I feel strongly that my husband should decline a family invitation when I am excluded — and that his acceptance of the invitation would break down the integrity of our marriage. I would never, and I do mean never, accept a family invitation sent only to me and not my husband, simply because we are a unit and the strength of our relationship is the foundation of my life; at the end of the day, I come home to my husband, not my extended family.
However, my husband feels differently. He says that he understands why I’m hurt and doesn’t deny that I was purposely excluded, but, at the end of the day, the greater slight would be to his sister if he was not there to “support” her. — Excluded from SIL’s Birthday
I’m with you that it’s incredibly rude that you weren’t included in the invitation to your SIL’s 40th birthday party. But that’s a simplistic reaction to an issue I’m sure is multi-layered. You don’t just make the “do not invite” list for no reason. I’d be curious to hear your SIL’s side — why she’s excluding her brother’s wife to an important event.
Regardless what the reason is and whether it’s justified — and, yes, I do believe there could be justification for excluding a family member’s spouse to your party though it would have to be a really big deal — the bottom line is that your husband has been invited and you haven’t and now you both have some decisions to make. It sounds like your husband has already decided what he’s going to do and that’s to attend his sister’s party. And while I can certainly understand why that decision would hurt and even anger you, the idea that it threatens the “integrity” of your marriage is nuts. How shaky is the foundation of your marriage that its very integrity would be at risk over such a trivial thing as a birthday party?
Methinks there are some other issues at play here and that you should take the energy you’re funneling into being angry about this invitation and focus it onto your marriage and what’s going on in the larger picture to create such cracks over this one detail. Do you feel disrespected by your husband in general? Obviously, there are issues between you and his family, so do you feel as though your husband, historically, hasn’t defended you enough or given you as much support as you’d like? Has he wasted opportunities to smooth the relationship between you and his family because it was easier to remain neutral? If so, you need to have a discussion — or discussions — about that — about the larger picture. For the record, your SIL’s 40th birthday party probably isn’t the best opportunity to smooth relations. But a call afterward would be.
What would be the purpose of your husband skipping his sister’s 40th birthday party? To prove to everyone how committed he is to you? To prove to YOU how committed he is? To illustrate that nothing will come between you? To show that he has a stronger allegiance to you than to his family? If you really need proof of that — if you really need for your husband to alienate himself from his own sister to feel as if the integrity of your marriage is intact, then something is amiss, and I would urge you to figure out what that something is and address it head-on. If you don’t, I can assure you that this won’t be the last time you feel as if the foundation of your marriage is being tested.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].