Everyone knows that wives and mothers-in-law never seem to get along although there are a few who do. In fact whenever a woman mentions her mother in law the first picture that comes to mind is that wicked woman that oppresses her son’s young wife, finds fault with every little thing she does, criticizes and mocks her when she fails to conceive after a few years of marriage. Nollywood movies even take this narrative further to depict mothers-in-law as diabolical women who would do anything to truncate their son’s wife’s happiness.
Well, the truth is that there is often a measure of friction between a wife and a mother in law and the reasons are not strange. First of all, mothers-in-law often feel like a wife has come to take their place in their son’s life. Before marriage, this is a man who had probably been so close to his mother, eats her food and seeks her advice. Now he can’t make a decision without taking one little girl into consideration first, only eats what she cooks and places her interests first before anyone else. Women naturally have this seed of jealousy and competition sowed in their hearts against fellow women and it doesn’t matter what age they are so without much effort it will start manifesting in the older woman who mind you is at an age where she easily feels forgotten and neglected so how else would she react but to take it out on the young woman who is the existing threat to her life. That’s when the quarrels, accusations and criticisms begin. The wives on their own part believe that they should take first place in their husband’s heart, receive the most attention and weigh more influence on their husbands than any other woman including his mother. If at any point the wife feels that her husband seems to place his mother at a higher pedestal than her there is bound to be friction. The wife forgets that this man has been under his mother’s influence for over 20 years of his life and cannot easily detach himself from her influence.
The man is always caught in the middle. Should he support his wife and risk his mother’s ire or support his mother and come home to an angry wife? The truth is that most men often don’t handle the issue well and it is only a woman who can handle the issue properly that will ensure her home remains peaceful.
A Young Woman’s Guide
The Emotional Tempo of Your Home
As a young wife you must know that it is your responsibility to set the kind of emotional tempo you want in your home. You cannot control how people perceive and treat you. You can only control how you react to them. So the fist key is to set the emotional tempo of your home and control how you react to external factors.
Your Mother-in-Law is not an Enemy
Try to fit yourself in the woman’s shoes. She only reacts that way because she’s afraid to lose relevance in her son’s life. If you create an atmosphere of love and peace then it will banish every other negative tempo. Try to show more love and kindness where she’s harsh, encourage your husband to give her necessary attention and make efforts to carry her along as often as possible without conceding too much to her.
The way you begin during courtship often sets the standards of how you will be treated as a daughter in law. Don’t pretend to be the kind of daughter-in-law who wakes up at the crack of dawn to sweep the whole house, fetch water and cook for everybody if you know you are not. Don’t start what you cannot maintain because the moment you stop it will become an issue that will be used against you. So let them know your boundaries and also respect theirs.
Respect the fact that you are both from different backgrounds.
Family values, ideals and ethics often come into play here. You have to respect the fact that their views will often differ from yours and act accordingly
Always sue for peace
Seek peace without becoming a pushover. You don’t have to get offended with every little thing. Learn to overlook issues and take the moral high ground. Let it be visible that you are a peacemaker without appearing to be a doormat.
Avoid putting your husband in the middle
What most wives don’t know when they quarrel with their mothers-in-law is that they are putting their husbands in a difficult position of choosing who to side. The worst case scenario is that he will start staying away from home to avoid having to be in the middle of your quarrels.
Above all fight and win battles on your knees and not with fists
There are so many needless fights that can be overcome without quarreling. Just go to the father and win the battle on your knees. You will be amazed how easily difficult battles will be resolved.