10th December, 2010
Dear Mrs. Thomas,
Having been following the way you handle issues, I feel motivated to share my longÂ lasting battles of acceptance with my in-laws just to hear your own counsel.
Dear Mrs. Thomas,
Richard, my husband, is a very nice guy and weâ€™ve known each other for quite someÂ time ever before we got married. Although not living together in the same houseÂ before marriage, we saw each other quite often and related as friends, sharing andÂ helping each other through the challenges of life.
I graduated before my husband and got a job in a bank which was relatively doingÂ well and when Richard finished his course, I used my connection in the industry andÂ he also got a job in another bank.
Things were really looking up and it wasnâ€™t long, Richard proposed marriage to meÂ and, of course, I agreed. This was the first time he mentioned to me about going toÂ see his parents in Ife as I hadnâ€™t met either of his parents nor siblings except hisÂ youngest sister who lives with him in Lagos.
When we got to Ife, it was very clear from the reception that there wereÂ reservations on the part of my in-laws about me, but Richard kept telling me it wasÂ because they were meeting me for the first time and that things would definitely getÂ better with time.
As we got talking, my father in-law asked about my state, village, family andÂ parents. I was talking about my parents when my mother in-law interrupted and askedÂ for my age. Totally unprepared, I told her my real age and she almost screamed herÂ head off. â€œFor heavenâ€™s sake, Richard, what are you doing with a woman older thanÂ you?â€ I was pretty embarrassed and wondered to myself when did age become aÂ yardstick for marriage. If my husband doesnâ€™t mind and I look really young and trimÂ (itâ€™s difficult for you to believe I was actually past 25 years), so what is hisÂ motherâ€™s headache? Iâ€™m suspecting Richardâ€™s younger sister would have been feedingÂ her with all sorts of crab. There was even a day I saw her look at my driverâ€™sÂ licence, maybe that was how she got a wind of my age to broadcast everywhere.
My husband was firm enough to stand his grounds and insisted he wanted to marry me.Â When it was clear there was really nothing anyone could do, they gave in and we gotÂ married, but ever since then, itâ€™s been very difficult to relate with his people.Â Anything I do or say, theyâ€™ll always find faults.
I decided to write this letter after the last incident that occurred last month whenÂ we visited Richardâ€™s parents in Ife again. My husband had not been working for theÂ past six months and his parents know about this. Thereâ€™s a fraud allegation in hisÂ department and eventually, they were placed on suspension without pay. Since my jobÂ was okay, I provided for the family without complaining.
A colleague was getting married in Ife and Richard wanted us to go and attending aÂ wedding in Ife meant weâ€™ll also see his parents, so I bought a whole lot of niceÂ things for my parents in-law, packed in a suitcase.
When we arrived, I removed the suit case and handed it to mama, as we all call myÂ mother in-law. She collected it, walked over to Richard and gave him a big hug,Â totally ignoring me, not even a thank you, not to mention a hug. She then danced andÂ praised the son for spending so much money on her and taking good care of her.
I felt so bad and hurt that I couldnâ€™t even eat her food and made up my mind neverÂ to give my hard-earned income nor visit again.
Is this the right decision?
Problems with in-laws are common ground but yours went a bit too far. If you permitÂ me, Iâ€™ll say to Richard that heâ€™s the only person who can douse this â€˜fireâ€™ for you.
When his mother treated you that way, he was expected to tell her you actuallyÂ bought those things for her and not him. He would have simply said â€œplease, thank myÂ wife because she did all these without me even knowing,â€ then the mother would haveÂ been in a tight corner to appreciate you.
I can perceive there are some petty quarrels trailing your marriage as you rightlyÂ said that Richardâ€™s younger sister lives with you and may be the one spreading falseÂ information about you. There is nothing much you can do than settle whateverÂ differences you have and overlook some things that might bring problems. I tell you,Â marriage needs a lot of maturity and patience.
Donâ€™t stop visiting your parents in-law, show them love as you can and be positiveÂ that things would change in your favour some day.
One thing Iâ€™ve come to discover about parents is they need to be sure their childrenÂ are happy and safe with whoever they are marrying but sometimes, they get it allÂ wrong and go to the extreme.
Men should please protect their wives and let the parents know that they are alsoÂ children of other people.
This is the conclusion of the whole matter, men should fear and worship GOD.