I Struggle with My Mother-in-Law

20 September, 2020
Q I'm from Pakistan.

I have been married for 5 years. My husband has 2 more brothers. My mother-in-law is my aunty who loves her other sons and the grandchildren.

My main problem is with my mother-in-law who thinks I'm not capable of taking care of his son, my husband. I can't do anything; she thinks I'm stupid.

Mother-in-law loves her other sons and their kids more. My husband also feels that his mother never gets happy with him. She doesn’t even like that his son (my husband) has a store while the others don't have.

He has a good salary. But my sister-in-law always complains to my mother-in-law that they have 3 kids and so many expenses. So, mother-in-law thinks we are making so much money.

She also works and gives my sister-in-laws money, but she never gives us. She gets jealous of us, I don't know why, but I feel like it. She treats us different from her other sons’family.

Answer


In this counseling session:

  • In some cultures, it is common for women to get into the state of competition with the arrival of a daughter-in-law. They fear of sharing their child with someone else and of being ruled and controlled by a new member.
  • It takes patience and understanding to create a bond with your mother-in-law. Sit with her and ask her the reason as to why is she not content with you.
  • Try spending some time with her. When people turn old, they demand attention and love from their family members.
  • Instead of asking and expecting from your mother-in-law, it is your husband’s duty to take care of the financial matters along with his brothers.
  • Your concerns show that there is little family time. Try working on that by going on dinners or picnics once in a while so that love and unity is developed amongst the member.
  • Be patient and communicate with your family to rule out any misunderstandings. Be willing to give more and spread love. In every action, trust Allah (swt) and seek His (swt) help. In sha’Allah, things will soon settle.

Dear sister,

Marriage is a beautiful phenomenon that comes with a number of issues. Talking about the Pakistani society where the concept of joint family is very familiar, problems arise between different members of the family.

While looking at your case, it may be important for you to scrutinize the scenario. Parents never hate their children, and kids must treat them well. Abu Huraira reported that a person said:

Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).” (Muslim, 2548 b)

Fear

You say your mother-in-law treats you and your husband differently. Is your mother-in-law doing injustice with your husband because he is giving you more attention and love and neglecting the rights towards his parents?

I Struggle with My Mother-in-Law - About Islam

It is common for women to get into the state of competition with the arrival of a daughter-in-law. They fear of sharing their child with someone else and of being ruled and controlled by a new member.

Bonding

It takes patience and understanding to create a bond with your mother-in-law. Sit with her and ask her the reason as to why is she not content with you. Get to know about her expectations and see where you, stand and then sort it out.

For instance, she might want you to cook lunch and dinner and do other household chores. If that is not possible for you, try reaching common grounds. Tell her that maybe you and the other daughter-in-law (jhetani) can distribute work and take turns.

Respect

Don’t be abrupt or aggressive. You need to respect her as she is your elder as well as your husband’s mother. Try spending some time with her. When people turn old, they demand attention and love from their family members.

Also, since she is working, it is the workload and routine that makes her tired. But little gestures can earn you a good place in the family. For instance, offering a glass of water when she comes from work or ironing her clothes some day can bring a wide smile on her face. Little things matter a lot. Do that!


Check out this counseling video:


Competition

Don’t compete with your brother-in-law’s wife. You are cousins. Little jealousy is common, but if that results in a rude behavior, talk to her and tell her that nobody deserves that. Maybe she is unhappy with your behavior and, hence, reciprocating the same.

If things don’t settle, talk to your mother-in-law. If it still persists, maybe you can show more love to her and gain it in return. The last option is to interact less if things don’t seem to settle.

Finances

Talking about the financial issues, it is the duty of the kids towards their parents. So, instead of asking and expecting from your mother-in-law, it is your husband’s duty to take care of the financial matters along with his brothers.

The Prophet (saw) said, “A man’s spending on his family is a deed of charity.” (Bukhari 4006)

You can divide the expenses as everything is becoming too pricy these days. It takes intense hardwork to earn a penny. For instance, kitchen expenses can be taken care of by your husband and the bills can be paid by his brother. The eldest must also contribute.

This has to be done with everyone’s mutual consent and understanding. This includes your husband, his brothers, and their mother. In addition, try not interfering in what your husband does for his mother. Since your needs are being satisfied, you must not inquire or comment about your husband’s contribution at home.

If things still deteroriate, then maybe one family can move out. This, however, does not mean that the kids won’t have any duty towards their mother. They are bound to. It is said in the Quran,

“And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” (31:14)

Communicate wisely

Ups and downs are a part of every family. They need to be resolved with great care and consideration. Communication and diplomacy is the key. If your mother-in-law is unhappy with you, talk to her. Understand her expectations and see where you stand.

There are times when people do things out of good will and they are misunderstood. For this reason, you must develop a strong bond with her by spending time and doing things to the optimum.

At the same time, you must also tell your husband to spend time with his mother and see as to why does he think that he is not treated in a good manner. Maybe his mother wants him to take more responsibilities, but he is not doing that as compared to her other son. That could be a reason for her coldness. This does not mean that she loves your husband any less. After all, she is his mother.

Your concerns show that there is little family time. Try working on that by going on dinners or picnics once in a while so that love and unity is developed amongst the member. This is important as every famiy comes out as a unit. It should not be empty at the centre, allowing any outsider to dismantle it.

Conclusion

Dear sister, place your faith in Allah (swt). Pray for love between the family members and also pray for sustenance. Islam provides a number of ways to increase sustenance.

Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger () said: „He who likes that his sustenance should be expanded and his age may be lengthened should join the tie of kinship.” (Muslim 2557 b)

Therefore, be patient and communicate with your family to rule out any misunderstandings. Be willing to give more and spread love. In every action, trust Allah (swt) and seek His (swt) help. In sha’Allah, things will soon settle.

Allah Hafiz,

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