I used "Lilly's" email because the beautiful attitude of her heart comes through in a few of the sentences. She says that although she would like to avoid her in-laws, she knows that it isn't Christlike behavior. I like "Lilly" so much because she wants to reflect Christ in every aspect of her life - including dealing with in-laws who seem to expect that she and her husband give up 30 weekends a year to attend various family functions. Yesterday, one of my readers here sent me an email saying, "You listed everyone else's opinion about what Lilly should do. What is YOUR opinion, Mrs. Older?"
My opinion is that:
- Lilly and her husband should not be expected to make plans around every birthday party and social event her husband's family schedules. Especially not if they involve 30 weekends a year.
- If his family expects them to NEVER miss ONE event I believe they have unreasonable expectations.
- I don't think they should NEVER go to ANY events, but I don't they they HAVE TO go to EVERY event.
- If they want to keep from offending others...(and they do)... I think that they should give enough advance notice, so that no one will feel it was THEIR birthday/anniversary party they missed. I would have her husband say to his family... something like, "We don't want anyone to feel bad, but in a few months.. say.. after this holiday season, and beginning with the new year, we aren't going to be able to attend every party, and every celebration." Certainly a 16-18 week advance notice should be enough time for people to accept their decision.
- I would tell him to say it kindly, and without apology. Scheduling your OWN life is not a crime.
- If someone asks him why, I would tell him to simply tell the truth: "We would like to have more time to ourselves on the weekends."
- If someone's reaction is to be OFFENDED (really?) I would just wait it out and NOT APOLOGIZE for making a decision on their own.
- SAY IT ONCE. SAY IT KINDLY. SAY IT SLOWLY. BUT SAY IT.
P.S. "Lilly" posted this comment below. So... thank the Lord that His Spirit helps us get answers to questions. Lilly said"
Thank you so much for this wise advice. My husband and I talked about it last night, and we are going to inform his family just like you said. And we are going to try to remember once we let them know where we are coming from, we are not responsible for their response to that. (If they want to be offended, that is their choice - we can't control that) I really appreciate the advice and all the thoughtful comments on the last post.