The ‘in-law’. A word that can drive fear and frustration in the heart of even the most confident individual. Everyone wants to get along with their in-laws but this is not always possible and when they becoming interfering, it can test the foundation and bonds of even the most loving relationships.
We have all heard the horror stories of what happens when parent do not know how to let go of their grown ‘babies’; when mamma boys run home to mamma to complain about their spouses; when fathers do not think any man is good enough for their little girls and when a mother-in-law aka ‘dragon-zilla’ vehemently gives her opinion on the suitability of the relationship.
I have searched high and low for the most common yet interesting red flags or warning signs that you may indeed be in trouble with those meddling in-laws as some parents’ interference is slight and subtle, while others have almost declared war on your relationship. Now take a deep breath and read slowly.
His mother checks to ensure that his white shirts are still white! Not beige, not eggshell and certainly not gray. No, madam has stated that her only son must have white shirts for work so you have better get to it with blue soap and sun to keep them pearly to her specification.
Your father refers to your husband as ‘de boy him’. Yes it happens. To look at a grown man and reduce him to the level of ‘boy’ speaks to the utter contempt he has for your spouse. Can you imagine the glares and hissed teeth at that family Christmas dinner when the father tries to sit at the head of the table?!
The children must call them Mrs. or Mr. so-so, not grandma or grandpa! Because you have watered down the gene pool, they are not readily interested in embracing your offsprings.
When your mother-in-law comes to visit, she runs her hand over your furniture, checking for dust. Now how dusty your house is, is really none of her business but apparently the level of dirt confirms to her if you can ‘keep house properly’ or not.
His mother constantly questions how you raise and discipline your children, disagreeing with almost everything you do. Overnight she has become ‘Doctor Ruth’ and is not only a pseudo paediatrician but a child psychologist as well.
His mother pokes him in the ribs in front of you and exclaims “Lawd you get mawga since you lef from under me care”. The insinuation is that you are not feeding him adequately and he is wasting away as you and your stove are evidently in malice!
His mother comes by uninvited very often and stays as long as she wants. Next thing she will be asking for a key.
Your father-in-law takes his daughter shopping for furniture and accents pieces for your home. He goes ahead and picks out the stuff without consulting you on your taste or preference on any of the items that will decorate or take up space in your home.
Your husband goes home daily to eat his mother’s cooking before coming home to yours! Yup, that is tantamount to one nail in the proverbial coffin!
Your parents refuse to come to your house, sit down at any family gathering or even acknowledge your spouse as long as you are with them! Yup, it cannot get any worse than that. You may as well surrender.
At this time you will have to decide if you will cling to your partner or give up on your relationship as you cannot make both parties happy. Parents need to know that no matter how much they intervene, in western society, children are free to love who they want as pre-arranged marriages are a thing of the past. While they can advise when they see traits they do not like, the ultimate decision is not theirs to make. If they love you unconditionally, they will learn to at least be civil and not antagonistic towards your spouse and if they are not willing to do that, you may very well have to love your parents….from a distance.