Intercultural Marriage: How Can I Get Along with My Husband’s Family?

03 January, 2019
Q Assalamualaikum.

I am a convert married to a Muslim man. Recently, I had a small conflicting talk with his aunt. I felt that she was very rude to me and made me feel small. I didn't respond to her since we don’t speak the same language. I speak French, and whenever I am with the family, they always speak in their language even though they know how to speak French.

I am not too bothered by it, but when I am with my husband and I speak to him in my language, I feel like they get offended; this is one of the things she told me. She said that she felt left out because she doesn’t understand what we say, even though she does the same.

Now I feel that she is more distant from me, which is understandable as it is her choice, we are all human after all. My husband is very close to all his family members, and I don't want to make him feel awkward, but his favorite aunts are the ones who don’t like me very much. I have tried becoming closer with them, but they don’t let me. I know that sometimes they ask him about me, which offends me at times because they shut me out when I try talking to them.

I feel left out not just because of the language barrier, but also because of their difficult personalities that make the distance feel bigger. I constantly feel like an outsider, even though I get along well with his parents and some of his family, but I cannot understand why the treatment of these two aunts makes me feel like I don’t belong with them, even if they don’t really mean it.

I have tried talking with the one I was most bothered by. She didn’t care much for what I had to say, and told me since I married my husband, I should be following his traditions. She is an incredibly righteous woman, I know that, and she is such an example to follow MashAllah. I feel so wronged by her. I know she is not a bad person. I just feel like it’s still going to be the same even if I learn the language.

Please advise me on what to do. Thank you.


Salam Aleikom,

In this counseling video, you will learn:

Talk to your husband and learn about behaviors of his culture; are they normal or not?

Analyze your own perceptions first of the situation

Ask your husband to help and intervene

It takes time for everyone to adjust to a new situation


Watch more:

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.

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. (