Man calls wife's parents whenever she won’t do what he wants her to do to tattle on her

Lefty Graves
BiblePhoto byAaron BurdenonUnsplash

** This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as shared with me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

My friend Mary was raised in a very religious family. She went from being a daughter and a sister directly to being a wife to her husband. She was never allowed to live on her own before she married, and she was expected to obey her husband just as she had obeyed her father. To say she was oppressed might be an accurate statement, although I don’t believe she nor her family would agree with me.

One afternoon, as Mary and I were visiting, she shared with me that her husband was upset with her because she refused to do something, so he called her father to complain that she wasn’t obeying him. As a result, her father paid her a visit and gave her a stern talking to. I was shocked that a grown man would call his wife’s father because she refused to do something.

As I listened to Mary, I learned that she had to obey her husband’s every directive. She had to get up when he got up, which was 5:00 am on workdays and 5:30 to 6:00 am on his days off. She was expected to prepare his breakfast while he showered and dressed. If he told her he would be home for lunch, lunch had to be on the table right when he walked in the door.

Before she could leave the house, she had to ask permission and tell him her agenda; for example, if she wanted to go to the grocery store and the post office, she had to tell him where she was going and at precisely what time she would be there.

She could only spend cash that he gave her, and she wasn’t allowed to work outside of the home without her husband's permission. She also couldn’t have anyone over without his approval, so we usually wound up talking outside by the fence while she was hanging the laundry out to dry.

Finally, one afternoon as she and I were talking, I asked her why she allowed her husband to treat her like this. She told me that this was how she had been raised. Her father treated her mother like this, and because she wanted to go to heaven when she passed on, she must obey her culture and religion and agree to this.

I shared with her that this wasn’t right and that she did have rights and could step away if she wanted to. I told her if she ever changed her mind to let me know, and I’d help her. Sadly, they moved away before I was ever able to help her. What do you think? Should she have put up with her husband calling her father if she disobeyed him?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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