Movies have conveyed several scenarios of bitter relationship between wives and their mother-in-laws.
The two seem not to agree on any single thing. They fight over virtually anything and there is always some tension between them. However, we believe this shouldn’t be the case.
The relationship between a mother and her son’s wife should be very cordial, full of respect and joy. These are the two most important people in the life of the man and therefore any form of friction goes a long way to affect him, his job and his state of mind.
We’ve heard of the phrase; “marriage is between a man and a woman” but in our African setup, once you marry somebody, you marry his/her, whole family.
Below are some ways to relate with your mother-in-law for peace to prevail.
This is a very important thing. If you want to live peacefully with your mother-in-law, you need to respect her. There is no other way. She’s your husband’s mother so give her maximum respect. When she speaks to you, show her respect, if she wants something which is within your means, do it for her. She’s not going to be around forever so the little time she’s with you, just give her that respect as your mother-in-law. They can be overbearing at times but try and tolerate her because the little you do is what will become news.
This is one issue that always brings conflict. Wives believe they now “control” their husbands while mothers still feel that their sons are their son’s whether married or not. As a wife, see your mother-in-law as what she is, your husband’s mother and not your rival or competitor. She can’t take your position as a wife so relax. She’s lived with him for years and therefore it’ll take a while before she comes to the realization that she doesn’t call the shots anymore. Don’t compete over who says what to your husband or who decides what he should do etc.
Many times when mothers visit their son’s and their wives, the wives want to show that they are now in charge. Unfortunately, this always goes wrong as they come off as controlling wives. Allow your mother-in-law to be the mother of your husband and be the wife. Under no circumstance must you try to take over your mother-in-law’s role as a mother as well. As a mother, when she’s around her son, she might be tempted to do certain things for him. These might not be intentional but it does happen.
Mother-in-laws can be authoritative and commanding at times. As a wife, make sure you’re not accepting just about everything she says. When she wants something that you feel falls outside what you want for your home, respectfully turn it down. When she still insists, just tell her you’ll think about it with your husband. If you don’t become strong and accept just anything she says, this trend will continue and she’ll end up ruling your house from her corner.
The best way to treat someone is by getting them close to you. Your mother-in-law is the mother of your husband and therefore she can be your mother too. Instead of seeing her as your husband’s mother, begin to see her as your mother. How do you relate to your mother, how do you speak to her, how do you treat her? Do same for your in-law. Many in-laws reject all forms of pampering from their daughters-in-law all because they don’t like them but it’s better to have an offer rejected than not make it at all.
As humans, one thing which is difficult for us to do is to apologize. However, if you want to relate well with your mother-in-law, then you must learn to say sorry. There’s a saying that “when a child gets into an encounter with an adult, he can never win”. When your in-law complains about something, explain your part to her, then if a sorry will do the trick, say so. The power of sorry cannot be overemphasized in any way, therefore make sure that when it will calm tempers, just say so and let matters die.
In the African setup, a man is the head of the family and so it’s important that you make him be exactly that. Mother’s do not enjoy seeing their son’s turned into woman where their wives control and dictate to them. When she wants to know anything about the family which is quite sensitive, let your husband respond if he’s around. In all conversations with her in relation to the family, let your husband be the mouthpiece of the family. Since it’s her own son, if she asks a question and he gives her an answer which isn’t favorable to her, she’ll not react too badly, even if she does, it’s her own son and you’ll be free.