How to Surmount In-laws Problems in Marriage

by - 3/15/2017 08:54:00 am

How to Surmount In-laws Problems in Marriage
Adam was the luckiest man in the world. He had no mother-in-law😁_ Mark Twain.

In Africa, we don’t play around with family; family is the rope of life that binds generations to their fore-fathers. The African family has an inclusive system which we often time call extended family. A typical African does not regard only his nuclear family as his family; there are other many extended members of the family. This is where the in-laws, kindred, distant relatives and those bonded in one ancestral origin fall in. This makes it difficult to know for certain where the line of in-law-hood ends. It seems that after marriage, all the people from your spouse’s side become your in-law; in fact everyone from her village becomes your in-law.

Today we are going to look at the ‘immediate in-laws’ problems in marriage. These can be identified as the mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and father-in-law. One of the problems married couple usually encounter after marriage comes from the in-laws, either from the wife’s side or the husband’s. This problem has caused a lot of family to be in utter shambles and decay. They lay like hungry lambs with no one to tend to them. When a family is infested with inner strife and dissension, it is like an internal bleeding difficult to locate without the aid of a machine. So what could be the cause of these in-law problems in marriage? And how can we confront it in our time that is gradually losing the values of family system?
I have identified three major causes of these problems and how to minimise, if not eliminate them from our families.

Know the limits, and set them
This is where you exercise some instinctive intelligence (if there is anything like that). After the wedding comes the main thing – making a home. This is where you see your mother and your mother-in-law even the fathers coming to show their expertise and wealth of experience in family business. There is this frequent visitation to know how you’re doing with the intention of peeping into your marital life. This is normally the early period when you may probably be trying to establish some understanding, trying to show both side how welcoming and homely you can be; but this is where it all starts. You should understand, for instance, that your mother-in-law has been the only woman your husband listens to; that tells him when to come back home and how to dress and smile until you came. That’s not going to change in a blink of an eye. 
As early as possible, define limits of your in-laws involvement. Take charge of your home but with prudence. Your in-law shouldn’t live with you and your spouse especially when it’s obvious that she has her home and necessary comfort there. Define the number of days they stay when they visit and know their reasons for coming. This does not in any way suggest that you become arrogant and patently bossy. Understand that they still have a right to come around and to have a ‘share’ of your spouse.  

Frequent visitation
One way to be close to your in-law is constant visitation. You need to always go to visit your in-laws with your spouse; it may appear to them that you merely accompanied your spouse to his/her home. For you to stop some annoying visits from your in-laws you need to visit them, make your presence always felt. Remember that marriage is not a contract for the African person, it is a covenant; you become part of them. Make sure you don’t go empty-handed. 
The idea here is that when you bridge the gap you’ve with them through regular visits, they will not have any lure to judge you wrongly nor mistake your good-intentioned actions. But when you stay far from your in-law you give them room to speculate the kind of person you are and most assuredly their mind must always bring in negativity. So, to conquer their suspicions and doubts about your goodwill make a visit to them. In your visit, be natural and simple. Try to show some level of relaxation and ease. You may want to spend some days with them, of course with the consent of your spouse.

Be a neutral person
Sometimes there may be sort of faction arising from your immediate family and that of your spouse. Understand the fact that both are your families and your responsible lies equally with them. Instead of taking side during disputes, you may do well to be the middle person. Being a middle person will help you to see things in a wider perspective instead of seeing only from the side of the faction you support. Treat the problem and not the people. Love both families and let it be glaringly seen by them. Although, this is very difficult because you may feel a sense of betrayal towards your people and even some families may go to an extent of attributing dark powers for the cause of your neutrality. Don’t worry, you will only realise the positive effect of your matured action after everything must have resided.
In marriage, your spouse’s people become your people, understand that and live with that. Accommodate both parties. Do not lavish more attention and care on one particular side, spread your attention. If both of you decide to accommodate and train a family member, take two; each from one family. If your budget cannot carry the burden of training two persons, you may find a way of compensating the other party. Just let them feel your love and care.

Managing your home and finding a ways to accommodate your in-laws can be challenging especially when you’re new in the system, but with time, your good attitude, no matter how much it has been misjudge, will surely fetch you the desired peace of mind.  
God bless your home!

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