Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dr. Yael,

I am happily married with a wonderful young family. Baruch Hashem it appears that I have everything going for me. I almost feel guilty writing this letter as I know that people write to you with much more challenging situations. I have an amazing career, do very well financially, and my husband is extremely supportive.


So, what’s my issue?

My mother-in-law.

No matter what I do, I can’t please her. I make her favorite foods when she comes to us for Shabbos. I buy her gifts, which she generally returns, so now I buy her gift certificates. If my house is clean, it is too clean; if my food is delicious, I cook too much. If my children have amazing middos and are great students with derech eretz, I put too much pressure on them. My father-in-law, by the way, is thrilled with our family and says we give him lots of nachas. So why does she find fault in the most ridiculous things.

One Shabbos, she spent every meal talking about a doorstop that was missing behind one door and how we will eventually have a hole there. We had just finished repainting that room and forgot to put something to stop the door from hitting the wall. Trust me, Dr. Respler, right after Shabbos I bought something to put there. Either way, the whole Shabbos was spent criticizing something unimportant while it could’ve been a positive and happy Shabbos.

My mother-in-law is a loving grandmother and wonderful to my husband – it is only me that she cannot stand. They are not poor people, but believe that once children are married, they are on their own. So I, who comes from a poor family, gets more financial and emotional support from my family than from my husband’s.

My mother-in-law loves to shop and knows exactly what to get for my husband an each of our kids, however, when it comes to me, she says, “I never know what to buy you, you seem to have everything.”

This can be so painful especially when they go on a trip and buy cologne for my husband, beautiful real jewelry for our daughters, and special gifts for our sons, but then gets nothing for me.

I am considered beautiful, have a great career, have many guests, lots of friends, and we are a very beloved and important couple in our community. Why can’t my mother-in-law see any good in me when we give her the most nachas from all of her children?

Please give me some chizuk. I really want her to love me and I try so hard all the time to be loving and thoughtful.

A Fan


Dear Fan,

There is so much to say about this issue and in next week’s column we hope to share some insights. This week, however, I would like to give you a bracha that Hashem give you the siyatta d’Shmaya and strength to overcome this challenge. Hatzlocha.


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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at