Setting The Plan In Motion
She’d been doing it for months, rushing for her daughter’s phone whenever a text pinged, or someone called. Tired of how overbearing she was, her son-in-law set his plan in motion.
With his heart pounding, he watched as she reached for the phone, clicking it open. It took a second for her to internalize what she was looking at. If only he knew what his actions would lead to.
It Wasn’t Supposed To Go This Way
But for Ethan Hargrove, taking such a drastic measure against his mother-in-law was the last thing on his mind that month. He was meant to be here celebrating the 4th of July with the most important people in his life.
This family, after all, had taken him in, blessing him with the love of his life and accepting him as one of their own. But he couldn’t deny that his mother-in-law’s constant nitpicking and controlling nature was getting to him.
Not A Believer
Ethan had never thought he’d reach this point in life. A native of the port city of Astoria, Oregon, he’d never considered himself the ‘get married and settle down’ type.
Ethan had never been one to believe in love. He’d had his share of heartbreaks, each of which proved his point that nothing good would come out of settling down. Well, that was until he met her.
The Perfect Woman
Sarah Redfield had seemingly come out of nowhere. She possessed a rare combination of beauty and intelligence, oozing charisma that Ethan had never seen before. Her nurturing nature and work ethic had him swooning and wishing she was his.
Although he didn’t know it then, Sarah was awakening something within him he’d never experienced before. If only he knew it would all be in tears.
The Missing Piece
Meeting Sarah showed Ethan what he’d been missing in his life. He already had a great career and personal life. But despite everything he’d achieved, he’d long felt like something was missing.
Simply looking at Sarah made him realize this missing peace was true love. He’d been searching for it for what felt like an eternity without even knowing it. With her, he’d finally know this reality.
Their First Date
Ethan asked Sarah out, seeing her as the perfect girl. Their first date was full of laughter and joy. Ethan had never felt so at home with a stranger before, and he couldn’t help but feel like he and Sarah were always meant to be.
From that first date, he knew he’d found his soulmate. He was willing to risk everything for her and only prayed she felt the same. But their feelings for each other wouldn’t survive the onslaught of Sarah’s mom.
The Next Step
Ethan and Sarah spent countless hours together, and their bond grew stronger with each passing day. After a few months of blissful dating, they decided to take their relationship to the next level and moved into a new apartment together.
Ethan had been saving for years and saw it fit to find a place the two of them could turn into a home. If only he knew what it would lead to.
Moving in with Sarah prompted Ethan to ask about her parents. Of course, she’d been telling him about them over the months. But this time, Ethan wanted to meet them.
He asked her if she could finally introduce him to them, something he was eagerly anticipating. He had no idea what a nightmare Sarah’s mom was.
Ethan strongly believed Sarah was the woman he wanted to spend his life with and was excited to build a future together. It was only fitting that he met her parents and thanked them for raising such a fine woman.
When Ethan met Sarah’s father, he instantly understood where her kindness and warmth came from. The man was a wonderful gentleman who welcomed Ethan with open arms and shared great stories about their family. However, upon meeting Sarah’s mother, things took an unexpected turn.
Sarah’s mom, Barbra, was a nitpicking and controlling woman. She seemed to dictate and lord over almost every aspect of Sarah’s life, from her grand things like her career to minute details like the color of her hair band.
Her critical nature extended to Ethan’s clothes, asking her daughter why she didn’t bother picking clothes for her boyfriend that matched hers. But this would only be the tip of the iceberg.
Barbra’s scrutiny also extended to their new apartment, as she criticized their house decor and constantly commented on her daughter’s perceived shortcomings.
Recognizing the strain this was causing in their relationship, a worried Ethan decided to talk to Sarah about her mother’s behavior. With concern in his voice, he expressed his qualms, hoping Sarah would understand.
But Sarah seemed to have a different understanding of what was going on. She defended her mother’s actions, even going so far as to assure Ethan that her mom meant no harm with her comments.
To her, it was a mother’s nature to be overprotective and controlling, all rooted in her unwavering love for her daughter. If only she knew what her mom’s end goal was.
There Is A Good Side
Seeing as he couldn’t convince Sarah of her mom’s interference, Ethan decided to let the issue slide. You see, despite the challenges that Barbra seemed to pose, there was a lighter side to her that Ethan adored.
The woman was a delight to be around when she wasn’t barraging her daughter with fixes and overprotective comments. But that wasn’t all.
Can He Win Her Over?
Barbra could be fun and engaging. She was lovely and insightful, although her snoopy and controlling nature worked well to water down these aspects.
Regardless, Ethan saw this good side and decided that perhaps he could win her over in due time. He had no idea he’d be pushed to do the unthinkable to save his marriage.
As the months passed, Ethan and Sarah’s love grew. A year and a half after moving in together, Ethan proposed to Sarah. He loved her more than life and couldn’t see himself without her.
Hoping to make her his forever, he got on one knee and popped the question. Of course, Sarah screamed, “Yes.” But she’d soon be in tears.
