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Dear gramps,

My question is in regards to my father in law. I have been married to my wife for 3 years. My father in-law just tried telling my wife that he is still to raise her and the she is his responsibility in making sure the gospel is in her life. As well as when we go to the next life we still fall under his stewardship. I feel that this it wrong. Is it not the husbands responsibility to make sure that the needs of his wife are meet both physicality and spiritually? As well as my wife should be the one to keep me in check. I was raised that a parents responsibility is to place the core values of life into their children when they grow up the child will be more accountable of his/her action and eventually they will be fully accountable. Am I wrong to feel that my wife is my charge and to make sure we both receive exaltation? How do I tell him that he just should be proud that we are living our lives to the best we can with the spirit in our home? Thanks.



Kyle, The gospel of Jesus Christ is broad enough to allow for both perspectives. “For this cause (marriage) shall a man leave his father and mother” (Matthew 19:5). But then we have to balance that with the sealing of families. We are consistently taught that families can be sealed for eternity, and while the primary relationship will be that between spouses, they will still have claim on their children (I have never heard it taught that parents only have claim on their sons). Also think of the dire straits Moses would have found himself had he not heeded his father-in-law’s counsel (Exodus 18:13-37).

mormon family boundariesI find that these issues are more cultural than theological. Some families expect children to stay geographically close to parents, coming over weekly for a (now extended) family dinner. Other families expect children to fly from the nest in a spirit of rugged individualism, fully exercising the principles of self-reliance and independence. As a couple, you and your wife need to agree what your boundaries are. Then she can convey them to her parents and you can convey them to yours. If you are the one conveying this to her father, you risk being perceived as an unrighteous priesthood holder stealing his daughter away; whereas if she presents it, it is his daughter telling him what she has decided her standards are now that she is married.


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