Accepting a Generous Gift From In-Laws

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
I am very torn about a particular issue I am facing right now. My husband's parents are very generous and enjoy giving him extreme gifts. They know he has been wanting a top-notch computer, and they have just offered to purchase half for his birthday, and let us pay back the other half over a year. I have a problem with them doing this. I feel like my husband and I should make the decision of when the right time is to buy a computer, and I feel like we should face the challenge ourselves of being responsible with money and earning it on our own. I don't know if I should go against what I feel and just say "yes" since I know they are just trying to bless him. Also, before this situation occurred, I was reading a book that advised couples not to take loans from in-laws, and to be careful of how much influence parents can have on your marriage. Please help.

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note about your in-laws and their proposed gift to your husband. You have to take into consideration that I will be answering as an in-law and a father and a grandfather (which makes things even worse in the giving department). I don't see this gift or any gift they offer as an intrusion into your marriage or family sovereignty. I look at this as an expression of love for their son. They probably wanted to pay for the whole thing, but showed restraint by doing the "pay back" thing. You would be offending them unnecessarily by refusing this gift of love. I would accept it with extreme gratitude. I see no downside in the least. These are my thoughts. Be sure to let me know if you want to talk further.

Chuck Snyder



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Updated 05/24/2005