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Dear Wife, About your Mother-in-Law….

Dear Wife,

Truth is, even before you met your mother-in-law (MIL), you already had a wrong mind-set about an ideal MIL. The many stories you have heard- the stories your mum told you of your grandmother, some that you witnessed and the many home videos you watched that mostly cast MILs as evil ogres- have influenced your perception.

So before you met her, you'd already judged her, had reservations and now it seems she is no different from the evil MIL portrayed everywhere.Let me share a few thoughts with you:

1.   Get rid of the wrong mind-set: Being a MIL doesn’t mean the person has to be evil; every mother will be a MIL someday and that includes you. Yes, some people are difficult but it’s not being a MIL that makes them difficult.

Don’t relate with her based on the experiences of others or perceive her through the lens of Nollywood stereotypes.  Stop suspecting her every move or suspecting her to be a witch. Stop thinking she is responsible for whatever is happens to you. When you expect evil from a person, you tend to close your eyes to the good in them.  Believe and expect the best for her. That will reflect in your attitude towards her.

2.   Accept her as your Mum:  If truly you and your husband are one, then she is your mum as well. Treat her as your mum: with love, care and respect. Treat her the way you would love to be treated by your children’s spouses. Even in your thoughts, be kind to her and show her true affection. Extend the love you have for your husband to her. Call her Mummy with affection, hug her and hold her hand. Buy her gifts when you can. Let her know she is fondly thought of. Remember her birthday and make a huge show of love during Christmas and other festive seasons.

3.   Strive to understand her. Like anyone else you will ever meet, you will need to understand her. Get to know her, her perception, her likes and dislikes, even as she also gets to know you. There may be disagreements or difference of opinion, know that this is normal and she is not “out to get you” or being “difficult”. If you do discover that she is being deliberately antagonistic, do your best to avoid situations that may lead to conflicts (Yes, I know it's easier said than done but it has to be done).

4.   Forgive her 70* 7 times: No relationship can thrive without forgiveness, she will definitely offend you time and time again. Be prepared to forgive her as many times, not only for her sake, but even more for your own sake. Don’t allow grudges develop into bitterness, forgive her whether she asks for it, deserves it or not. Forgive her so you can move on in the relationship. You will also offend her so know that to err is human. If it’s something you feel strongly about, talk it over with her when you are calm and do so in a respectable manner.

5.  Allow her enjoy her son and grandchildren: Don’t monopolize your husband or the children. Yes, there must be a balance but don’t make her feel like an outsider. While she doesn’t necessary have to live with you, allow her visit, allow your husband call her often, call her often and allow her speak to her grandchildren. Allow her spoil her grandkids sometimes, hat’s what Grandmas are for! Allow them bond and have a good relationship with their grandma. Remember it will be your turn someday….

6.  Learn from Her: I know times have changed and we have Google but you can still learn a thing or two from her. Listen to her stories. If she has raised a man good enough for you to marry, then there is probably some value she has to offer. Ask her to teach you something you know she is good at: a meal, a skill, etc. Encourage your kids to also learn from her: stories, songs, etc. Make her feel valued and wanted.

7.  Maintain Boundaries- Boundaries are very important in every relationship and this is no exception. Love and respect her, and strive to be the best you can be but don’t undermine your happiness and self-respect to do so. Don’t compromise your values or things that matter to you. Be firm if necessary but with love and respect. You both have different roles in your husband’s life, don’t strive to take her place and neither give up your place for her or anyone else!

All MILs are simply mothers like you and me. Our MILs were raised in a different generation with different views about life. While we do have some very evil and vindictive MILs, most are simply misunderstood and unappreciated.

Take the high road in developing a good relationship or mending your broken one. Change your mind-set, look out for the good in her, shower her with love and backup with prayers. Stop suspecting her unnecessarily, let her be assured she has a place in the family and don’t edge her out. Even if she continues to be difficult, know you are sowing the seed of love you will reap in your own son/daughter-in-law.

If you belong to class of those praying daily for their MIL to die then be sure to remember to make arrangements for your own casket once your kids get to marriageable age because karma is coming for you. We are all potential MILs, lets treat our MILs the way we desire to be treated.

Let's create room for everyone!

Do you have a tip on being a great daughter-in-love? Do share….


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