Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I’ve been married for four years now. Both my husband and I have been in and out of work, and as a result we lost our home. We moved in with my single, elderly mother. I eventually got a job and my mother told my husband he had to get a job soon or leave her home. Unfortunately, he did not find a job and now resides with his mother. His family has never liked me (might I add.)
I’ve been working for about 4 months now and pay my mother rent for our daughter and me. Our living arrangement is not ideal and my husband doesn’t feel comfortable coming to visit because of the way my mother speaks to him. My mother is a Christian woman who is involved in church and is always making comments at church and on social media about husbands who cannot provide. I understand what my husband’s role is, but I just don’t think I should leave him because he cannot provide at this moment. I vowed for better and for worse and richer and poorer. My Mother is Negatively Impacting My Marriage, what should I Do?
Signed, In Love and confused.
Dear In Love and Confused,
Dealing with a negative parent and/or in-law can be difficult. We do not expect individuals who love us, to hurt us. Your mother’s views about your husband may be rooted in personal issues that have historical significance to her. Seek to understand her needs as a mother. Understanding the reasoning behind her behavior might make it easier to deal with. You can love your mother without feeding into her negativity. Here are a few suggestions.
Have a come to Jesus talk with your mother. Sometimes we need to share our truths with the ones we love. Don’t be rude or disrespectful, but let your mother know that you will not give up on your husband and will support him through good and bad. In a loving and compassionate manner, tell her that your marriage is your number one priority and ask her to respect your marriage. Tell her that she does not have to like your husband, but remind her of the importance of living by the Golden Rule.
Don’t reinforce or engage in negative conversations. If you mother makes negative comments about your husband, simply refuse to engage in negative chitchat. Let your mother know that you love and support your husband no matter what situation he is in. Ignore negative comments and do not give life to them.
As difficult as this might sound, your loyalty needs to be with your husband.
Share with your husband and support to him. Let your husband know that you do not approve of your mother’s behavior. Encourage him to share his feelings with you so that you can support him. This is important because your husband needs to know that you are for him and not against him.
Develop a plan with your husband to get out of your mother’s home immediately. You are entitled to a peaceful marriage and life. Sit down with your husband and devise a plan to get from under your mother’s roof. Some people feel that they can say and do as they please in their personal space.
Your psychological wellbeing and marriage is important and should be your focus. However, keep in mind that your mother is probably acting negatively because she wants what is best for you. But this does not excuse her behavior towards your husband. As difficult as this might sound, your loyalty needs to be with your husband. You and your husband need to work as team to address your mother’s negativity and to overcome your financial hardship.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to [email protected]
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.