I have 2 months before my marriage blows up. Looking for advice to fix this
*Note: I just re-read this post, and it's way longer than I intended.
So I apologize for the length, but also thank anyone willing to read & possibly post any helpful thoughts or advice.
Feel free to be as critical of me as you like.
I just want to find a way to fix this* I'm at a loss to come up with solution to a marital problem that I feel is a ticking time bomb that is set to go off by December 24th, with the fallout being the possible end to my marriage.
In the end, this may be something requiring marriage counseling, but just looking for advice for the best way to handle this complicated issue.
My wife is giving me an ultimatum to choose between her (and my kids) or my family & (selfish me) would like to find a way to keep both in my life.
I know I probably worded that last sentence to sound like my wife is in the wrong, but the reality is we both still love eachother and get along great.
We've both admitted as much.
And to a certain extent, I understand her frustration with my family, but that hasn't kept us from fighting about it, to the extent we've both had doubts about our relationship should this family matter not be fixed.
And the funny thing is the story behind this sounds SO stupidly simple & pointless, but it's unfortunately led to situation where there's anger on both sides (between my wife & my family), that I just don't know how to fix it.
Again, sorry for the long background story I'm about to give, but I wanted to give some rationale into what led to the situation we're in.
My wife & I have 2 kids: a 2 year old & 4 month old.
Now, one of my sisters is someone who tends to not show up for family occassions that she probably should show up for.
She's a great & loving person.
She brings presents for our kids anytime she sees them but it's tough to count on her to show up for things on any given occassion.
Personally, it doesn't bother me too much.
She should show up for some of these things, but it's not something that I get affected over.
Maybe I'm just used to her behavior, I don't know, but my wife hates that she does this.
A few years ago, my sister missed our daughters Christening.
She said she was sick but my wife didn't buy it & she was pretty mad, but didn't bring it up to my sister, to keep the peace.
About a month ago however, she also missed our son's Christening.
She said she was running late, so she would just show up for the afterparty.
On the car ride back from the Christening to our house, my wife was livid & demanded I chew her out.
If I didn't, she would.
I didn't want to create some blow up in the middle of our son's big day though, so I told my wife I'd talk to her and to just let me deal with it, to which she grudgingly said fine.
When we pulled up to our house, my sister & her boyfriend were already there waiting.
We walked up & I asked my sister what happened? She responded by pointing to her boyfriend.
I had planned on talking to her about it more, however my wife jumped in and yelled to my sister "that's two (christenings) you've missed now".
My sister again, just kind of smiled, shook her head & pointed to her boyfriend and said he was dragging his feet, so my wife blurted out "Then you should've left him the f*** at home!!", and she stormed into the house.
That quick comment has now led to all of our problems.
My sister's boyfriend felt insulted and once she was inside, started cursing her out.
Of course my wife's other family members were walking in at the time, overheard him, & reported back to my wife.
When I came out to talk to him to settle him down, he told me he was sorry but she insulted him & that he & my sister were leaving.
My wife, watching from inside was getting even madder now however, because I was outside trying to fix the situation rather than having her back & ripping into him.
To her, it seemed like I didn't have her back & I was taking their side.
She was also furious that my parents were outside doing the same, rather than trying to get her side of the story.
At this point, my sister's crying & upset that she's stuck in the middle of it, but she left with him.
So that was it.
That's what led to our arguments.
By me going out to talk to her boyfriend to settle things down rather than yell at him, she's upset with me that I didn't have her back.
She feels like she can never again count on me, trust me, etc to ever defend her.
Nor does she feel she can ever be around my sister ever again.
She's banned my sister from ever stepping foot in our house ever again.
On my end, I'm furious with her because she didn't let me talk to my sister & deal with it in my way.
She felt the need to jump in, because I didn't run in there and tear into my sister the way she wanted me to.
To make matters worse, I later spoke to my parents and they asked me what my wife's going to do to fix this situation.
As in, when is my wife going to come apologize to my sister? As my mother put it, "that may be her family's way, but it's not our way" (as in starting a fight during a get together).
My wife has already said, she won't be going to our usual Christmas Eve at my parents, nor will she allow our kids there (not that she's preventing them from going, but she just doesn't want to be away from them for Christmas Eve), & I'll need to "choose" between being with my wife & kids or my family for Christmas Eve.
In other words, if I go see my family, don't bother coming back home.
My wife has already said, she loves me & loves being with me, but if I can't have her back on this if I take my family's side over hers she can't see us staying together.
And to add fuel to the fire (and here's the big one I'm dreading), our daughter's birthday is a few weeks after Christmas.
My parent's don't yet know my sister is permanently banned from our house.
Once they realize she's not invited, there's no way any of my family will attend.
My wife's going to see this as a huge insult & will then ban my entire family (not over reacting here.
Trust me, my wife's family has turned banning family members into an art form).
So, again this may be something I need to seek couples therapy on.
I know I have issues with trying to avoid confrontations and can be too easy going at times, so I'm sure there's things I can work on with a therapist to improve our relationship from my end.
I've brought this up to my wife but as of now, she claims she's entirely in the right & doesn't need it.
Just looking for some thoughts or advice.
Maybe there's an angle I'm not seeing.
Just trying to fix this before it most likely permanently blows up in a few months, leading to either me having to give up my family, or defend them (which will lead to my wife & I separating).
As you pointed out, I think these problems have come up because you avoid confrontations. The thing is, probably your sister wasn't aware that her absence or her behaviour was something that was bothering your wife so much. And that is why she missed both your children's christenings. You should have let her know atleast. And your wife expecting your sister at these family events is justified and sweet (who bothers about in-laws these days!). The excuse your sister gave for not attending the event was also very unreasonable and probably that caused your wife's emotional outburst. Well, for now, I think you should go back to your wife and tell her that she doesn't have to do anything with your sister anymore and that you will be by her side. And I think your parents are not the people she is mad at majorly. However mending the relationship between your sister and your wife will not be easy and it will take quite some time.