Harboring Resentment in My Marriage

Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 07:41 am

My wife and I typically have a great relationship, but recently that has changed. At the end of November my sister and her son were evicted from their apartment because she hadn't paid her rent for 2 months. Sadly this is typical, but she didn't tell anyone that this was happening until after people were already removing her things and they were getting taken. My sister is 29 and has a long history of alcohol abuse, and just not ever being a good person. It's sad, but my parents don't even want to be around her. She asked my wife and I to care for her son for a week and although I was hesitant cause it always turns into more, we love him and said yes. Shortly thereafter she asked if she and him could move in until the January 1st, at the latest she said. I expressed over and over again how much I didn't want to do this, but my wife wanted to be nice and insisted we did. I became reclusive and spent a lot of time in my room, because being around her is extremely toxic and stressful. Towards the end of December my sister wasn't mentioning anything about leaving so we talked to her. She proceeded to ask to stay until the 1st week of March, and after talking about it my wife and I agreed. I started to become reclusive because again I don't like to spend time around her, and my wife would then critacize me about not being around them and how I'm putting everything off on her, when I expressed how unhappy it made me to be around her and she basically forced me, telling me 20+ times that we should. In February a temp position at the company where my wife and I work opened up, and my wife took it upon to recommend her to HR. Keep in mind she knows as well as I do how irresponsible and unreliable she is. My sister gave us a completely unusable resumee with my info still in it, and after erasing my info and fixing spelling errors I was just going to turn it in cause she so used to having everything done for her, but my wife reformatted and literally did her entire resumee over again for her. She gets the job off of this, and then my wife starts talking about how nervous she is about her working with us since she's never on time or anything, and I'm just thinking "she's my sister and no one will associate her with my wife" (my wife is white, my family is black), and of course on the day she is over 20 minutes late, and my wife comes to me saying "where is Mylancia? will you call her? will you text her? call her again? can you talk to HR to see if she's called?" and I'm just like I don't want to be apart of this and I never did, but you're acting as if this is on me! We also found out she was drinking in the house and stealing from us. We told her she has to be out by march 1st, but I still can't help but let this whole situation get to me. I know it's my sister and not my wife who's actually doing these things, but I feel some resentment towards my wife for repeatedly putting me in these positions and then washing her hands of it because it's "my sister" or at least that's how it feels. I really don't want this to drive a wedge in my marriage, but I can feel myself getting distant, and losing trust in my wife.

Please help me!

Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 08:04 am
Your wife is trying to get your sister out of your house in an expeditious manner. Kudos to your wife for trying to give your sister an opportunity to retain some dignity and maybe even make it, rather than throwing her out on her ear or taking her to court for custody of your nephew, putting it all on your parents, or just leaving your sister to twist in the wind. As for work, if you have a good reputation there, it shouldn't matter at all what your sister does, as you are separate people. I once recommended a guy for a job at an office I worked at. He was a great interview and got the job. And he never, ever showed up. I suffered no consequences for that whatsoever. Neither should you.

Get over the fact that your sister needs everything done for her as if she were 4 years old. She does. That's life. But either you (or your wife) do everything, or your sister will find yet another reason to stay forever. You and your wife have bent back on every hard date you've told her. What's your preschooler-type sister to think, except that every sob story, eventually, will get her an extension? After all, that's how it's always worked, so far as she is concerned.

You don't have a lot of choices here, but Job One is to talk to your wife, somewhere separate from the pressures of your home, and lay your cards on the table, both of you. Since you work together, why not stay late at work and go to an office or conference room if either is available?

Talk about, in no particular order, the following:
  • What will happen to your nephew and how you will feel if he becomes poor or ends up in a shelter
  • What will happen to your sister and how you will feel if she becomes homeless
  • What will happen to your parents and how you will feel if they are exploited
  • Whether continually enabling your sister is doing anyone any good
  • Whether anything else can be done to get your sister out but salvage her life without putting you and your wife out too much (revising your sister's resume is one of these things)
  • Whether pushing your sister to mental health treatment will have any chance of success
  • What the absolute hard date is for your sister to leave with no backpedaling and no softening of your position

Get out of your room and be a part of this. Don't pin all of this on your wife. Forget whatever slights happened during childhood (I'm sure there were many). We are talking about the here and now. I'd say your priorities are keeping your marriage together, keeping your nephew safe and as well-situated as possible, and keeping your parents from being exploited. Notice how your sister isn't on that list? But she is the key to all of that. You just have to decide, jointly, what you want to do, and stick by your plan, rather than waffling and caving at the last second.
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 08:09 am
Stick to the Mar. deadline, let sis deal with any work problems herself, divorce yourself mentally from her problems.

If your wife continues to pressure you into more, know that you and your wife have other problems unrelated to your sister.

Best of luck, that's a tough spot.
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 08:36 am
I don't want to put this all on her, but she said she would handle things pertaining to her because she's seen the way she is. And these discrepancies were in my childhood, but they're also as recent as 3 months ago. That's where my frustration with my wife comes from, that no matter how much I express to her how depressed and upset it makes me to have to be around her 24/7 she still attempts to insert her into every aspect of our lives. Like you know work is now my safe place, but you get her a job with us and then make it my responsibility to check up on everything. She says it hurts my sister's feelings that I don't want to be around her, but from my perspective why would I? She's always rude and mean and she's a user. My wife says this stuff, says she knows she's not trying to change (she doesn't ever even try and I know it's partially because we're enabling her) but then will insist we give her money or something we know she's just using on alcohol. She is definitely not allowed to stay past March 1st and I told her that it's because we expressed that we couldn't allow her to drink in the house and she agrees, but we find bottles and cans in her room. My sister knows now that isn't a negotiable date. My thing is not that I don't want to be involved because I have these talks with my sister, I just don't want to be scolded by my support team for "not hanging out with her" when I don't want to and shouldn't have to. Everything she has said she would handle I have been left dealing with on my own and that's what makes me angry and hurt.

