the problem, the husband should speak with them in the same spirit, but should take his wife with him, so the parents know it is a united stance. While being direct and firm, it’s important to affirm the intention of keeping an enjoyable and loving relationship with these parents.
Postponing dealing with the problem only makes its impact worse and makes dealing with it more difficult.