I am a 25-year-old newly-wed bride. Mine was a love match, and I am very happy with my husband. My problem is the over jealous attitude of my mother-in-law. From the time my husband gets up she wants him to keep away from me. I cannot even have breakfast with him because my mother-in-law told me that he always takes his breakfast with her and his father. When he comes home from work (yes, he has to go daily as he is a banker) he goes straight away to his parents’ room and spends an hour with them. The dinner is taken by the whole family in the dining room and by the time the kitchen is winded up it’s almost always past 10 o clock! My husband is tired by this time, and has to get up early in the morning, so we don’t have much time to talk. On weekends, his married sisters come over and my husband and his elder brothers have to give them company. I have been patiently waiting for my mother-in-law to relax her hold on my hubby, but this is getting on my nerves and I don’t think anything will change as my husband’s older brothers who have been married for a lot longer than me, also follow the same set routine. I talked to my sisters-in-law and they said they also resent the way their husbands leave them and go to their parents’ room every day, but since they cannot say anything as one of them is my mother-in-law’s niece and the other one is the daughter of a cousin of my father-in-law. One has been married for six years, and the other for four. When I think about this situation, I feel depressed. I cannot go on like this as I don’t have that much sabr (patience). Why do parents-in-law behave so heartlessly that the wives of their son want them gone to Allah? Am I wicked because I want them out of my life so I can have a life too? I feel angry and upset. I have tried to talk to my husband, and he said that he has to follow the tradition of his house. His brothers, who have been married for a longer time than us, still follow the routine and he cannot rebel. I feel hopeless. My parents-in-law have so much influence over their sons that as long as they are alive, I will not enjoy the companionship of my husband. What should I do?
Dear Unhappy Bride,
I understand your frustration and honestly feel for you. The attitude of your parents-in-law is very unreasonable and mean, and you are rightfully angry and upset. But, my dear, don’t give up. You have a right to be with your husband and spend time with him, and the same goes for your sisters-in-law. Since you cannot stop your husband from going to his parents’ room daily, what you can do is to try and convince your sisters-in-law to go with you to the ‘headquarters’ with some soft drink and tea, if not daily may be once or twice a week initially. Surely they won’t be able to turn you out, especially if you tell them that you all want to spend quality time with your parents-in-law and husbands, and kids (if they have children?). Start doing it once a week and gradually increase the number of days. If all three cannot go at the same time, at least those who are free should. Make it a celebration sort of a thing, take pics of the ‘happy family’ and send to your sisters-in-law as well. If you are smart about it, it will work. Your parents-in-law can hardly object if the daughters-in-law want to join them for drinks or tea. Be gracious and happy, and things will change for better, hopefully. Confrontation is distasteful, so avoid it. Honey always works better than vinegar where relationships are concerned. And, lastly, don’t want or pray anyone gone to their Maker. Pray for things to get better, and work sincerely towards that goal. I agree, parents-in-law should not behave in such a bad way, but life is the most precious gift of God, and praying for someone’s death will only make Him angry. Good luck!