Recently on a talk show, there was a newlywed wife having issues with her husband’s relationship with his mother. Apparently, her husband spends endless hours on the phone with his mother who lives in another state. The wife described how he would not acknowledge her when he came in from work because he was on the phone with his mother. He would compare the wife’s cooking to his mother’s and even went as far as saying he asks his mother for advice before his wife. Who is to blame for the behavior? Is it the wife, the husband or the mother?
First, ladies we know enough about the character of a man before we marry him. Now either she didn’t care about the extreme closeness of her husband to his mother before they married or she thought he would change after they got married. Either way, she should have discussed her feelings before she entered into the marriage. If they discussed it, she could have made an educated decision to marry or not to marry.
Second, the husband knew that his wife should come before his mother, but did nothing to change his behavior. The husband felt obligated to maintain his relationship with his mother and simultaneously neglected his wife. He felt his mother was wise and a great source of information and guidance. He did not feel that he was doing anything wrong. After hearing his wife express her feelings, he broke down because he did not want to hurt his wife or mother.
Then, during the conversation, the mother knew she was spending too much time on the phone and skyping with her son. Her reaction was to invite the wife into their conversations. I thought that was a little selfish. I felt the mother laughed the matter off as if the wife’s feelings didn’t matter. It wasn’t until the end of the conversation that the mother acknowledged that her son needed to put his wife first and that she should not monopolize so much of his time.
I believe that parents need to cut the apron strings from their children when they are grown, especially after they are married. The only way to learn how to maintain a marriage is by learning by mistakes that happen in marriage. If advice from a parent is needed, a husband or wife should be able to seek wisdom from a parent. However, sharing everything in your marriage with a parent is not wise.
Lastly, there seems to be more wives with mother-in-law issues, but what about in-laws in general? What do you do when your wife is a daddy’s girl and spends too much time with him and even goes as far as comparing her husband to her father? Or what do you do when your spouse spends too much time with their sibling or cousin? I say bring it to your spouse’s attention immediately, but do it out of love.
BMWK – How would you handle the situation if your spouse spends more time with a family member than with you?