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Causes of strained relationship between wives and mother-in-laws

Causes of strained relationship between wives and mother-in-laws

By Oyindamola Isijola
Most times, the relationship between a wife and her mother-in-law can be awkward and unfavourable. Many times, we learn of some married women complaining about how frustrating, manipulating and tormenting their mother-in-laws are and some mother-in-laws sharing their experiences on how they were being disrespected and insulted by their  daughter-in-laws…then this brings up the question, what causes these discordancies between wives and their mother-in-laws?, how can this proper relationship be improved between wive and her mother-in-laws?, What should be the relationship between wives and their mother-in-laws? Is it the cat and dog relationship? Or the mother and daughter relationship filled with sincere love, support, respect and care?.

      Generally, Mother-in-laws are known to be the second mother to their son’s wives in every marriages, with them accepting their son’s wives as their daughters and the wives playing the roles of a good daughter to them with all sincerity.

Mother-in-laws apart from the coddling and special treatments given by them to their daughter-in-laws during pregnancy also helps a lot after childbirth. They help the couples with childcare and sometimes these children spend most of their times with them.

 Oftentimes, we hear the obnoxious news of a daughter-in-law beating and inflicting injuries on her mother-in-law or a mother-in-law who maltreats her son’s wife and  later sent her packing out of the house. The reasons for these conflicts could be from the mother-in-law or the wife. Conflicts could arise when the mother-in-law starts being aggressive or exercising authorities and control over the couples particularly the son. It can also arise as a result of the daughter in-law being disrespectful or proud. Poor fertility and financial challenges are also issues that ruins a good relationship between a wife and her mother-in-law.

  Besides, mother-in-laws have been depicted as a bad character to their sons wives, either as a witch or a character capable of breaking their sons homes and this can be from life experiences or movies. Through these erroneous beliefs,  most matured ladies set to get married do have a misconceive opinions about mother-in-laws, due to their mindset, experience or what they’ve heard from those undergoing mistreatments from their mother-in-laws. Then, bringing this mindset into the marriage, the wives would decide not to let her mother-in-law have a say in her marriage, irregardless exercising power or authority over her.

Commonly, ladies while being introduced for the first time to their mother-in-laws might get the “are you sure you are good enough for my son question?.” Also, wives  who initially have the challenges of them not being accepted by their mother-in-laws due to them not being liked by the mother-in-laws or through the wife’s noticed flaws,  but the son insisting on marrying her and eventually getting married to the wife can generate to grudges between the two owing to the initial impression and it can also lead to hostility and conflicts between them.

According to Mrs Dara Bamitola ” The reason for an unfriendly relationship between daughter-in-laws and mother-in-laws could be as a result of the despise between them. Some daughter-in-laws can be so unfriendly and inhospitable towards their husband mothers, in that they don’t even want them to come visiting at all and some mother-in-law’s too can be fastidious at times, they can be so difficult to please, there’s nothing you can do to please them, they will always find a fault in whatever the wife does and always making the wife frustrated.”

She further stated that, not all married women love living in the same house with their mother-in-laws and the main reason is for them to have the right to their privacy in their homes with no one meddling in their affairs.”

Reacting to this, Mrs Temidayo Adebayo has this to say.

“The relationship between wives and mother-in-laws even though it can’t always be the mother and daughter relationship should be the one with unity and love, with the wife respecting and showing humility to her mother-in-law and the mother-in-law also accepting the wife as her own daughter and not just seeing her as a daughter-in-law, furthermore,  not being partial with her love, it should not be a one-sided relationship and also treating her well.”

As for a woman who gave her name as mummy Joy,

“My mother-in-law is a very good mother to me, she accepts and treats me like her own daughter. Initially, before I got married, I had bad opinions about mother-in-laws on how cruel they can be to their daughter-in-laws but I soon realised that not all mother-in-laws are like that, it depends on the individual’s personality. At times, there is the tendency for some older mother-in-laws to act peevish or senile due to their old age but it takes the wisdom of a good wife to understand them and treat them with love, care and respect.”

As said by a married female Corp member who pleaded to remain anonymous…

“The relationship between a wife and her mother-in-law should be the one between a mother and her children…often, there are mother-in-laws who gets jealous and insecured once their sons gets married. These are the  mother-in-laws that sees their daughter-in-laws as a competitor, their believe is that these daughter-in-laws will divide the love between them and their sons.”

She further stated an example of a mother-in-law who through a dispute which ensued between her and her daughter-in-law, accused her of spending her son’s money on her and her family members causing him not to perform his responsibilities on her anymore.

She concluded by saying the Mother-in-laws should not see their son’s wife as a competitor but as their own daughters, that’s the way they can establish a good relationship between them.

Research has shown that, Dr Angharad Rudkin, a psychologist who works with families, had also said this about the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law relationship” it’s difficult for a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law to ever make it work out between them entirely, even if they are both brought up pretty similarly, a new daughter-in-law is still not from that family. The most you can usually hope for is a compromise where there is openness and honesty. “

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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