Friday, June 1, 2018

Generation Gap in Korea

One of the diocesan bulletins had an article about the conflict with parents of an older generation by a 33 year old son married for just three months. The past two weeks, both the wife and son had trouble sleeping and eating over the conflict. What was to blow up did blow up.

He grew up in a patriarchal home. His mother and three siblings have always answered yes unconditionally to their father. Because of the son's job he had on a number of occasions disobeyed his father but his mother persuaded him to go along with the wishes of his father. Although he lives in another city his father continues to interfere in his life.

During the ancestral rites at the Lunar New Year, his wife went to the homestead to help her mother-in-law two days before the day of the rites. After the ancestral rites at the house, the mother told the daughter-in-law she could go on to visit her parents and sleep over since they lived close bye and she could return to the homestead before going home. The older sister of the writer told her mother, no need to return to the house but return home from her parent's home.

These kinds of issues are what break up families said the sister. The mother replied that the father was against sending her but she forced the issue. The older sister added that this is the reason many stop coming to the homestead after marriage. The daughter in law, gathering courage, said her parents are upset about the situation.

After the father heard this interaction of the family he retorted: "she didn't learn what is necessary for a daughter-in-law when they married. I am not interested in those who want to do their own thing. You can all go."

The daughter took a taxi and left for her parent's home and from there went directly to her own home. The husband was in a difficult situation. He wanted to save the marriage. The father needed to change his attitude toward the couple.

The son didn't know what to do. They needed to return to apologize to the father. The issue, however, couldn't be solved with an apology. They had to maneuver between the feelings and culture of the two families. How were they to deal with the situation.?

The father was a hardcore traditionalist and both families had great dissatisfaction with the situation but kept quiet. After all, this was the universal understanding of what was required of a daughter-in-law: common conflict in families. Big changes are coming but in the process many scars and hurt feelings  don't quickly disappear.They decided to go together to apologize to the parents and hope they all learned from the incident.

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