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When I’m Kind to My Wife, Mother Gets Angry. Help!



Reply Date

Jul 13, 2017


As-Salam `Alaikum dear counselor. I have been married for 6 months, but due to some issues, I haven't got much time to spend with my wife. I have not taken her for honeymoon either. One month ago, I moved abroad and wanted to bring my wife to live with me, but my parents are against it. I don’t know what they are thinking. I know I have to be kind and gentle to my wife as Allah expects me, but doing this makes my mother angry. She thinks her son (me) is now out of her hand; therefore, she doesn't treat my wife properly. I argue a lot with her because of this; sometimes I even shout at her. She thinks that I always take my wife's side, which is true, but because I always agree with my wife's opinion and see my mom wrong in most cases. Sometimes my mom even curses her! I don't know how to deal with the situation. I believe in Allah and make du`aa' to Him. Please help! Jazak Allah.



When I'm Kind to My Wife, Mother Gets Angry. Help!

In this counseling answer:

It seems the mother is fearful of losing her to his wife. Therefore, the counselor advises the brother to go to his mother and address her feelings, validate them, then let her know that he intends to maintain a strong relationship with her. She further advises him to explain to his mother that a man’s relationship with his mother is different than his relationship with his wife.

As-Salamu `Alaikum Brother,

Thank you for sending us your question. I would also like to congratulate you on your recent marriage. May Allah (swt) bless the both of you and grant you both a happy and prosperous life.

Your concern is very common for many individuals who are part of certain cultures/societies. It seems your recent marriage has made your mother feel like she has somewhat lost your love and attention. I believe that is a true observation to your situation.

Since your mother has this feeling, she is most likely experiencing fear. She is fearful of losing you to your wife even though you have no intention of changing your close relationship with her. As a result, your mother’s fear has manifested itself in the form of anger towards your wife even though your wife did not do anything to anger your mother.

It looks like your mother is using displacement to deal with the stress associated with her fear. Displacement basically means to show anger/animosity to something or someone who is less threatening, instead of the root idea or person, in order to relieve the stress that person feels.

To break it down, your mother is fearful that you will not care for her anymore since your wife became a part of your life. Instead of being direct with you about her feelings of fear, she relieves her stress by being mean to your wife.

To remedy this situation, you have to take it upon yourself to address your mother’s feelings. You should consistently let your mother know that you care for her and that your recent marriage will not cause you to love your mother less or to care about her any less than you do now.

You have mentioned that your mother’s ill-treatment towards your wife has caused you to argue with your mother constantly. That is because the underlying issue of her feelings of fear was not addressed properly. When you speak with your mother, attempt to address how she feels and why she feels that way.

In order for her to feel more at ease, you have to attempt to understand her feelings and validate them. Validate her feelings of fear, then let her understand that your relationship with your wife will not affect your relationship with your mother negatively. This is a process, so it will take time and patience from your part to overcome this situation.

When a person makes decisions, they need to look at the “bigger picture” instead of temporarily solving the situation. It probably would be easier for you to be mean to your wife since it will satisfy your mother. Doing that would probably “solve” the situation temporarily, but you will end up in the long-run in a terrible marriage and an angry and bitter mother. As Muslims, we have to do what is right. Your parents have rights over you, and your wife has rights over you. You cannot sacrifice one for the other.

To directly answer your question, you should go to your mother and address her feelings, validate them, then let her know that you intend to maintain a strong relationship with her. Afterward, tell her about your feelings and how you need your wife to come and live with you in your place of residence. Explain to your mother that a man’s relationship with his mother is different than his relationship with his wife. Both relationships are vital for a man’s well-being, and you need to maintain good relationships with both her and your wife in order to live a balanced family life.

She may or may not be happy with the idea, but nevertheless, you need to do what is right. You did not get married to be a part of your wife because of a jealous family member. Rather, Allah (swt) ordained marriage for us to have a built-in companion and to live with them with tranquility and mercy in order to raise strong children.

Finally, be true to your word and seek to maintain close contact with your mother even after you return to your place of residence.

May Allah (swt) grant you patience and perseverance to overcome this situation and grant you a happy marriage.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 


About Aliah F. Azmeh

Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.

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