Ethan’s proposal to Sarah was meant to show her he wanted them to build a family together. He also hoped it would positively change her mom’s behavior.
Surrounded by their friends and family, Ethan and Sarah exchanged vows in a beautiful barn wedding. They had their whole marriage life before them and couldn’t wait to embark on it. But out of the corner of his eyes, Ethan saw his mother-in-law doing something with the hairs on his nape standing.
As Ethan and Sarah started their married life, he only hoped that his mother-in-law would finally let up. He prayed she’d give Sarah the space she deserved. The way he saw it, Sarah was a grown woman.
She was meant to make her own mistakes and learn from them. She was supposed to experience life without being pigeonholed into whatever her mother saw as perfect.
However, much to Ethan’s disappointment, the situation worsened. He soon realized that Barbara’s controlling behavior had reached new heights.
What had started as criticizing Sarah’s choices evolved into invading the couple’s privacy by combing through Sarah’s personal belongings, including her phone.
To her, she wanted to ensure her daughter was a good wife. She wanted her to talk, walk, eat, dress, and breathe ‘proper wife.’ To this effect, she set out to monitor everything that came through Sarah’s phone.
Ethan watched in disbelief each time his mother-in-law rushed for her daughter’s phone whenever it rang. It didn’t matter whether the notifications were from Sarah’s workplace, her social media and friends, or Ethan.
Barbra kept taking the phone the moment it sounded off. She would comb through it even when it wasn’t ringing. But this wasn’t even the worst part.
Energy And Anticipation
Ethan tried to explain what he was witnessing to his wife. Now that he and Sarah were married, scores of personal information flowed between them via their phones.
Their marriage was still young, and with that came energy and anticipation. Ethan and Sarah couldn’t stop thinking about each other whenever they weren’t in the same room. The only way they could communicate and express themselves was through their phones.
Her Behavior Has Improved
But after what Ethan learned, he found it challenging to text or call his wife whenever she visited her parents. Talking to her about it, she insisted he had nothing to worry about.
With a smile, she explained that her mom had always been like this, even when she was younger. If anything, her behavior had improved now. So why couldn’t Barbra stop?
“She cares too much not to do this,” Sarah answered. “I don’t mind it at all.” But she didn’t know that this issue, as minor as it was, was giving her husband sleepless nights.
“I get that,” Ethan said. He could understand where both Sarah and Barbra were coming from. Some habits are usually tricky to live down. That’s when he made a drastic conclusion.
A Living Hell
Ethan felt like he had no other choice. This was his marriage life; his mother-in-law unknowingly made it a living hell.
He could see that despite Sarah’s smiles and bright eyes as she talked about Barbra’s behavior, she was just as disturbed as he was. She had a good and kind heart, and Ethan knew she’d never stand up to her mom. So what did he do?
Thinking It Over
As he had before, Ethan decided to take a leap of faith and trust the love of his life. If Sarah said this was okay, then he’d make the compromise and accept this as his new reality.
But he also knew he’d have to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to his mother-in-law’s constant scrutiny and snooping. But this decision wouldn’t last long.
Back To Ground Zero
It only took Ethan two weeks to go back on his plan of accepting his fate. He couldn’t take the way his mother-in-law treated his wife.
He couldn’t stop thinking about how mean she was at times or how she constantly nitpicked everything Sarah did. More than anything, he couldn’t accept her constant breach of privacy. He needed to do something about it all.
This Is War
Ethan knew he was in this alone. He’d have to hatch a plan that hit once and hit hard. He’d have to ensure that the onslaught was so mighty his mother-in-law would no longer reach out for his wife’s phone whenever it sat on the kitchen counter.
With these thoughts in mind, he started plotting. The plan took a day to devise, but Ethan couldn’t help but grin at its ingenious nature once done.
Dismayed and determined to protect his marriage, Ethan had hatched a plan fit to see his goal through. It all began with a perfectly crafted text message brimming with provocative and explicit content.
Ethan chose each word carefully, ensuring they painted the most vivid pictures. He was sure his mother-in-law would be the first to pick up the phone when the message rang.
It was the 4th of July break, which meant Ethan and Sarah traveled to see Sarah’s parents. Ethan already had the message in his drafts, patiently waiting to unleash it.
He and Sarah reached her parents’ home, and everybody said their hellos before settling in. But just as the holiday mood took over, Ethan pressed send on the message and waited for the moment of truth.
She’s Seen It
It didn’t take long for Barbra to rush for the phone, which lay on the kitchen counter as always. She clicked it open, quickly skimming through. But her face paled as her eyes widened and brows shot up.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ethan could see how shocked she was in the kitchen. She paced for a few minutes before frantically calling Sarah.
Sarah went to the kitchen, and Barbra closed the door behind her. But before the door fully closed, her gaze layered Ethan. There was fear in her irises coupled with the realization that she’d been intruding on her daughter’s life too much.
The two spent fifteen minutes in the kitchen. But when they came out, Sarah’s eyes were filled with tears. Ethan shot to his feet the moment he saw her. What had he done?
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.