My sister-in-law hates me, and she’s ruining my marriage. My husband and I have been married for just more than a year. He works for his sister, and she trashes me every chance she gets. She also keeps him busy beyond the workday by asking him to come over and help her with household chores (he is told not to bring me) or by having “staff only” dinner meetings that are mandatory for him to attend. At first he didn’t see a problem, but I have been insistent—now he is starting to see that she is trying to prevent us from being together. What should I do?Co-opt his evenings away from his sister and work with him on his résumé. Your husband needs to find another job so he can snip the strings that allow his sister to manipulate him. It’s fine for him to give her a hand with household chores, but not if it’s just an excuse to talk smack about you. Your man needs the backbone to request that his sis abstain from the complaint fest. But as long as she signs his paycheck, he’ll be silent. So scan newspaper want ads or research local companies that are a good match for your man’s skill set.
While you’re waiting for your husband to give notice, investigate your thoughts about your sister-in-law. The ideal resolution here is for your husband to find a new job and for you and his sister to locate some affection for one another. So stop your complaint fest about her. Concentrate on her positive qualities. When your mind gravitates toward putting her down or imagining how she disses you, return serenity and balance to the moment by focusing on her goodness. Even if she never appreciates you, you will be able to trust that you have been a person of integrity and a loving partner to your husband.
I am trying to lose weight, and one of the things I’m cutting out is alcohol. My husband keeps harassing me about this and saying that I’m “not fun anymore” or that I’ve become “boring.” We used to enjoy a cocktail together every night before dinner and quite a few on the weekends. I never felt like a drunk or that I had a problem, but his attitude is pissing me off. Can you help?Your husband has lost his drinking buddy and is lashing out. It’s just a little sliver of immaturity that reveals his selfishness and insecurities. He can’t celebrate your choice to get healthier—all he can do is fear that he is “boring” or “no fun” unless he’s got a buzz. You may not think you have a drinking problem, but your husband does: his own, and his discomfort with your choice to quit. I think he’s afraid to discover who he is without alcohol. Marriage counseling is in order. If he refuses, go away. You will need it to learn how to take care of yourself in the face of opposition.
My mother has always been high-maintenance. We had a falling out after Christmas, and I haven’t heard from her since. But recently, I learned from a relative that my father had open-heart surgery. My mother never let me know. What should I say to her?Say that you really would have liked to know, and now that you do, you’d like to see your father and help both of them in any way you can. Reprimanding her is not an option, so don’t try to be right or to teach her anything. Be loving, instead, and deal with what is, not what has been.