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Trouble with Mother-in-Law. Please Help!

I have been married to my wife for a little over a year. Since my marriage and even before my wife and I were married, my mother-in-law has been very critical, controlling, and even manipulative with me and my wife to a lesser extent. I think that my mother-in-laws dislike of me stems from my mother-in-law not entirely loving my wife. My wife is the middle child of three children and it is very apparent that my wife is the least favorite of all the children. So again, my mother-in-law definitely does not like me and even when I do specific things to try to please her she disregards it then soon forgets but seems to have a keen memory of all my wrongs.

Having said all this I still want to have a good relationship with my mother-in-law, she is my wife’s mother after all. But I don’t know how or if it’s even worth the effort. Please help! Has anyone else dealt with this situation? Any great suggestions?

 

I totally understand your situation, man. My mother-in-law and I have never had a great relationship. I thought that by treating my wife (her daughter) really well I would eventually win my mother-in-law over and we could have a good relationship. But nothing has changed in the 7 years I’ve been married. We don’t hate one another but we rarely speak at family events and when we do it is very rigid and forced. But maybe things will improve. We’ll see.

It's quite possible she is jealous of her daughter and that is why she is treated differently than her siblings. If her daughter is successful and has a loving spouse, maybe those are things she wanted for herself but never achieved. As far as I'm concerned you have two options: kill her with kindness (what can she say against you for that?) Or be direct and ask her if you've offended her in some way. The second way could very likely cause a rift in the family as your wife may have to literally choose between you and her mother. But in all reality, your wife should choose you hands down.

If you can let it go, let it go. If you can't let it go, discuss it with your wife and come up with a strategy to deal with your mother in law. Maybe your wife will be on board with having a sit down conversation as a family.

We've been blessed with great inlaws. My parents on the other hand were not so blessed. My dad's father would get in the middle of the projects my mom and dad were doing and tell them how it should be done. My mom finally had enough and calmly said to him "Dad, I know you're just trying to help us. But from now on be quiet and let us make our own mistakes." It worked wonders and they ended up having a closer relationship than he had with his own daughters...but he was a man. A woman probably isn't so easy.