China Elevator Stories

After The Family Dinner

My husband comforts me after a family dinner at a restaurant in Siping, where his uncle humiliated me in front of his relatives.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


After my husband has paid for the dinner, his mother, who sees that I’m still fighting with tears, tells my husband that we should leave first. They will stay a little longer with the other relatives. Once my husband and I am downstairs, I can’t hold back my tears anymore.

My husband asks: “What’s wrong? You’re not crying because of my uncle, are you?”
I say to him: “How can you treat someone like that? If you want people to respect you, you should respect them too. You know, I had a stomach ache and back pain and still went to the family dinner. When your uncle started asking me questions, I even tried to smile. Is this how you treat family?”
My husband hugs me and tells me: “You know, when I was a kid, my uncle would always want me to kowtow to him – kneel down in front of him at Chinese New Year. This is a Chinese tradition, the kids kowtow and will then get a hongbao (a red envelope with money). I never liked the way he ordered me to do this and I never knelt down for anyone in my life, just once when my parents were fighting and every time I visit my grandfather’s grave, but that’s different. I always clash with my uncle when we see each other, I usually avoid seeing him.”

I feel a lot better already.

I tell him: “If this is how he treats family, I really don’t want to know how he treats people who aren’t family.”
He says: “Oh, this is still harmless. He always tells his married son to find another woman who should give birth to his grandson.”
“Because he only has a granddaughter, not a grandson?”
“No. Because he hates the grandson he already has.”

Like this, we walk into the night. I feel at peace again and feel appreciation for my husband.

Have you ever had problems with your spouse’s relatives?