As for my nephew we've all discussed this for years, and we know what will happen there even if my sister ends up in the street he will definitely be safe and happier. As for my sister, at this point, we're just giving her the resources to get help (free counseling contacts, addiction programs ect), but after that there's nothing more we can do. This has been a decade+ so we're just all at the breaking point. Thankfully, my wife, the rest of my family, and me have very open lines of communication and have talked all this other stuff out, so that's not what is making me upset, it's just the fact I feel she pressured me into a situation I knew wouldn't be good instead of just taking my nephew (she's willing now to give him up) and forcing her to get help, but then basically abandons me when any talk or anything needs to get done. I just feel like she had so much say and now it's all "YOUR sister". I have a therapist and intend to talk to them about this, but I just don't know how to feel, and this has made me lose trust in my wife some.
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 08:38 am
Yeah, she was drinking in the house and leaving her soon up in the living room all day while she would sleep and get drunk. We found the bottles and cans and that's when I told her the deadline.

I know and that's what scares me. It almost seems like my wife has a savior complex at the expense of me, and that's scary.
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Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2016 10:18 am
Ah, that's a lot more information, thank you.

Yeah, whew, I see where this is problematic.

Of course you don't have to enable your sister, and your wife needs to stop doing that. If she won't, perhaps Al-Anon could assist? I think a lot of people feel they can somehow 'fix' alcoholics and addicts but they generally can't. And that fixing impulse tears the family apart.

To help your nephew? Of course. That's a no-brainer. He deserves to grow up in a safe, happy environment. Do what you can for him, of course. That's not a question. If your wife wants to exercise her savior impulses, perhaps she should do so with him.

And you don't need to check up on your sister at work. Can you talk to her supervisor? You don't need to explain the entire situation and you don't have to throw your sister under the bus. Just something like, I dunno, "She has issues and we are trying to help her get back on her feet. We really appreciate you hiring her."

Period. And let the supervisor read between the lines, that maybe the resume was fluffed up a bit by you and your wife but that's the situation. You don't talk about addiction. You just say issues and leave it at that - everybody's got issues so that's not news. It confirms a little of what the supervisor is likely already suspecting, anyway. It also lets you off the hook. E. g. you're trying but your sister is a big girl and you will not be her safety net.

I can see this is hard, and you certainly need a stable partnership and a united front with this. Will your wife go to family therapy or Al-Anon with you, perhaps? Maybe Al-Anon, in a group setting, where it's not all on her. It's worth a shot.

In the meantime, March 1st is, thank God, less than 20 days away.
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Reply Wed 9 Mar, 2016 04:32 pm
Hi, i hope you have worked things out with your wife. If not here some Bible based advice on how to solve problems in a marriage:

Follow this counsel:
“Have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”—1 Peter 4:8

As you and your mate start your life together, various problems will arise. They may result from differences in how each of you thinks, feels, and approaches life. Or problems may come from outside sources and unexpected events.

It can be tempting to avoid reality, but we are advised in the Bible to face our problems. (Matthew 5:23, 24) You will find the best solutions to your problems by applying Bible principles.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: “There is . . . a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7) Make sure that you spend time talking about the problem. Honestly let your mate know how you feel and what you think on the subject. Always “speak truth” with your mate. (Ephesians 4:25) Even when strong emotions are involved, resist the urge to fight. A calm answer can keep what should be a simple discussion from escalating into a battle.—Proverbs 15:4; 26:20.

Even if you disagree, remain gracious, never forgetting to show love and respect to your mate. (Colossians 4:6) Try to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and do not stop communicating.—Ephesians 4:26.

Marriage mates discuss a problem together

Set an appropriate time to discuss the problem
When it is your turn to listen, resist the urge to interrupt. You will get your turn to speak
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: “Have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another, take the lead.” (Romans 12:10) How you listen is very important. Try to understand your mate’s point of view with “fellow feeling . . . and humility.” (1 Peter 3:8; James 1:19) Do not just pretend to listen. When possible, put aside what you are doing and give your mate your full attention, or ask if you can discuss this later. If you think of your marriage mate as your teammate rather than your opponent, you will “not be quick to take offense.”—Ecclesiastes 7:9.


Keep listening with an open mind, even if what you are hearing displeases you
Listen for the message behind the words. Notice your mate’s body language and tone of voice
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS: “There is benefit in every kind of hard work, but mere talk leads to want.” (Proverbs 14:23) Agreeing on a good solution is not enough. You need to follow through on what you both decide. This may involve hard work and much effort, but it will be worth it. (Proverbs 10:4) If you work together as a team, you will “have a good reward” for your hard work.—Ecclesiastes 4:9.


Decide what practical steps you will each take to solve your problem
From time to time, evaluate your progress
By working together, you can ensure that your marriage will be strong and happy rather than weak and miserable. (Proverbs 24:3) Look to the future, and do not bring up past problems. (Proverbs 17:9) When you cooperate with each other and apply Bible principles, you can handle any problem successfully.

What is the most urgent problem that I want to discuss with my mate?
What can I do to understand how my mate really feels about the problem?
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