Marriage, troubkes and in-laws

Lately our marriage has been in troubled waters. About one year ago we became parents of our beautiful daughter but the stress to get used to our new life as a family and some worries about the job/financial situation created a lot of tension. In this period so delicate for our life my in-laws are adding to it more grief. My mother in law is crazy about my daughter, with a short notice she comes to visit us and stays for at least one week every month; I know she means well and she wants to help but she often ends up interfering with my role as wife and mother and I feel all the time under scrutiny. Moreover during a fight a while ago she suggested my husband to divorce me; my husband took my defense but I think that suggestion brought some poison in our marriage. On the other end my stepfather in-law saw my daughter only few days after birth and since then he never asked about her or visited us and he is giving me the silent treatment. Tonight I feel so tired, I still love my husband and I think he still loves me and I want us to be together and be good parents for our daughter but I don’t see how. It is hard to keep rowing when others are rocking the boat!! I Don’t know what to do, I try to be loving and patient with my husband and daughter, polite and apologetic with my mother in law and nonchalant with my stepfather in-law but every day I feel I die a little inside. Prayers and suggestions welcome.

Have you discussed with your husband how you feel about these visits his mother makes? I would suggest bringing it up respectfully, asking him for advice on how to handle it.

I don’t have any other advice, but I will pray for you. :gopray2:

Yes I did and he tried to mediate between me and his mom. He is a good guy but I think being put in the middle makes him suffer too. Thank you for your prayers I will pray for you too.

It’s time to stop these visits. Your husband needs to tell his mother that she cannot stay over any more as it is interfering too much with family time - as in your family - mum (you), dad, and child.

He should not merely be “mediating” between the two of you - he should be squarely on your side!

Anyone who suggested to my wife that she divorce me would be no longer welcome in our home…not at least without a profound apology first. I find it remarkable that MIL often stays for a week at a time in itself, but especially after such an outrageous suggestion.

Now, I realise all this is easy to say, but may not be so easy to do. Talk to your husband and assure him that your marriage and family is number one priority, and that your strong opinion is that your marriage and family needs time to blossom without so much involvement of his mother. Then discuss the specifics.

I just read the first part…

Your mother in law is overstepping her boundaries. She should not be spending one week per month in your home. This is your time to be with your husband and new addition to the family. You and your husband need to set some boundaries.

If your husband feels put in the middle, then let your husband know you will handle this in a kind way. Just tell mother in law you are too busy to have her come, and you all will be visiting her soon. To go into a lot of detail opens the door for an argument and if she is pushy, she will debate you if you give too many reasons. Best to keep it simple for now.

If she asks how you are busy, just say you can’t get into it now, and thank her for her concern.Again let her know you will visit her soon.

The problem here is the lack of boundaries and I am aware of it; all the fights happen when I reach a breaking point and I try to ask to set them and require them to be respected. I have three main challenges in doing it:

  • in my husband ethnic/cultural background boundaries are very faint (my son home is my home);
    -my mil has some serious but manageble chronic health condition and when I try to set boundaries she guilt trip my husband with her poor health.
    -often my requests for boundaries are dismissed as being ungrateful for her practical help or being stressed out for caring of my daughter. It seems nobody in his side of the family understands how intrusive and challenging for our marriage is this ‘help’.

Why is a poor sick lady doing all this travelling?

Perhaps it is time to say - simply and clearly, but not rudely - that help is not required.

“Thank you MIL for your kind offer of help, but it is not needed.”

Sounds like you have a mother-in-law out of Hell. If your husband won’t stand up for you against her, you have a very serious problem on your hands, no doubt about it. Without knowing anything about you or where you live, I would suggest – if at all possible – moving to another city, a long way away, where it simply won’t be practical for her to come and visit you except very occasionally.

There is nothing that you can do in this situation, I am so sorry to say that but that is my opinion. You have no practical control because your husband and your mother-in-law has all the control in this situation. Even if you put your “foot down” so-to-speak I believe that your mother-in-law will come to visit anyway. What are you going to do, slam the door in her face? You could, but then your husband will let her in. That is the problem. You can tell her she has to leave, but she won’t leave because he will tell her that she can stay.

The problem is not your mother-in-law the problem is your husband. Your husband needs to take a stand here or this will be your life forever.

Clearly it will not happen overnight, but he needs to be able to at least tell his mother that she can only visit occasionally on a weekend. The problem is he won’t, the reason why is that at this time he is not willing to tell her ANYTHING. She rules, she is the boss, she is the one that he obeys. Until this changes, nothing else will change.

I suggest that you and your husband go and visit a priest at once. If your husband is Catholic and has any kind of faith life, then hopefully his respect for the Catholic Church will lead him to “Leave his Father and Mother and cleave to his wife” as the Scripture clearly states. Your husband is unfortunately weak from being under his mother’s nagging that he cannot see a way out of it. More nagging from his wife will not help. He needs a woman that will build him up, a woman that will help him be a strong and confident man! Tell your husband that you love him, tell him that you love him and trust him to be the strong man that you married. Tell him that you trust him to be your provider and protector. Your husband has been beat down and controlled and nagged he needs a woman that builds him up. You are his wife you can be that woman. In the meantime see a priest to help build him up too and give him the strength to be the husband and father Jesus Christ wants him to be. Deep down your husband probably wants to be a good husband and father, he is probably ashamed of his weakness. Do what you can to get him spiritual guidance and help to overcome this.

Please be assured of my prayers, God bless you.

So what you do is keep it short and sweet -
I am busy, I have a full schedule, and so on…the more u say, the more she will try and make u feel guilty. Thsi is what I offer to people when they try to manipulate.

You can thank her for her past help, agree with her that it would be nice for her to come, but, -----you are busy. Perhaps next time. And when next time comes, if you still don’t want her there----you are busy.

You have tried to be straightforward already, and it did not work.

BINGO!! This is so true Monicad. I would like so much to be able to help my husband to get strong and confident. Unfortunately he is not even Christian and he will not come to a priest. I will keep praying and thank you for your prayers too.

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