My Husband’s Sick Mom is Destroying Our Marriage. What Should I Do?

BY: - 15 Aug '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My husband and I have been married for five years. Recently, I left our home that we have shared for the last seven years. His mother is living there now that she is ill, but she has been saying hurtful things to me which caused me to leave for the last month. My husband allowed her to say those things to me and never said anything about it. This has happened on more than one occasion. I have thought about going back to make the marriage work. I am told that I am crazy to go back to that. Honestly, when my husband’s mother wasn’t there, we had good times. My Husband’s ill Mother is Destroying our Marriage. What Should I Do?

Sad Wife,

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Sad Wife,

I would like to begin by saying that a son-mother relationship is very complex. For most boys, their mothers are their first love. The term “Mama’s Boy” was derived from the perceived notion that some men are incapable of living their lives outside of their mother’s control or influence. Unfortunately, I have interacted with a larger percentage of black men who struggle with balancing respect and love between their wives and their mothers.

I believe this occurs because 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock and their single mothers raise most of them. Also, a man who lacks respect for his wife and the ability to honor her has not been properly educated or trained from a Biblical perspective. Ephesians 5:25 states, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave his life for her” and Genesis 2:24 states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Express empathy and sympathy and let him know that you need him just as much as his mother

I believe that your husband could benefit from both some secular and spiritual counseling. Secular counseling could help him deal with his mother’s illness and marital challenges. Spiritual counseling could help him learn how to place you at the center of his life. I believe that you should speak with your husband about seeking both.

Also, I would encourage you not to compare yourself to his mother. As I mentioned, a boy’s first love is his mother, and learning how to love another woman without taking away from that relationship can be challenging. Instead of comparing yourself to his mother, try to see his relationship with her through his lens.

The most effective way to bond with someone is to express forgiveness and understanding. He might not know how to confront his mother and feels trapped. If you want him to put you first, you have to put him first. Although the Bible tells us that man and woman become one flesh after marriage, many still believe that blood is thicker than water. Express empathy and sympathy and let him know that you need him just as much as his mother; but do not compare or nag him. I repeat…do not compare or nag him.

I am not sure if you had a good relationship with your husband’s mother prior to her illness, but if you did not please, be mindful that emotional or physical distress typically intensifies negative relationships. Also, do not let anyone tell you that you are crazy for wanting to fight for your marriage. If you want to save your marriage from being destroyed, please get some professional help. I agree that you do not deserve to be emotionally abused by your husband’s mother, but I do not believe that you should throw in the towel without getting help. A family therapist can help you all work through adversity and restore peace and harmony.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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Too Comfortable? 5 Ways to Breathe Life into Your Dull Marriage

BY: - 16 Aug '17 | Marriage

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By: Dr. George James

Has your relationship lost its spark? Maybe you and your partner have become too comfortable with each other and you don’t make the effort anymore.  The good thing is that this is a normal phase in every relationship.  The bad thing is, if you allow your relationship to get stuck in this phase, you could either see the end of your love partnership or at best be in a passion-less relationship.

One solution to reviving the spark in your relationship and rebuilding the connection between you and your partner is a regular date night.  When you first met, you most likely went out on multiple dates.  These dates allowed you to grow closer, get to know each other, have fun and gave you opportunities to express your passion.

Over time, you stopped going out with each other, which means you stopped getting to know each other, stopped having as much fun, and stopped expressing your passion with each other.  You became too comfortable and stopped trying.  It’s not too late to change this. You can go on a date night tonight.  Today is the day that you can go from not really knowing each other anymore to having fun again.

 5 Common Sense Tips to Help Bring Life to a Dull Marriage

      1. Don’t Get Too Comfortable – It’s easy to eventually stop paying attention to your partner. You become more focused on yourself and less on your partner.  The more this happens, distance increases between the two of you and you settle. You get Too Comfortable.  Don’t let this happen. Work hard to stay connected and enjoy your relationship.
      2. Turn the TV, Phone & Tablet Off – We are all plugged in. We see every text, tweet, email and the latest show.  We stream, post and snap.  Unfortunately being tuned in to everything can sometimes keep us from being present with our partner.  Sometimes we have to go off the grid so that we can stay focused on the person we love.  Try it today.  Turn the tv, phone and tablet off and spend time with your partner.
      3. Make Time for Date Night – Do you have a regular Date Night? If not, you should start this week.  The goal is to set time aside to go on a date you’re your partner every week or every other week.  The date does not have to be expensive or out of the house.  You just need to have a dedicated day and time for you both to connect with each other. Look at your calendars and set a day & time today.
      4. Not Sure What To Do? Here are Some Date Night Ideas – Maybe you have the time to go on a date but you are not sure what to do or what to say. Doing nothing can feel like the best thing to do. But doing nothing increases the distance, boredom and monotony.  Best way to solve this is to get help. Click Here to Download the FREE BMWK “111 Fun Date Night Ideas” Guide
      5. Grow Together, Instead of Apart – When you become too comfortable in your relationship it can become easier to devalue your partner. As a result, distance increases and you find yourself growing apart from the person you love. Make the commitment today to stop the distance, spend time with your partner and grow together.

Too Comfortable, the sixth episode, of the new web series Funny Married Stuff highlights the dynamic mentioned above as a couple uses a humorous approach to discuss what it takes to not fall into the trap of being too comfortable.  This couple shows that they are willing to do what it takes to keep it fresh and keep the spark alive.

Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation as the couple in the episode or you relate to the example above.  Here are some steps you can take to discuss how to maintain your connection and keep the spark alive.  Date nights are essential in helping couples to feel like romantic partners instead of business partners.

For more episodes and information about Funny Married Stuff go to and

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1255 articles on this blog.

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