Like I said a few weeks ago, I want to take a few posts to discuss some issues that cause problems in marriages. Last time, I wrote on Dealing With Addiction In marriage. You can read it here.
This week I write about in-laws… yes in-laws.
I do not know how it is in other continents, but in my continent Africa, In-Laws can be a very major issue. I have in my office, sat across men and women whose homes are being rocked by in-laws. I know this is largely because clear boundaries were not set from the beginning.
Some in-laws find it difficult to keep a healthy distance from their married relatives, they interfere in ways that are unreasonable, causing pain, unhappiness and distress for their relative’s spouse or the couple.
But I have heard terrible stories of what some have done.
A mother walks into her son’s home and wants to run the home. She wants to plan/cook meals, she wants to decide what school the children should attend, she wants to be in every discussion her son has with his spouse. She barges into the couple’s bedroom without warning or knocking. Some insist on being bought the exact same thing their son buys for his wife.
Some mothers also want to control their daughters from wherever they are. They insist they run their homes like they ran theirs, whether or not their marriages are successful. They want to know all that goes on in their daughters home, giving them counsel that goes against the agreement they have with their husbands.
Even though this is more common with mothers, some fathers are also harmful intruders. They think because they went through some stuff raising their child they should rule them even in marriage and this produces wrong words and actions that threaten their child’s marriage.
They disrespect their relative’s spouse, treat him/her like garbage. They become informants to the other family members, telling them everything going on in the home, destroying the image of their relative’s spouse and inciting other family members against their relative’s spouse.
Why do they do this?
- Some think they love their relative and know better how to love him/her than their spouse.
- Some cannot gain access into their relative’s purse and they blame it all on his/her spouse.
- Some are control freaks and must have things the way the want or perceive it should be.
- Some cannot deal with the kind of love they see between their relative and his/her spouse, something they wish they had but don’t.
- Some for whatever reason, do not like their relative’s spouse and do everything to let him/her know.
- Some are just ignorant of what their actions and inactions are doing to their relatives and their spouses.
How do we end this?
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:4-6 ESV
- First, we must recognise that our marriages and homes are second to no other relationship.
- We must refuse to let anyone or thing come between us.
- Couples must make up their minds not to allow any relative; mother, father, sister, brother or any other become a source of misery to them and their marriage.
- We must never take a stand with our relatives against our spouse in our relatives’ presence.
- There must be clear boundaries evident to our relatives as it touches our marriages and homes.
- We must cover up our spouse’s inadequacies while we work with them to be strengthened in such areas, instead of exposing them to our relatives.
And more importantly…
- We must refuse to see our in-laws as enemies.
- We must allow our love for God and our spouses flow out to them.
- We must never stop praying for them, our prayers can cause a change in them.
- We must make sure that we respect them and give them the honour due them.
- We must make sure that we are not causing them pain ourselves.
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 ESV
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 ESV
But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:44 NLT
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Luke 6:27
Love never fails… 1 Corinthians 13:8 AMP
I know some in-laws can be very difficult but with the right measures in place we can stop them from causing harm to our marital relationships, while we make sure we do not harbour hatred, unforgiveness, or vindictiveness in our hearts for them.
We can make and be the change in their lives!
Are you having in-law problems?
Did this help?
Copyright© Teshuva 2015
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