I have been married for three years. My wife already had a daughter from a past relationship. I don’t have any children. Before my mother met my wife, she made a comment saying that a woman with a child from another man is not acceptable. I told my wife, and now, three years later, she keeps bringing it up and hates my mother passionately. She frequently says terrible things about my mother. What can I do?

Dear Friend,

You have learned a difficult lesson from this situation that has no easy answers. We can’t imagine why you thought it was right to tell your wife what your mother had said, but you are now living the consequences of what you did.

Do not confuse telling the truth with gossip. When you told your wife what your mother had said, it was nothing more than gossip. You heard a negative comment and, instead of keeping it to yourself, you decided to share it with the very person that it would hurt the most.

Gossip almost always causes trouble. The Apostle Paul taught, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”(1) Did your mother’s comment “build up” your wife or benefit her in any way? We don’t think so.

You tell your story as if the problem were between your wife and your mother, but the real problems are the choices that you made. You chose to marry someone without your mother’s approval. Since you are an adult, it was rightfully your decision. But you obviously didn’t consider the consequences that your decision would bring. You chose to set up a relationship of animosity between your wife and your mother, and now you are complaining about it.

You do not reveal how your mother treats your wife nor how you or your mother treat your wife’s daughter. It is likely that your mother doesn’t accept the child as her grandchild, and that she doesn’t love the girl or treat her well. If this is true, then your wife is reacting as she does to protect her own child. Your wife protects her child just as your mother mistakenly thinks that she is protecting you.

Any man who chooses to marry a woman with a child is thereby choosing to become a loving father to that child. We sincerely hope that you have done that.

When you say, “I have no children,” you are mistaken. The correct thing to say is, “I have no other children.” The girl that you don’t acknowledge as your child still has you as the father in her home. She needs you to love her unconditionally and protect her against all danger, including the danger of your mother’s cruel words. And she needs you to protect her mother, your wife, from all negative influences.

We wish you the best,

1 Eph 4:29