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How to handle relationships between the mother in law and the wife of the husband.

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  • How to handle relationships between the mother in law and the wife of the husband.

    Hi, I am a mother in law, and I noticed I have the habit of being mean to my son's wife. I do it to make sure that she is aware of her place, so that she isn't arrogant and mean to my son. Although I do realize that in doing so I am protecting my son, I am being mean to my son's wife, who is a person just the same. Also, I realized that an ulterior motive for me doing so is I want to feel better about helping my son, which in afterthought does seem kind of like a selfish reason for doing so.

    Upon realizing this, I thought about an alternative method to make sure my son's wife is nice to my son. I could ask her nicely if she could be nice to my son for me, and give him some of the room he needs. This way, I would not be rude to my son's wife, and I would also feel better. Then, I think it would be fortunate so that when my son and his wife are with me, my son's wife would positively pay attention to being nice and we would all be happy. When my son and his wife are away from me, I obviously don't want to burden my son's wife to think about me when being nice to my son, as this would be a bit off for her and also may affect a little bit my son's wife's love for him. However, I think by telling her this, she unconsciously may realize a bit that she needs to be nice to my son, and so even when they're away I may be helping them a bit, and if we an honest friendly relationship this would only make her nicer to my son.

  • You might consider giving your son and DiL space to manage their own marriage. Has your son asked you to intervene in his marriage? If he hasn’t, it’s best to myob.


    • Welcome to WH Interactive Forums. Being mean to your son's wife is not going to endear you to her. Creating an adversarial relationship is not the way to make an enduring relationship. In fact, being mean could be one of the reasons for a divorce. If your son is old enough to marry, he is old enough to create the conditions for a good marriage. Interference in the relationship by the mother in law is one of the common complaints of the wife. The husband and the wife have to set their own boundaries in the relationship. Maybe a better way would to become friends with his wife. That could include teaching her how to make the foods your son likes and it could include going shopping together to learn what she likes as well as letting her see what you like. Do these things without being condescending or critical.
      I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
      Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

      From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia



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