My sister was recently widowed at the age of 40. Her husband died in a road accident and now the insurance company is refusing to pay her the insurance money she is entitled to, on the grounds that the accident that killed my brother-in-law was caused by his own carelessness.
This refusal by the insurance company has come as a shock to the whole family. My sister will certainly fight the insurance company’s decision in court, but the immediate problem is how she will support herself till she wins the case and the court orders the company to pay her.
It then occurred to my sister that she could complete a course that she had given up half-way when her marriage had been settled by our parents. She had topped the first year exams in the course. So now, she decided to go to the institute where she had been doing the course and ask if she could complete it.
My whole family felt that this was a good idea and I went with her to the institute. To our surprise, the people at the institute remembered her as one of their topper students and at once agreed to take her back to complete the second half of the course.
But my sister told me that she did not feel confident that she could complete the course in one year. After all, she said, she had been out of touch with studies for more than 12 years and she also had two children to take care of. I immediately told her that our whole family would help her and that I would look after her children for the year that she would be studying. They would stay with me and go only on Sundays to see her.
My sister was touched when I told her this and when we went home and discussed the matter with the rest of my family they all agreed that this was a good way of dealing with this sad situation. My niece and nephew were also okay with staying with me. Their school too was not too far from my home.
I went home feeling very happy that I would be able to help my sister. My husband had come home from work and I told him what had been decided. But I got the shock of my life when he said that he would not agree to our looking after my niece and nephew for a year.
He reminded me that we did not have any children and so would not know how to look after the two children. He added that our routines would be upset and that it would also cost us a lot. His last point was that as he did not have any siblings of his own, he was not comfortable in my sister’s company and if the children stayed with us, he would be forced to see a lot of her.
I was speechless and stunned when I heard this and these feelings were followed by intense anger. I did not say anything and just walked away from there. A day has passed and my husband, believing that he has won the battle, is pretending that all is normal between us.
But he hasn’t won and my silence is just because I do not know what to say to him or how to convince him that he is so completely wrong in his thinking. There is also no way I’ll let my family feel that my husband is narrow- minded and selfish. What do you suggest? Your husband’s obnoxious behaviour is because he has no siblings and so does not know what it feels like when a sibling is in pain and one is ready to do anything one can to help him or her. He doesn’t know what it feels like to share your childhood and all you have with a sibling and to feel that there is someone who will always be there for you.
But you should not give in to his selfish behaviour. So, break your silence and talk to him. Explain how you feel and how it is your duty to help your sister. Tell him that you will always feel a great sense of guilt if you do not help her in her hour of need.
My husband and I have two sons aged 35 and 38. We have always been a very close family and from the time they were young, the two boys have never quarrelled, have shared things and have enjoyed each other’s company. So, when they were in their late twenties and they decided to go into business together, we were happy.
My sons decided on the business they would enter, drew up a plan on how they would divide responsibilities, raised money and got to work. Things went well for the first eight years and all of us were happy. During this time, they both decided to get married to wonderful women and we became even closer as a family. But after this, problems arose in the business and the two brothers differed on how to tackle these. These differences affected their relationship and as each wife supported her husband, the sisters-in-law fell out.
Now both brothers are barely talking to each other. They differ on how to tackle the problems they are facing and both my husband and I are very unhappy. Each son expects us to support him and so do our two daughters-in-law.
My husband feels that we should support our elder son as the younger boy should respect and obey his elder brother, but I feel that we should support the younger one as he needs us more as he is younger. Whom should we support? Each of your daughters- in- law will naturally choose to support her husband. But for both you, your sons are equally precious and it is absurd of you to choose whom to support on the basis of age. Actually you should decide on whom to support on the basis of who you think is right. But that would be difficult unless you are knowledgeable about their business and are in business yourself.