Lately, I’ve talked with several wives who feel like they’ve hit a wall in their marriages. These women will tell you that they have a happy, thriving marriage in almost every way except for one HUGE elephant in the room–the relationship their husband has with his mother.
These women feel pushed aside whenever their mother-in-law (MIL) is around, because their husband places his mother’s needs, desires, and opinions ahead of his wive’s. Their mother-in-laws criticize how they keep the house, dress, discipline the kids, and tend to their husband’s needs. These wives want to have a good relationship with their MIL, but they don’t feel accepted by her. Instead of a healthy, supportive relationship, they have a negative, conflicting relationship where both women feel threatened by the other.
When I asked each of these wives to explain their situations to me, I noticed several feelings they had in common: they feel disrespected, patronized, and overshadowed by their MILs. But, more than anything, they are frustrated with their husbands for not standing up for them and allowing this behavior to continue.
Unhealthy parent-child relationships can certainly happen on BOTH sides of the wedding aisle, but I want to specifically address the mother-son relationship in this post.
As a married couple, we should do whatever we can to show love and respect to and maintain peace with our extended families, but it must never be at the expense of our marriage. Our parents must understand that it is not their place to govern us or our marriage. We need their support and encouragement, and welcome their wisdom when we ask for it. But, they need to respect us, our spouse, our marriage, and our privacy.
But, what are we supposed to do when they don’t? Do we just allow them to continue undermining our spouse and marriage? Certainly, not.
Wives, maybe you can relate to the women I mentioned in the beginning. Do you feel like you are constantly at odds with your MIL? Does your husband make excuses for his mother’s negative behavior towards you? Do you and your husband often argue about his mother and the way she treats you?
Most importantly, have you done all YOU can do to be at peace with her to no avail? Have you consistently welcomed her into your home and spoken to her kindly, but your MIL won’t receive it or reciprocate it?
Husbands, you might be having these same conversations with your wife right now, and you’re probably thinking,
“My Mom is a grown woman who makes her own decisions. I can’t help how she feels about my wife or how she chooses to treat her.”.
Guys, this is a HUGE issue that must be addressed right away. You must love your wife enough to stand up for your marriage…even to your own mother. You cannot make excuses for your mother or allow her to mistreat your wife.
Any time your mother speaks negatively about your wife or expresses her disdain for your marriage and family is ONE TIME TOO MANY. No, you cannot control what she says or does, but you have the power to tell her to stop. Or, you and your wife can leave if she continues.
Your mom needs to hear YOU tell her that her controlling, passive-aggressive, and polarizing demeanor towards your wife and marriage must stop. Tell her that she must speak kindly of your wife in your presence or the conversation will end. It’s important that you say all this in the most respectful way possible, but it must be addressed directly.
For more on this, check out “4 Things Worth Fighting For in Your Marriage,” by clicking here.
Reader, I know these conversations are uncomfortable. Emotions are high because we are addressing issues with family…people we LOVE and respect. That is precisely why these conversations need to happen before matters get worse.
I have seen unhealthy extended family dynamics play a huge role in couples deciding to separate or divorce. There’s so much at stake! Husbands, here’s 3 reasons you should love your wife more than you love your mother:
1. Your wife should not feel like she has to compete with your mother for your love, respect, and adoration.
You can have a great marriage AND a great relationship with your mom, but your marriage has to come first. Besides, the kind of love your feel for your wife is a different kind of love than you feel for your mother. You can love them both, but you must tend to your wife’s’ needs before you tend to your mother’s needs. No exceptions.
2. When we marry, our relationship with our parents has to change.
When we marry, our first allegiance belongs to God, then our spouse, then our children (if we have them), and then our parents. This isn’t something I came up with. It’s how God designed marriage. Genesis 2:24 says,
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
For more on this, read “My husband doesn’t complete me and I will tell you why,” by clicking here.
3. Unity is a must in marriage.
Two cannot become one unless we are unified. This means a husband and wife are on the same page and moving in the same direction…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This can’t happen when a husband feels like loving his wife will somehow keep him from loving and respecting his mother. Loving your mother and loving your wife are two completely different experiences.
Husbands, your mother is part of you. She raised you and was the first woman to love you and will love you forever, but SHE IS NOT YOUR WIFE. She may have a hard time letting go, but she must relinquish control for the sake of your marriage. And, YOU have to gently, but directly, tell her this vital truth.
For more on how LOVE is supposed to look in are various types of relationships, be sure to get your copy of my husband’s amazing NEW book, “The Seven Laws of Love,” by clicking here.
Your mom will always be your mother, and you will always be her son. Nothing can change that. But, your wife deserves your full devotion. You vowed to love her, protect her, serve her, and even give your very life for her. That’s a different kind of love–a love that can only be experienced when we offer our full heart to our spouse.
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