Last week we dealt with the key fundamentals that will aid in ensuring civility and cordiality with our in laws. We touched on the need to lay the right foundations early in our marriages, building trust, understanding backgrounds and root issues, building friendship with our spouses and paying the debt of love that we owe…yes you heard me right…the debt of love that we owe all mankind, in laws inclusive.
As usual, the feedback was great, but one of the responses I got, jolted me so badly, I requested to have a free session with the sender. Some in laws can be pretty nasty! Some don’t even give the incoming bride a chance at all. Opinions are formed from a distance and in some cases, from hearsay or narratives of a mischievous family member.
I have heard stories of mothers in law who slap or even beat their daughters in law and are cheered on or even joined by the husbands of the assaulted ladies. I have heard and seen verbal insults being heaped on ladies whose only crime is that they did not have the good sense to evaluate their suitors and their families of origin before walking down the aisle…
When your in laws are being outrightly nasty and ‘unreasonable’ in spite of your careful consideration and proactive reactions to issues highlighted in last week’s post, what do you do? When your patience has been stressed and endurance just about snapping?, just what is a woman expected to do?
- Research and investigate their belief system. You will be shocked at the things you will discover. Layers upon layers of bitterness, customary or cultural perpetration of wickedness against the female gender, lack of social exposure and open mindedness in spite of educational achievements and geographical location. Some live in the liberal western world, yet they hold their women folk in disdain and are disrespectful to them. You will find deep insecurities and an enslaving mindset.What these discoveries do for you is that they make you realise they are victims and prisoners of a limiting culture, slaves who are unaware that freedom beckons and is possible if only they can renew their minds. That way, you are able to have pity for them and not position or see yourself as a victim for that will indeed make you one.
- Do all you can to insulate your marriage from the toxicity associated with their involvement in your affairs. Since they are close relatives and you cannot singlehandedly banish them to a snake infested island…lol, you will need to manage your relationship with them and the best way to go about this is to build friendship with your man. Cultivate a chummy relationship. Invest in your relationship with him in all spheres such that you become more valuable to him than they are. This is very possible and if you need help in this regard, then reach out to me. When your relationship with your man is intact, their influence will automatically be whittled. When they notice that, be prepared for you will most likely be labelled a witch or one that is actively using voodoo and other diabolical means to exercise control over her husband…old story that is. You and I know better…wink* wink*
- You may consider the option of loving them from afar. Everyone, even animals have enough sense to run away from the source of their pain. If you have unrepentantly wicked in laws, you may reduce your physical interactions to the barest minimum. This does not mean you shouldn’t keep in touch. Leverage on technology. Ask after them, send gifts and be a blessing to them. It may even be that the hostility being experienced is as a result of too much interaction. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder… And just before you wonder if it is Christian like to take on this posture, the good book says in two different places, and I believe it is for emphasis that a prudent (man or woman) foresees evil and hides himself (or herself) , but the simple pass on and are punished. Proverbs 22:3 and Proverbs 27:12
- Add value to yourself! Don’t sit on the same spot singing the song of victimisation or gender discrimination. Go ahead and achieve either in your career, business or passion. I can assure you that as an accomplished woman, your in laws will be the ones courting your favour. When you are an active contributor to the family economy, your husband will rise faster to your defence if it appears like there is an attempt by any left legged in law to intimidate you…lol
- Finally, the best way to handle hostile in laws is to be a graceful and gracious in law. Mirror the behaviour you desire to those with whom you also relate, either as an in law or in other capacities such as colleague, boss, church member etc. Bring your children up to respect and value women. Teach your sons to defend their wives and not to enslave them. Bring your daughters up to be confident, having a high sense of worth and being courageous to not settle for less, culture notwithstanding. That way, we can collectively build a society in which there will be justice and equality.
This brings us to the end of this particular series on in-law relations. Please feel free to add to the list up here. Share your experience and be on the lookout for our next physical gist session that holds in May, 2018. The gist topic will be ‘in law relations’ and we will be trading stories and discussing the practical application of these tips. Expect my invite soon!
Let’s walk it together…