In this counseling answer:
• Approach the scenario tactfully so as not to interfere in your daughter’s marriage.
• Families ties can be maintained by understanding her in-laws’ behavior and dealing with them based on their concerns.
• Do things such as uniting the families in joint gatherings, finding common grounds and making some compromises.
• Failing this, some kind of family intervention that allows all parties to have their say can be incredibly useful for all.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh sister,
When couples get married, in an ideal world, both sides of the family would get along well. However, this is often not the case and there may be some difficulty or other, some more severe than others.
In this case, your daughter’s in-laws seem to be interfering with her having relations with your side of the family. This causes distress to you as well as the other family members concerned. It is not right or fair of her to restrict your daughter from seeing her relatives. There are some things you can do try and ease the difficulties and make things easier for all, in sha Allah.
Maintaining family ties
Islamically, we know it is important to maintain family ties.
O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. (Qur’an, 4:1)
In fact, it is a sin not to and comes at a severe cost
‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn ‘Awf heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, said, ‘I am the Merciful (ar-Rahman). I have created ties of kinship and derives a name for it from My Name. If anyone maintains ties of kinship, I maintain connection with him, and I shall cut off anyone who cuts them off.'” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 53)
It is almost impossible to uphold ties if one is restricted from seeing the family. So, it is important to do all you can to maintain this, but without causing disturbances between the families.
‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr Al-‘as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him”. [Al-Bukhari Book 1, Hadith 322)
Whilst we must obey our parents, when they enforce something against Islam then it is ok to not obey in such cases, but, in order to maintain families ties, this should be done in the best way so as not to create further disturbances. There are several ways to approach such an issue.
Of course, as the mother, you are concerned about your daughter and feel distressed by the situation and restrictions placed on her that are affecting your family. Whilst your emotions are clearly heightened, it can be easy to step in and intervene for the sake of making things easy for your family. However, if done in the wrong way can only exacerbate the problem and make things worse, so it is important to be careful in the way you deal with this.
Understand their concerns
One of the most effective ways to deal with people who have opinions contrary to your own is to try and see things from their perspective even if you don’t agree. If you can understand why they are feeling the way they are there is a chance you will come to agree and feel the same also.
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Although this is generally not the case, at least if you can see it from their viewpoint you will have a better idea of how to deal with them more effectively in a way that is congruent with their opinions. This can only be done by having a better understanding of why they feel the way they do.
It seems they feel that their only son will abandon them he spends more time with her family. So, to deal with their behavior based on this reasoning you can approach them and the situation in a way that is sympathetic with their feelings. Reassuring them that their son will not leave them by encouraging your daughter and son-in-law to spend some more time with them so that they feel confident that they will not be abandoned.
Unite the two families
Perhaps you could arrange an event where both sides of the family get together so that they can spend time with their son at the same time as your side of the family. It will also give them the chance to get to know your family and therefore feel more comfortable with your daughter spending time with them.
As they become comfortable with this and reassured that their son will not abandon them, they will become more at peace with them spending time with your family without placing any restrictions, in confidence that their son will continue to come and see them as always.
This might further improve relations generally between the families that they will stop making accusations of other family members also.
Find common grounds
When spending time with them, seek to find some common grounds, something like similar interests that you share. This can help create and maintain bonds. These bonds will create strength between the families and ease relations.
To begin with, perhaps they could come up with some kind of compromise whereby they agree that they will see her family on set days and likewise, they will spend time with them on set days also. This may seem a bit rigid to begin with, but it provides some reassurance. Their son will come and spend time with them on a given date so they can look forward to this and feel secure that he will be coming on this day, regardless of seeing your family at another date. As they get used to the routine and feel more confident that he is not leaving them, the schedule can be made less rigid and more relaxed and relations between the family ease up.
If, despite trying various avenues, the issue isn’t resolved, seek intervention from a third, mutual party within the community, such as the imam. This will provide you all with the opportunity to state your feelings and allow yourselves to be heard. This alone can be helpful because holding onto emotions for prolonged periods of time can only lead to further stress and arguments. Simply having the chance to say what needs to be said release this burden. The third party will also be able to provide mutual support and give advice based on having heard the two sides of the story.
When a couple marries, it is not unusual to face difficulties between the two families due to differing values. In this case, your daughter’s in-laws are preventing her from seeing her family. Of course, this is causing great distress to your family, but there are ways to manage this appropriately to overcome these difficulties, in sha Allah.
Approach the scenario tactfully so as not to interfere in your daughter’s marriage. Beyond this the importance of families ties can be maintained by understanding her in-laws’ behavior and dealing with them based on their concerns by doing things such as uniting the families in joint gatherings, finding common grounds and making some compromises.
Failing this, some kind of family intervention that allows all parties to have their say can be incredibly useful for all.
May Allah bring contentment and unity between the two families and guide everyone to behave in the way of Islam.
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