Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I know this may sound of little importance and possibly a waste of time because I might be over-reacting to something that is pure speculation at this point, however, it has gone on for quite a while and I am deeply concerned. Rather than make a mistake or read something austere into something that is normal and will pass, I turn to you before I make a mess of things.


We have one daughter who is married for twenty years to a wonderful man whom we consider the son we never had. We live close to each other and eat with them most Shabbosim and chagim and immensely enjoy our four beautiful and almost fully grown grandchildren. It is always a pleasure we look forward to, my husband and I, and continues to be so for the most part, however, of late, I have noticed practically no verbal or physical interaction between my daughter and son-in-law. I don’t know how long this has been going on as, between the chatter and laughter of the grandchildren, I didn’t notice it until recently. There seems to be a chill between them that I’m greatly concerned about.

I asked my husband if he noticed anything out of place between the adults and he said he didn’t and that I shouldn’t meddle in their business or we won’t be welcome there anymore. That is something I could never live past as they are my life and the air I breath and my life would be over if that, chalila v’chas, ever changed. But my gut tells me something is wrong between my daughter and son-in-law and the longer it goes unattended the farther apart they will grow. Please help me understand what the right course of action is at this point and, would I really be making matters worse if I tried to intervene and make peace.

Thanking you in advance,
A Distraught Mother


Dear Friend,

Reading your letter I truly understand your heart, as will every other mother who reads this column. We bring children into this world, watch over them, protect them, help them grow straight and tall until that magical moment when they suddenly morph into adults as the clock strikes 21, marry and start families of their own. But what happens to us? What did we morph into? If we were lucky, we become welcomed guests for Shabbosim and chagim, we become grandparents to wonderful, delicious grandchildren we have access to as frequently as life allows, but our input and decision-making into those live become limited and welcome only when our opinions are asked for. Wise parents will know when their opinions are welcome. If not, keep a safe distance out of the personal affairs of their adult children, otherwise they will be inviting heartache and trouble.

It is obvious that you love your daughter, especially since she is your only child, and that you adore your son-in-law only makes your blessing greater. Being a mother, and since mothers never retire from that position, you have a greater sense of what is going on with your children and grandchildren and it is hard not to stand up to the task of guiding and offering helpful advice. But this is where you can go terribly wrong! Married couples go through different fazes and stresses and react differently, so it’s hard to grasp what the issues are in your daughter’s situation that have you worried. Maybe it is work or financial stress related, it may be just a spat that they will work out, left to their own devices or it may be simply that they are seeing time move on and noting that their own children are soon to be adults that’s putting added stresses on their relationship.

I agree with your husband here. Until you know more to validate your concerns, butt out or you will buy yourself more grief than favor. Let the adults work it out in their own way and when they are ready to do so. If, in the event an opportunity presents itself where your daughter confides in you that there is a real problem in her marriage and she is at a loss for what to do, then and only then should you offer your services and advice. Not knowing more than what you’ve conveyed to me as only a gut feeling, my feeling is that it will resolve itself in time and of its own accord.


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