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Jacklynn Donaldson wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it against the laws of the Church for a spouse to put a parent before the other spouse?
  • For example, is it against Church law for a husband to put his mother before his wife?

The mother is elderly, approximately 87, and has health problems. Both the mother and the wife have doctor's appointments on the same day.

  • Which person should the husband give his attention to?


  { Is it against the laws of the Church for a spouse to put a parent before the other spouse? }

Bob replied:


While marriage is a sacred union that gives priority of place in principle or concept, it does not translate into a law with regard to these kinds of circumstances. I suspect that there is more to this issue than the matter at hand.

If you are feeling that your husband is neglecting you for the sake of his elderly mother, you may need to have a heart to heart with your husband about how your feel, without asking him to abandon his mother either. There should be no competition but only loving consideration for all. I'm sure he is concerned for her because of her elderly state, but likewise, he has a responsibility to you to make you feel cared for.

He may feel stressed about his mother and her mortality and therefore doesn't tune into your needs readily. Even if you are concerned for your own well-being, he may be tuned out because he could be on overload.

Men aren't good at multi-tasking. You may need to express your feelings openly to him if you have worries so that he can understand where you are coming from. Men aren't good at mind reading, emotion reading, or getting it when the women in our lives need something. We can be ignorant that way. But be assured, his care for his mother demonstrates his ability to be caretaker when needed.

In short,

Reinforce his strengths with positive encouragement, express your needs, and be loving to one another. It will work out.

God bless,

Bob Kirby

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