For some people, the relationship with their in-laws is not always great – especially if you have a difficult mother-in-law.
In many African traditions, after the lobola has been paid and the wedding ceremony is done, the bride goes to the husband’s home and stays there for a while, depending on what the families have agreed upon. This can be difficult for the bride, who apart from trying to adjust to married life, has to now please the in-laws as well. But even for those who do not have to stay with their in-laws after marriage, the reality is you might have to deal with them when they come visit your house or during family gatherings.
Difficulties with in-laws have been proven to be one of the top reasons why people divorce. According to a survey on the Divorce Laws Website South Africa, the involvement of parents is the ninth top reason for divorce.
So what can you do when you are stuck with a difficult mother in-law?
- Be yourself and let her accept you for who you are
The mistake that many people make is to try to compromise who they are just to please their in-laws. It is important to be true to yourself and to allow your in-laws to know you for who you really are. If you don’t believe in certain things and hate doing certain things, don’t change just to please them. You may get tired of compromising and pretending.
- Be firm
When it comes to how your kids should be raised and how your household should be run, don’t let your mother-in-law control you. After all, you only want what is best for your family. Be firm when it comes to your beliefs. Soon she will accept them and move on. Remember to be okay with not having in-law approval. After all you are married to your spouse and not to your mom-in-law.
- Be kind
The worst thing you can do is be mean to your mother-in-law. This will give her more reason to dislike you and will even hurt your spouse. So although the two of you might not necessarily get along, always choose to be kind to her, no matter what! Remember sometimes kindness softens the heart.
- Don’t make your spouse choose sides
Never make your spouse have to choose between you and his parents. This will be unfair for him. Remember he loves you both and you both mean so much to him.
- Don’t pick fights
Don’t give your mother-in-law a reason to fight you. Avoid doing or saying things that will make the two of you fight.
- Ignore petty things
As women, you will never see eye-to-eye on everything, but learn to ignore petty things.
- Love her
Love covers a multitude of sins. Remember your mother-in-law gave birth to your spouse. Try to love her and to maintain peace. Try to concentrate on her good characteristics rather than always focusing on the bad. This might make you appreciate her more.
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