Shabbat of Sanctity Dirshu’s 20th Anniversary International Convention
My wealthy in-laws have once again offered us money to finish another part of our unfinished house. I appreciate their offer, but feel that as an adult, my wife and I should be able to financially support ourselves and our two children without their help. I would rather not accept their money (while still knowing that if we truly had a crisis, they could be a possible resource). My wife, on the other hand, expects them to pay for a variety of luxuries and depends on them to bail us out of financial situations.
This is an area where my wife and I strongly disagree. In fact, we usually have very heated arguments over the matter. Am I just being stubborn? Should I graciously accept their offer and let it go? Or should I stick to my guns and encourage my wife to be a responsible, independent adult?
Independent and Not Wealthy
Dear (Not) Wealthy,
Let’s try to understand where your in-laws are coming from.
Imagine it’s your best friend’s birthday and you want to give him a special gift. You love tennis, soyou get him a genuine Roger Federer autographed tennis racket. He doesn’t play tennis, though. So, what does your best friend do with it? Says thank you and puts it on a shelf.
Or let’s say you starred in every Syrian community play since CCY (that’s about how far back I go). You love the theater so you get your friend front row tickets to Fiddler on the Roof. He hates theater, though. So what does he do with them? Says thank you and sells them on eBay.
People give those closest to them things that they themselves value. Obviously, you and your wife are very dear to your in-laws. The clearest way for them to show you their love is by giving you what makes themhappy and what they feel would only naturally make you happy. It’s simply their inclination to make sure that you and your wife never have to worry about money. Their way of showing love is by making make sure that, in theirmind, the two of you are well taken care of.
I recommend that you do not take their offer as a personal affront or as a commentary on your ability to support your family. Accept it, say thank you and, if you decide not to use it, put it on a shelf.