Post # 1
DH and I are newly married and newly living together. He comes from a very closely knit family, and prior to marriage I raised all and any concerns I had regarding priorities, boundaries and family relationships. DH and I had many good conversations and counseling by our pastor about this and any/every issue we could think of — we put it quite a bit of hard work together! And DH made it clear that he saw me and our marriage as his priority above his family of origin, although the “leaving” and “cleaving” process sometimes felt sensitive to him. I felt satisfied that we were on the same page overall.
We’ve gotten many wedding gifts, and now that we’re married, DH has suggested three times that we give some of our wedding gifts to his mother. Example one: Friend gave us a pedicure/facial spa certificate. I rarely treat myself to such things because of the cost, so I was surprised when DH said, “perhaps we should give this one to my mom.” I was angry and hurt — his mom goes to the salon much more than I do. She also told me she avoids pedicures b/c she’s ashamed of her feet. I told this to DH and he dropped it. The next item was a piece of furniture. DH says his parents (who have a fully furnished home) have been looking for a TV stand for their bedroom and the side table we got would fit the bill. However, we have a completely empty living room at the moment, and I was hoping that we could use that piece of furniture after we get a coffee table, couches and chairs, provided that it matches. DH is holding out on this and we haven’t come to an agreement. Next, after we finally bought some pots/pans for our kitchen, we were given another set by a friend. The set we were given was the set I registered for and wanted, and although there is some overlap in the sizes, I can definitely use both sets and the new one contains sizes I don’t have. I’m cooking a lot these days. DH immidately said we should give the second (new) set to his mom, because he thinks she does not have such nice pots/pans. We still have not reached an agreement about this. MIL has told me that she “hates to cook” and has been married for 30+++ years, so I don’t know why DH thinks she would be so excited about new pots/pans. She spends money on vacations, clothes, salon . .. I know DH says they had it rough in the past, but she is well taken care of and if she wants new pots, she can afford them. DH and I have just started out and have only the bare minimum and are building what we needs slowly. I don’t understand why DH would want to give our wedding gifts to his mother — even if I have an abundance of cooking supplies, should he be happy that the woman who cooks for him has what she needs? Clearly we have some things to work through here, and it’s not easy. I am looking for a good time to speak with DH about this.
In the meantime, I would be grateful for any thoughts, suggestions, or reflection based on similar experiences!
BTW, as usual, this one post cannot fully depict my relationship with DH . . . and he does take good care of me, take me out to dinner, buy me flowers, make efforts at making our relationship better . . . we are able to talk about difficult things — but this (MIL) loyalties topic is one of the more difficult ones that is taking more time to talk out.
Post # 3
Since the gifts were given to both of you, you both have a say in what is done with them. Since you have valid reasons for wanting to keep the gifts (except for the spa thing), you should say to your husband, “Darling, I would really like to keep this set of pots and pans. I love to cook and your mom has told me she does not like it that much. They’ll really come in handy to make delicious meals. Also, our living room is not furnished. Doesn’t it make sense to hang on to this side table until we know what we want in the living room?”
I’d give her the spa thing. Also, what is the reason he wants to give her things? Do his parents not have a lot? Or does he think, “It would be nice if I gave my mom something”? If the latter is the case, are there gifts that you do NOT like that you would like to give away? And…are you bothered that he wants to give things to his mom?
Post # 4
Why would he even think it’s okay to give your all’s wedding gifts to his mother? That makes absolutely no sense. He needs to cut those apron strings immediately.
Post # 5
I dont think he has any right to give gifts given to the two of you away. The only exception being if you planned on giving a Thank you gift to them and want to regift one of yours instead of getting something else. But you have to agree together.
Post # 6
I’d probably just explain to DH that those who gave us the gifts would want them to be enjoyed and loved by US, and not REGIFTED! Furthermore, if I found out a wedding gift I purchased had been regifted to their parents, I’d probably be slightly annoyed, and think they either didn’t like or appreciate the gift. Maybe he wants to thank his parents for their help with the wedding? If so, go out and buy them a NEW gift to show your appreciation… maybe a nice gift certificate to one of their favorite restaurants. You guys get to show your appreciation, and your MIL doesn’t have to cook! WIN WIN! 🙂
Post # 7
Ok…I would find it very odd if my husband suggested we give our wedding gifts to his mother. So I’m with you on this one. I think maybe this needs to be explored a little further. Maybe he has some issues/anxieties around the whole leaving home process?
I would suggest you try to get to the root of the issue (I’m sure you’re already trying), but if it helps in the meantime, maybe tell him that your wedding guests would be extremely offended if it got out that the gifts that they purchased for YOU were re-gifted to his mother…
Maybe he would understand it from an etiquette perspective?
Post # 8
Um, my DH and I give my mom a lot of things, but she is a single woman. Your FMIL has a husband!!! Yours does not need to take care of her! That is really bizarre. If he wants to give her something, he can buy it.
Post # 9
Could he feel guilty for leaving to start his new life with you, so he’s trying to make up for it with random gifts?
I’d just gently remind him that these were gifts people intended for YOU TWO to enjoy, not to regift to someone else. If he wants to give her a gift to thank her for her support or something, suggest you go out together and get something new.
Post # 10
that is very……….odd. If you have any reasons for wanting to keep your gifts, keep them!
@peachacid: why should she give away the spa thing when she said the MIL doesn’t like pedicures and the OP rarely treats herself to a spa day, let alone a free one?
Post # 12
I would be bothered by my new husband trying to give our wedding gifts away, too, especially if they are used to furnish your new home.
You mentioned that he has problem coping with the “leaving” and “cleaving” part of the marriage. He might just need some more time to cope with the fact that he is married and he has “switched” loyalties. He probably feels like he “abandoned” his mother by getting married and it trying to make himself (and subconsciously her) by giving gifts. I think when he becomes more adjusted to married life, these feelings will subside. Well, hopefully.
Post # 13
I would be very upset as a guest at your wedding to find out a gift I gave to you was regifted to your parents. Especially if you registered for it.
Post # 14
I think you should point blank ask him:
“Why do you want to give our wedding gifts to your mom?”
Those gifts were from your family and friends in celebration of your wedding. You don’t ever hear anyone say “Hey, this is a cool christmas gift-lets give it to my mom”. That sounds just as nuts.
If he wants to give his mom something nice- go buy her something that’s just for her. Have him take some cash and buy her her OWN gift, not some regifted wedding present.
Post # 15
@misspeanut: +1 I agree with you 100%
On another note, my ex had the same kind of issues with his mother and the whole boundary thing has to be on both sides (him and his mother) She has to back off and so does he. If nothing is set then it will cause problems in the future. Tell him you are his #1 prority not his mom….I’m sure her husband can take care of her and she can take care of herself.
Post # 16
This is bizarre. I’d say to him outright “These are our wedding gifts – people we love gave them to us. They’d likely be hurt and feel unappreciated if they found out we’d given them away to your mother and besides, they are things that we can (and will) use ourselves.”