Is it wrong for a spouse to move back in with elderly parents to take care of them?


Is a wife moving back in part-time (several days and nights per week) with her parents to provide care a violation of Ephesians 5:31? Her elderly parents will not accept paid help (strangers) in their home even though they can afford it and the arrangement could foreseeably be for months or possibly a couple of years. Both parents need round-the-clock care. The other option would be a nursing home. One parent doesn't even see that they have a need and has lost the ability to reason.

Thank you.


What you are trying to do is pit two commands against each other. It is true that a wife has obligations to care for her husband and a husband has obligations to care for his wife. It is equally true that a son or daughter has obligations to his or her parent. Both commands are important. Therefore, ways to accomplish both commands should be sought.

I've known situations where elderly parents have moved in with one of their children. I've known situations where a child's family moved in with his parents to take care of them. These are usually the better solutions because loved ones and familiar situations remain and bring comfort.

Sometimes skilled care is needed that is beyond what the child can provide and in-home care or a nursing home is required. This is less ideal because what is familiar is removed, but the best of a poor situation is still sought.

Therefore, seek out ways that all your obligations can be accomplished even though some might not result in ideal solutions for an individual item.


Thank you for your response. I appreciate the work you do to answer questions scripturally.

I understand what you mean about trying to find a solution that may not be ideal in all aspects but is the best considering all the obligations. Moving in on a trial basis to see if I can even manage the situation first before I make significant life changes like giving up my job to make it work may be the best route.

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