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Wife prioritizes her siblings over me

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I got married in 2013. My wife has two sisters who don't live in the country. One lives in Canada and the other in Scotland. We reside in India. We share a good bond and I enjoy the camaraderie. But there is always one point of contention. I am someone who believes that couples should spend quality time together apart from the mundane daily routine. But my spouse always prioritizes her sisters over me.


The day after I married her I went on a short trip with her sisters. I have also spent every birthday and new year with her parents and sisters. This summer she cleared the bank account and spent time with her sisters half way across the world. I couldn't go because my finances didn't permit. But it was an easy choice for her to desert me. Last year when I was traveling for work, I couldn't stand the thought of her being left alone so I took her along.


Prior to that we had traveled within the country and I have always made an effort to get to know her friends but she has a habit of belittling my choice of friendship and undermining my friends. I was disheartened and dismayed. I spend a lot of time, energy and money to get to know her friends but she doesn't care.


This December its a similar story again. She wants to spend my birthday and new years with her sisters and me, but it appears to me that she has not once or will accede to my wish of being alone with her on my birthday or new years. There will always be a third or fourth wheel. I'm frustrated with this situation. It was my 30th birthday last year and I wanted to do something epic; like a road trip or a trek. But she didn't agree. We spent it with her sisters. How do I get my wife to interact more with my friends or heed to my wish at times. I put an end to the debate by booking myself on a trip in December without her. Am I overreacting? I understand she doesn't get to see her sisters often but this year she has spent a lot of time with them already.

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You just need to communicate with her how you feel and try to negotiate a schedule that is more equitable. Talk to her about her emotional needs. She may feel very lonely and isolated in your relationship. She also may be needing some space away from you. I don't know. There is an opportunity to learn from each other here.

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It does sound like their family is overly clannish and that is a frequent point of contention for couples. Try to discuss with her diplomatically that on certain occasions you would like it to be 'couple time' and alternate with her family vs your family etc.


I would also suggest couples counselling because most counselors will agree that individual vs couple vs family/friends time needs to be balanced. Too much of the in-laws hanging around can create resentment.

She wants to spend my birthday and new years with her sisters and me, but it appears to me that she has not once or will accede to my wish of being alone with her on my birthday or new years.
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How often does she get the chance to see her sisters? If mine lived out of country, there would be nothing that could stop me from seeing them if they came into town.


If wife's family is in town for holidays during your bday, I'd celebrate once with them, and then I'd claim a day after they leave to celebrate again.


Two celebrations beats one, and I'd avoid the resentment of asking a spouse to curb one of the few visits he gets with family during a year. That makes no sense--you have wife to yourself through the rest of the year.

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I have to ask is this a cross cultural marriage? I'm just wondering if culture is a factor in any of this? Do you feel you have a good/happy relationship in general? Have you told her directly you need time alone with her? If not I think communication is the key. You need to tell her that even if you spend holidays or birthdays etc with her family you need time alone with her on some celebrations. If her family is split over several countries you have to at least try to understand how she misses them. My husband is Indian and his parents are in India and his siblings in the UK I completely understand his need to spend time with them. I was sad that we weren't together for Valentine's Day and other holidays but I have him to myself for 10-11 months of the year so when he visits or they visit here I understand my needs are not as great as his need to be with his family. Try planning a trip to another county or some place at a time that is mutually acceptable perhaps this might not be for a birthday... How about your anniversary or some sentimental date. Is she the kind of girl who would enjoy an epic road trip?? Make sure both of your ideas of fun match up.

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Easy fix, "hey, your sisters are hot. Can't wait to see them next."


Sorry, trying to lighten the mood.


She sounds starved for family. I know you two are family, but she may just be lonely, and feel misunderstood. I don't have a sister, but many friends I've met with sisters feel a deep connection (other than having shared the same womb at one point). I think you should share with her that you want time with her. And if she wants to see her sisters, that's fine, but to limit to twice a year, and the rest of the time, Skype. And if you two do not have enough money, she will need to earn travel money on her own since it's not a joint need.

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