Question: My daughter is married to a man who is not a good husband. He drinks too much, and there is significant evidence that he is cheating on her. She refuses to believe anything but the best about him and brags on him constantly. He does have money and does buy nice things for my daughter. He spends little time with their children, but he is good with them when he is with them. And while he has some good traits, in my mind, they don't make up for his lack of integrity. I have tried to make her see the truth, but she refuses to listen. Now, my honesty is causing a rift in our relationship. My daughter is so smart. Why is she so determined to be blind to her husband's bad ways?
Answer: Your daughter is in public denial about her husband. This is a common problem with women or men who desperately need to believe their mates are madly in love with them. Often, these people are insecure and have a deep need to be loved to the point of ignoring all evidence that their mate isn't slavishly devoted to them.
John Conlee sang a song years ago called “Rose Colored Glasses.” That song is a good description of what your daughter is doing. She has put on rose colored glasses that are distorting and discoloring the ugly truth. Therefore, I call what she is doing the Rose Colored Glasses Syndrome. In essence, it is an element of codependency. As long as she is in denial and refusing to face the truth, she is enabling her husband to continue his sins against her. She is using the fact that there are some good elements about him to validate the bad. That is not healthy. Just because there are good things, that does not mean the bad should not be faced and dealt with.
Even though your daughter is in public denial, understand that on some level she knows her husband has issues. That is part of the reason she publicly brags on him. If she brags on him enough, then maybe it really will cover the bad and maybe others will not expect her to take a stand if they are kept from seeing the truth.
While your confronting your daughter with the truth is healthy, it could also cost you the relationship with her and/or your grandchildren if you persist. Since you have already stated your stance and exposed her to truth, I would back off of repeatedly restating it and commit the matter to prayer. Ask God to intervene and present public evidence so strong that your daughter can no longer live in denial. Also pray that once the evidence is presented she will be strong enough to take a stand with her husband. This is crucial because even if she is jolted out of denial, that does not necessarily mean she will take a stand.
And remember, these are life choices your daughter must make. No matter what you see or how you feel, you cannot make them for her and cannot force her into a decision she isn't willing to make. All you can do is pray for her, be there for her, and offer counsel as she is open to it.
The author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit www.debrawhitesmith.com. Got a problem? E-mail Debra at email@example.com