Setting Boundaries: Spouses

I just need to vent! I am not going to leave him!

You told me not to marry him! Why are you mad that now I want a divorce?

We have just grown apart. I think we will both be happier away from each other.

If you have ever heard any of these lines you know that there is a line you can never cross with your adult children: berating their spouses.

Will your adult children marry partners that are less than perfect? No doubt about it.

Will your adult kids become angry, frustrated, even down-right-mad at their life partner? Probably.

Will you be tempted to get angry, frustrated, even down-right mad at your adult child’s life partner. Undeniably.

Remember: you are ALWAYS the parent! You are ALWAYS the adult. You ALWAYS live by your VALUES and not your emotions.

Don’t allow the emotion of your adult child to drag you into a conversation you don’t need or want to have. Practice protection against speaking ill of your child’s spouse. Look in the mirror and repeat phrases such as, “Sweetheart, I care about you. I hate that you are hurting. I wish there was something I could do. But this is between the two of you. I will always listen and be here for you. Remember, you are going to forgive her and forget this incident. If I fall into speaking ill of your wife, you will remember my words even when you forgive her. I don’t want that to be part of our relationship. I am going to pray for you guys to work this out quickly.”

What if their relationship continues to spiral downward? What if they end up in separation or divorce. Even then I work hard at not trashing my former son or daughter-in-law. One of my kids has been through some pretty rough times with an ex. He can vent to me but I try to keep all my comments inside my head. He married her once upon a time. He had feelings for her. For me to say horrible comments against her is to degrade his judgement.

As I often told my teenaged daughters: you can never be held accountable for what you never said.

Am I wrong about this? Are there situations where we should speak badly against our kid’s spouse? Please leave me a comment. I am all ears and open to learn.

Author: Dr. Johnnie K. Seago

Johnnie Seago is a national conference speaker who is passionate about building leadership in families. As the mother to eight adult children, she desires families to learn to connect and communicate to build a community of support. She extends her leadership and team building experience to schools, businesses, and civic groups. Johnnie’s messages equip leaders to: Find their strength in the design God used to create them Find their purpose for which God created them Partner with others for support in reaching goals Commit to the dreams God has placed on their heart Become accountable for their success as leaders Johnnie’s ministry to families includes: Helping families transition from childhood to adulthood Teaching parents to communicate with their adult children Working through difficult situations as teens become adults Providing resources and ideas for productive grand-parenting Johnnie and her husband, Ted has been married for 40 years. They live in the suburbs of Houston, Texas on a lake where they enjoy boating and water sports and the occasional day of floating and reading.

One thought on “Setting Boundaries: Spouses”

  1. As a new mom-in-love this is excellent advice. I have already applied it with my adult child. I so appreciate those farther down the road sending wisdom.back to those starting our journey. So helpful.


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