Outlawing the In-laws

I sincerely mean no harm ladies! Do not get me wrong. In laws are not criminals or fugitives, but if we are going to be honest and honest we always are at wivesalert, they sure do rub us off on the wrong side. Their actions and inactions are capable of driving a wedge between an otherwise cosy and loving marital relationship.

In marriage generally, we deal with a huge number of third parties. Colleagues at work, neighbours at home, fellow parents at the children’s school, old school mates, family members in their scores and the list is endless. You will agree with me that a large number of these interaction partners are unpredictable and can be erratic. Some are pretty nice and some outright nasty. We however relate with them and move on without transporting the effects and consequences of their actions into our relationship with our spouses and turning them to good reasons for animosity and misunderstandings. At best, we relay the events and analyse our interactions basically for the purpose of sharing information and seeking advice.
There is however usually a magical and dramatic twist when the interaction partner happens to be an in-law. The words spoken always actually mean more than was said, innuendos must be read, body language interpreted to the minutest detail and attitudes microscopically analysed. A seemingly simple and harmless statement may end up being a proverb and the ripple effect of the words, deeds and omissions have destroyed many homes and brought many a woman great misery.

The big question is who are these species of human beings called in laws? Loosely defined, they are the biological relations of your spouse. His father, mother, brothers and sisters and in many instances by extension, aunties, nephews and nieces. These species actually exist in an interwoven or intra linking web that is complex enough to include everyone in the society. Everyone at the end of the day is an in law to somebody. You and I inclusive! So you see, they really are no special breed with some mean tendencies and a liquid of a quality far less than blood flowing in their veins. They are simply put just like you and I and are in reality you and I!
If the above is true, then why should they be outlawed? The intention is to make you realize that while you may not be able to banish them to a snake infested remote island like you’ve secretly wished for, you can succeed in ensuring that the effects of their acts or omissions are put under restriction as far as your emotions are concerned and of course your home, marriage or love relationship. You can choose to exclude them not in person or by way of physical exclusion but you can put at bay the negative effects of your interactions with them.
If you search deep within, you will realize that the reason you are critical of them and less tolerant of them is just because you realize you are a victim of societal and cultural expectations that promote gender inequality and cruelty to women even in the twenty first century. You subconsciously rebel against a culture that tells you to be courteous, respectful and accommodating to in laws while telling you it is okay or at least permissible for them to be condescending and downright rude to you. You rebel and subconsciously lash out at the representatives of this repression who also happen to be dear relatives of the one who is supposed to be dearest to you.

Taking it further, you can change your mindset and see them as the products of an unfair culture, victims of a vicious cycle that they are not courageous enough to break out of. They become the victims once you make up your mind to read the situation the way it actually is. The minute you become courageous to come out of the circle and to break the vicious cycle, then the tables get turned and they, the in laws become the victims! You can then decide not to react to them but to be proactive in your dealings with them. You can choose to be you by stepping up and treating them as human beings, even as friends and not in laws. That way, you will be able to make up your mind to do right even when they do wrong. You can choose not to be less of who you are because somebody or some people have refused to be who they should be. That way, even when they do wrong, your emotions are not toyed with.

You can therefore go right ahead of the negative emotions and outlaw the effects. You set up a barricade and ensure that your in law’s actions or omissions do not negatively interfere with the bond you have with your man.

Easier said than done, I hear someone sigh and whisper. Be rest assured that we will break this down further and discuss in detail and in very practical terms what I call “the psychology of in law relations”, how to ride the tides, play the politics and come out tops with your guy in tow!

Photo Credit: Ruin Raider via Compfight cc

Bisi Adebayo
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Bisi Adebayo

I am Bisi Adebayo, a dynamic woman of many parts. I am a lawyer with over 27 years’ work experience spanning maritime practice, commercial law and general practice. I have had a decade long foray into the Financial Services Industry and at various times oversaw the legal, marketing, credit and treasury (assets trading and intermediation) functions of the organization I worked for, a testament to my versatility.

4 thoughts on “Outlawing the In-laws

  • February 15, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    . Inlaw relationship is a true test of agape love. If you want to know you manifest that fruit of the Spirit called love, see the way you treat your in laws. Most women secretly wish their husbands fall from heaven, but will run away from a guy who claims so. (Lol)

    Nice piece, I am looking forward to read more about this topic.

  • March 12, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Sounds interesting… Waiting patiently.

  • March 12, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I’m afraid I find this an unbalanced and critical analysis of the situation, which in my opinion serves to promote the repressive culture you have referred to. To assume that all it takes is being ‘proactive’ and ‘positive’ is a bit condescending and unfair to people with real life situations beyond this mundane description. Truth Is, there are vicious humans who choose to act viciously towards others- it’s always a choice on the part of both the spouse and the in-laws, male or female. So it just doesn’t cut it for me to hear platitudes that make trivialize real life experiences and put it down to ‘mindset or ‘culture or ‘rebellion’. I’m sorry. I think the conversation can be more realistic. #MyOpinion

  • March 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    The funny thing about in law relations is that the things we complain about in our in laws are the things others complain about in us in reversed roles (even though we imagine we are sweet and nice). The truth is, if we see our in laws as our mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts etc, the stories may be different. Often times we make excuses for “our own”, and easily overlook or forgive them, while we over analyse and dissect the actions and inactions of in laws. I quite agree there are a few naughty people who are just difficult to flow with, even if you pull out your eyes for them. Nevertheless, I believe that when we make up our minds and are willing to get the best out of our in law relations, we can actually do it. Everybody has a price, find out what makes them tick and pray for grace to just “DO IT”.


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