I wish you a happy and life lasting marital union. I wish you a fruitful union blessed with children, grand and great grand children. I pray that the ugly word ‘divorce’ will not appear in your marital dictionary in Jesus name, amen.
My message to you is based on the conflict often occurring between many wives and their mothers-in-law. Very few wives have ever said good things about a mother-in-law. This has given me much concern over the years. Today’s daughter-in-law will soon metamorphose into a mother-in-law. Is this conflict a vicious circle since it has existed for centuries?
I want you to get some facts clear that can help you enjoy your marriage and relationship with your in-laws better. I am writing as a neutral observer not taking sides with any party. I understand that there are 3 parties to the conflict – husband, wife and mother-in-law who have various roles in the crisis.
In our traditional African society, a woman who marries a man marries him along with all the members of the family i.e. the whole extended family. She becomes a wife to the whole family and not the man alone. Many wives have a ‘me & my husband alone’ orientation. That may work in Europe but certainly not in marriages in an African setting. Please take note of this important factor.
The Scriptures in the Book of Exodus 20:12 says, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother’. Your parents in this situation are not only your biological parents but also include your in-laws such as the mother-in-law who are parent figures. Therefore, you are expected to honour her as your own mother, respect and love her. This will show that you have a good upbringing and good manners.
One thing among many spinsters is their pre-conceived notion that mothers-in-law are evil. With this notion, they came into marriage with a mindset stunt driving ticket reduced prepared for battle to keep the mother-in-law in her ‘place’. With this faulty mindset they dug the grave of their own marriage with their own hands, from the inception of the marriage.
A wife who comes into marriage with a hostile attitude will never see anything good in what a mother-in-law says or does. Some mothers-in-law have good intentions borne out of an emotional concern for the welfare of her son. Her actions would be misinterpreted as a poke nosy attitude by her hostile daughter-in-law thus igniting battles which could have been avoided.
Many women have also expressed their wish that the mother-in-law die before they marry her son. That is an evil thought that can boomerang. Wishing that a mother die before her God ordained time? Wishing that a mother should not enjoy the fruit of her labour over her children? If your future daughter-in-law wishes you untimely death and you knew, how would you feel?
Some wives have the idea that they can send packing a mother-in-law who troubles them. How can this be? If you do that, do you think the other in-laws would fold their arms and absorb the humiliation of one of them? They will support her even if she is in the wrong and how can you survive there? That means the marriage could become as good as doomed.
Many sons are passionate about their mothers and no son in his right senses will see his mother being thrown out by his wife and remain silent. Many wives who foolishly used confrontation against their in-laws especially their mothers-in-law regretted it.
There are two unfailing spiritual laws – the law of seed time and harvest in Genesis 8:22 and the law of sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7. If you sow love into your in-laws, no matter how difficult they may be, you will certainly reap it.
No matter how overbearing your mother-in-law may be, endeavor to show her love and to the other in-laws. Many of them will eventually see you in good light and become your friend. When occasion demands, they will fight your battles for you. Maintain cordial relations with your in-laws at all times. It is your responsibility.
Proverbs 14:1 says that ‘a wise woman builds her house but the foolish plucks it down with her hands’. Wisdom is essential in your relationship with your husband and the in-laws. Wisdom, not confrontation, is among the keys to succeed in marriage in an African setting.
One thing is very important and some wives take it for granted. Ensure that you perform your wife and helpmate roles to your husband to the best of your ability. Take note that the mother-in-law is in the background watching. If she notices that you are maltreating her son, she will come running to his aid.
This is borne out of a natural, emotional concern for his welfare. If this happens, that means you invited a sleeping trouble by yourself. Ensure you do your best to satisfy your husband with everything and in everything. That will help keep his mother’s mind at rest and at bay.
Do your best for your mother-in-law. Be her friend, wash her clothes, and cook for her. Do her hairs, buy gifts for her, give her money. Play with her, accommodate and tolerate her, even her excess. Yes, she may be naughty at times. Ask God for the grace to endure and remember that one day, you will also become a mother-in-law and may become naughty too. If she blesses you from her heart, your children will reap from it.