In this counseling answer:
In such situation, the counselor advises that the husband has a gentle conversation with his mother about how his wife feels hurt by her insulting words. The counselor further advises the brother to continue to make his wife feel special and loved while giving both his mother and his wife time away from each other.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh brother,
May Allah (swt) reward you for stepping up and taking the responsibility to help your wife during this difficult time. It is clear how much your wife means to you and you are very concerned about her state of health given how your own mother treats her. Your mother seems to be behaving very inappropriately towards her. Whilst you should always respect your mother, she is hurting your wife and this places you in a very difficult position.
You might begin by having a gentle word with your mother about how she is treating your wife. You say that any attempt at a conversation is blocked, even if it is not you that initiates the conversation so this may be difficult. If she is aware of why you are wanting to talk to her, it might be that she is anxious to hear what you have to say in anticipation that you might have something bad to say and maybe it will cause difficulties between the two of you and the family altogether.
Therefore, ensure to start any conversation in a gentle tone rather than an accusatory tone. Perhaps, let your words about this difficulty come after another conversation to ease any tension and lighten the mood before discussing this issue that might be difficult for both parties. Maybe she doesn’t realize exactly how much her behavior towards your wife is insulting her and making her feel depressed. If she doesn’t know this, she may continue to behave in this way.
You could let her know that you think your wife now sees her a mother figure since her own mother passed away recently. This might make her develop more motherly feelings towards her and therefore change her approach towards your wife.
At the same time, continue to make your wife feel special and loved in an attempt to counter the effects that the words of your mother are having on her. This way you can indirectly support her without discussing the underlying issue. However, if you feel you could talk to her directly about it, then you could do so too. Let her know that you are aware that your mother’s comments are hurting her and that you don’t agree with what your mother is saying. Ensure her that you understand why it’s making her so upset.
In addition to this, or as an alternative, if you don’t feel able to address the issue directly with your mother or wife, then you can organize family activities and events that will build family relations and, therefore, might improve relations with your wife and mother. This could be something as simple as having dinner together or going on an outing together.
It could be an option to ask your wife to step back from taking responsibility for your mother for a while to give your mother a chance to appreciate what your wife does and have the space to reflect on this. This, however, could cause obvious additional difficulties, so may not be the path to take depending on what you see would be the outcome in this situation.
However, what you could do is take your wife away on a short holiday (or longer if you like!). This will give you a chance to show your love and appreciate for your wife as well as giving her a temporary break away from your mother’s insults. At the same time, your mother will also have space away from your wife too to appreciate the good that she does for her every day.
May Allah (swt) continue to give you and your wife the strength and patience in these difficulties, and may He soften your mother’s heart towards your wife.
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