Re: Wife that can't stand to live with my sick mom
Hi, this is my first post but I wanted to say that I've been in a similar position and I am the wife.
In short, my husband was and still is 100% devoted to his mother's care. He is the eldest son in an Asian family (filial piety is very serious). Being a loving, grateful and devoted son isn't just his duty, it's been ingrained in him since birth. It is part of his very identity. His mother suffered to raise him well, and he loves her very deeply for that. He has one sister who left the country two decades ago, so he's really the only one to take care of his parents.
Shortly after we married, my husband's father died. He passed away suddenly while we were on our honeymoon, and wanting to support my husband as best I could, I got us on the next flight back. I told him whatever help he needed to take care of his mother - she is severely mentally ill and heavily medicated - i will stand by him.
Back home and after the funeral, we gave up our happy little newlywed home to move into his mother's place, and my whole life was turned upside down. In that home I lived by one rule, "Don't upset Mummy."
I wish I could say I was Mary Poppins with a spoon full of sugar, but honestly the whole living situation was a nightmare for oh so many reasons. It was hard for my husband, too. He felt pulled between the two most important women in his life.
We eventually went to a counselor and we wisely chose an Asian man who was older, like a father figure, and who was able to help my husband cope. Here's basically what he said:
It's wonderful that you love your mother and absolutely the right thing to take care of her. However, you also love your wife and have chosen to make a commitment to her. So how do you honor both your mother and your wife? Your mother raised you, but you are no longer a boy. You have chosen to marry, so you must be a husband first. Take care of your wife's needs first, and then the two of you, together, can take care of your mother. If your wife is certain without a doubt that you are devoted to her, then she will not feel threatened by your feelings for your mother and will be happy and proud to stand by your side in her loving care.
And that's basically how it's done. Loving your wife does not take away love from your mother. It doubles the love you have to give to her. And wouldn't your mother feel peace to know that you will be happy and taken care of after she is gone?
I am sorry for all you have to go through, for your mother's illness and for your wife's struggles.