This sounds like potential permissions trouble. There's no default create mask or directory mask set for the share, so you're getting the default permissions masks. These may not be sane defaults (for whatever reason).
Since you can copy whole files, but not directory trees, I suspect your directory mask is off. To check this, run two copy tests:
- a directory tree with a few files and/or subdirectories (this copy should fail); and
- the same tree compressed into a single archive file (this copy should succeed).
After copying, run
ls -l on all the files copied. (SSH into the server if needed.) Check that the server shows sane permissions:
- files should OK -- they might be
rw------- (read/write for owner), and maybe
rw-r--r-- or even
rwxr-xr-x (read/write/execute for owner).
- directories need to be
rwx------ at least (read/write/execute for owner). if the write bit is missing, you won't be able to create files in the directory; and if the execute bit is missing, you'll end up with situations where processes can't descend into subdirectories or generate directory listings.
If you are missing the execute bit on directories, fix it with the directory mask directive in the share section:
# use these for locked-down, user-only permissions
# 0700 is rwx------, 0600 is rw-------
directory mask = 0700
create mask = 0600
# use these for more open, user-only-write, others-read permissions
# 0755 is rwxr-xr-x, 0644 is rw-r--r--
directory mask = 0755
create mask = 0644
It's also possible you're running into trouble with the force user directive. I'm not very familiar with it, but when it's used, (1) your connection to the server is authenticated through your user, and then (2) operations on the share are performed as the forced user. If you are logging in as user husband and accessing the share under /home/wife/wifedebris, it's possible you're running into trouble with the permissions on either that directory or its parent (/home/wife). Those directories may need to be at least world readable/executable for the server to access them.