Mother-in-Law: My Son's Too Good for Her

Ask Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son has always been the type who would pick up a stray dog off the streets and give it a home. I guess this quality has followed him into his relationships too. Ms. Vicki, this girl is from the other side of the tracks. Her family is awful and she is too. She has done a lot of horrible things in her young life. She and her family plotted to get my son to marry her by saying she was pregnant. He succumbed to the pressure.

Now they have been married for over two years and there has been no baby yet. My son was deployed to Iraq. I was told that her mother was telling people, “My daughter is going to be rich if something happens to (fill in the blank)”.

Ms. Vicki, this has torn our family apart. My husband and I have done a wonderful job raising our children. All of my children have college degrees and have worked hard to earn good incomes. My son is an officer in the Army, and I know that this woman is going to cause a lot of problems for him in his career.

We are all afraid that he will be judged harshly because of her and could lose his career. My husband was a career officer too. I know how people look at officers' wives. We have to have it together at all costs. She just won’t fit in. Ms. Vicki, I can’t seem to get over this, do you think I need professional help? I just don’t want to lose my son.

M y Son Is Just Too Good For Her

Dear Too Good for Her,

You really seem to have your nose in the air in a very haughty and arrogant way. I’m not sure what makes you better. Is it the fact that your husband was an officer? That all of your children have college degrees? That your son is now an officer? What gives you the right to be so critical and condescending?

OK, you did a great job raising your children. Good for you. Many people are doing exactly what you’ve done. Listen, Good: Don’t be too good for your own good. It sounds like your son chose a young woman with a sordid past, and a family with issues. Here’s the deal: it’s his choice, not yours and not mine.

If you continue with your actions, you are going to alienate your son from you and his family. This would be devastating to you and everyone. I suggest you start letting your precious guards down, and start being nice to your daughter-in-law.

One day your son may think, “Wow, I really made a mistake." On the other hand, your daughter-in-law could very well turn out to be a godsend. I once knew an older woman who was very mean and spiteful to a daughter-in-law she just could not accept. This daughter-in-law became the one who took care of her on her deathbed as she had terminal cancer. She had to apologize to her in the end. Don’t let this be you. If you need counseling, I will send you some resources to find one. Bottom line, in my opinion you have got to move on. And you should be happy she wasn’t really pregnant.

Ms. Vicki

Dear Mrs. Vicki,

I love your column. I read it every week and I thank God for the work you do. I am writing to ask for your advice on how to cope with deployments. My fiancé and I have known each other for almost six years now, but we have been a couple for eight months.

Most of that time, he has been away, so we have spent only a little over a month in each other’s company since we started courting last October. Last time he was home, he asked me to marry him before he left for Afghanistan. Of course, I said yes.

I'm thrilled! But I know for at least the next nine months I won't see him. While I'm sort of used to it, it’s still hard. This will be part of my life and I want to learn to handle it right. I'm very new to military life, so I don't know a lot about it. I want to be a good wife and support. Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

Future Military Wife

Dear Future Military Wife,

Thank you for writing me and for sharing your story. I truly hope things work out for you and your fiancé. It sounds like he has picked a winner! There is much to learn regarding military culture. However, I think you will make a great adjustment.

Always remember to be yourself, the rest will happen naturally. I don't want you to feel that you have some big test to pass or that someone is looking over your shoulder watching to see if you will be a good military wife or not, right?

Continue to pursue your own goals and dreams. When you are married, you and your husband will join your goals together so you can grow as a couple and as individuals. Respect and consideration for each other will be paramount.

In the meantime, write to him often, expressing your needs and desires to him, send care packages to him as often as you can, and stay active and busy. Get plenty of rest, eat right, and try to get some exercise. It will help with the stress of deployment. Depend on your family and friends to get you through this tough time.

Ms. Vicki

Related Topics

Family and Spouse



Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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