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My Mother-in-Law Makes My Marriage Difficult

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 11, 2018

Question

Asalamo Alaykom. I'm being put in a very hard situation. To start off me and my husband have been married for a year. I'm being put in a difficult situation when it comes to my in-laws. 7 months before we got married my now husband decided to move out of his parents’ house. They always think I'm controlling him (I'm truthfully not). They tell him things such as " you're not a man, you're a puppet to your wife, you're being controlled by a little girl" etc. which of course hurt his feelings causing him to always be in a bad mood when he's around me. My mother in law has a problem with herself. She expects all her kids to be perfect. If my husband doesn't agree with something she says, then she will flip and cause a huge argument and always ends up blaming me. She then gets her husband (my father in law) to also flip on my husband and begin cussing at him and cursing him (wishing God never forgives him). She used to always tell me to dress a certain way, always tried to tell me to wear a headscarf. She always gets very angry and causes a scene when I post photos of my husband & I on social media. She acts like she likes me when I very clearly know she doesn't, and that doesn't bother me at all but for my husband’s sake I try my best to make him happy and just deal with it. She's always putting my husband down and in a bad mood because of the words she says. She's always calling him and yelling at him for things people say about us. My husband is a CEO of a big company and so in her head she thinks he's very materialistic but he's not! He respects his mother so much and always calls her, but if he's busy at work and can't call her in the morning she goes crazy. He was busy yesterday and called him 3 times during work hours, but he was with a customer and his phone was on silent. She literally came to our home to make sure nothing was going on? She knew it was work hours. I'm so sick of the things they say about me to him. They hate how he treats me so kindly. 2 years before we got married his mother forced him into an arranged marriage and he did it to make her happy. 40 days later he got into a divorce because he didn't love her. I feel as if his mother is a big problem. She just wants to control everyone. I don't know what to do.

Counselor

Answer


My Mother-in-Law Makes My Marriage Difficult

In this counseling answer:

“Standing firm as a couple will also be useful in helping her to see that you are both serious and let her know that her words and actions will not destroy your marriage. This is something that you will obviously need to speak with your husband about. Assumingly, he is aware of her behavior, but if he is also standing up for you respectfully at this time, she will come to understand that she cannot control your relationship.”


Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,

It sure sounds like this situation is causing a lot of stress all around, for you, your husband and your in-laws. Unfortunately, your problem is not unique and many people face the same struggles with their in-laws. The thing that makes it especially difficult is that Islamically, it is important to respect them as elders and you want to have good relations with them, but at the same time, this can be incredibly difficult when your mother in law treats you so badly. There are, however, a number of things you can try to bring ease to the situation.

When experiencing seemingly rude and mean behavior from someone else, it can often be helpful to try and see things from their perspective. This does not excuse their behavior, but will help you to feel less insulted and angry about this behavior and also less likely to respond irrationally.

Often difficulties between spouses and in-laws can be a resolve of some kind of jealousy. Keep in mind that as his mother, she only wants what is best for her son. She will perhaps have unattainable expectations for her son and nothing will ever be good enough in her eyes.

Up until he got married he was dependent on her. But once married, she has seen that he can survive without her and now has a different woman in his life instead who can take care of the needs that she once provided for him, such as cooking for example. This can be difficult for mother in laws to let go of.

Unfortunately, her feelings regarding this are being directed toward you, which is not ok. However, if you can understand that this might be why she carries this attitude towards you, then it might make things emotionally easier for you, as well as making it easier for you to implement steps to improve relations.

Firstly, we can take from Islamic wisdom and repel evil with that which is better. This can be as simple as ignoring the behavior and not allowing it to get to you. Fortunately, you don’t live in the same house so this can be easier than if you were in a situation where you lived with them. You could even take it to the next level by responding in kindness. This might seem like unite a strange thing to do when you feel so insulted by someone, but it can work wonders in turning their heart.

Think about it this way; when someone behaves towards you with kindness, naturally you want to respond to them in kindness. So, with this in mind, responding to your mother in law kindly will make it very difficult for her to continue to behave in such a mean manner towards you. It may even soften her heart towards you or least lead her to feel morally obliged to treat you well as you are treating her. Eventually, it might be that taking this approach actually leads to genuine good relations between you. Either way, if she knows that you will always respond kindly to her then she is less likely to look for disputes with you.

Continue to pray for your in-laws that Allah will soften their hearts towards you and that relations will improve between you. Praying for them will also make it easier for you to endure current difficulties until they resolve.

Standing firm as a couple will also be useful in helping her to see that you are both serious and let her know that her words and actions will not destroy your marriage. This is something that you will obviously need to speak with your husband about. Assumingly, he is aware of her behavior, but if he is also standing up for you respectfully at this time, she will come to understand that she cannot control your relationship.

May Allah soften their hearts and bring peace in relations between you, your husband and your in-laws.

Amen,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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