I realized today that it is no trivial business to maintain a happy balance between various family members, most notably between biological relatives and conjugal ones. In my family, the conflict is most accentuated between wife and father. First, they are both of very similar disposition: opinionated, garrulous, and good at interpreting others’ words or actions with magnification. There are many instances where my dad’s words have hurt my wife. For instance, during the move out from Central Valley, she had to deal with moving sale all by herself, witnessed by many of her rich friends. My dad came to her rescue, but also with the words: you should be able to do that all by yourself. This really hurt. On the other hand, my long-term loyalty to my dad is not easily erased by recent events. In fact, the earlier the events, the more impressive they are. To my wife, to be honest, I also have gratitude, but it’s less instinctual, perhaps because the services she rendered me were not unrequited. One way to fortify our relationship is to resort to religious teaching. Thus I offered to attend church services, which also contain a child-care unit. As expected, she bluntly refused. To set a good example, therefore, I should be religious about it myself.
I grew up in an atheist environment, in which there is only a weak support network of familial conciliation. In the US, however, religious institutions take charge of such vital societal function by reinterpreting biblical passages with modern meaning. This is admirable and not only good for the society as a whole, but beneficial individually. Rather than arguing incessantly all the way throughout my life until the end, which is biologically inevitable given my parents’ example as well as hers, I see a religious conversion to be pretty much the only way out. And in this way I can transcend my parents in terms of dealing with family members, not a small accomplishment given that they are both PhD educated. Most of my wise friends are single and independently minded. They are eager to get away from parents. Not me, unfortunately. The longer I wandered in the land of missing parental guidance, the more I yearn for such. Perhaps the heavenly Father is the best substitute after coming of age.