Dear Barb – Mother-in-Law Problems

Dear Barb:

My mother-in-law is ruining my marriage and I don’t know what to do about it. My problems with her started even before I married her son. When we were planning our wedding she stepped in and took over. It was my wedding and I wasn’t even able to choose the flowers. What’s worse is that my husband doesn’t side with me. He just keeps telling me that his mother is old and he doesn’t want to upset her. I could understand his perspective if she was 80 years old and in poor health. However, she’s in her sixties and in excellent health. How can I make my husband see my side rather that his mother’s?

Darlene in Tobermory

Hi Darlene, mother-in-law problems are often a source of friction in a marriage. It seems some men have a hard time standing up to their mothers. They want to keep their mothers happy and still be seen as “good little boys.”

If your husband is reluctant to stand up to his mother, how does he feel about you doing it? Most importantly, are you comfortable communicating to your mother-in-law about your feeling that she is overstepping her bounds? Is this something you feel you can do?

It sounds like you may be newly married. If this is the case, you need to get this situation cleared up before you begin a family. Otherwise your mother-in-law will be telling you how to raise your children. When discussing the situation with your mother-in-law try not to offend her, but firmly reminder her that this is your home and you prefer to do things your way. She may not think you are serious at first, but if you are consistent she will have to accept the situation.

To be 100% successful you need to have the support of your husband. Your mother-in-law needs to know that you are not stealing her son, but rather he is a grown man who is entitled to live his own life.

If you and your husband portray a united front, but your mother-in-law still won’t back off, then I suggest you find a competent counselor. A professional counselor may be able to help you and your husband gain the confidence and strength necessary to deal with your mother-in-law. Hope this helps. Good luck Darlene

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