Most of the problems pertaining to in-law issues start from the mind as a result of ingrained perceptions that the society has in general. It’s almost as though the mention of the word ‘in-law’ means something negative and it’s because people who have this perception ignorantly complicate matters for themselves.
It starts from the little things. The in-laws first think the other party is not good enough for their child. Then it transcends to the wedding, the two families have separate sides for their guests when everyone should be sitting together as a whole unit.
Then comes the marriage, some people don’t know where to draw the line, they try to infuse their own opinions into the marriage as third parties. The couple is frustrated because of this.
This may be what obtains in some places but it is not what happens with every family and in cases like this people tend to generalise.
I like to use personal examples to throw more light into things. Our families respected our choices from day one. They knew they had raised us well enough to make the right choices, so we were received warmly from both sides–difference in tribe for instance wasn’t an issue because in the early days of our courtship period we already understood what kind of families we both came from and we loved that our families shared many things in common of which receiving new additions through marriage was done without stress of any sort. It was an immediate grafting into each other’s families without any sort of prejudice.
When it got to the wedding planning, we all had a common goal, one voice in the way we prepared for our big day and we had everyone sit together because the wedding symbolized that our families have grown bigger and that we were(are) now one.
In the marriage, there hasn’t been any cultural expectations from either party. As a couple, our families are like our village and our support system. My mother-in-law is humble and very warm and so are the rest of my in-laws. My parents and siblings are also warm towards my husband and my in-laws. There’s no evident demarcation actually.
So, major causes of in-law rivalries is often first from the mindset of the society, then the attitude of the individuals involved. If you work on your mind and understand that you are now one big family, things would be a lot easier and in cases where you have different cultures for instance, don’t force your traditions on the new wife or husband. Let them learn at their own pace and be teachable as the new wife or husband.
That’s why we need to work on the family unit. If my family is balanced, it would be easier to receive new additions and everyone would dwell together peacefully and in unity. The term ‘in-law’ then is for formalities but we would know that we are a unit and instead of being against each other, it’s us against the world.
Juliet Ambali had her first and second degree in English language because of her passion for writing but then she is more passionate about living life intentionally and she loves everything marriage related and believes the home front needs the right amount of attention for a better nation. She is the wife to a blessed man who has been a huge support system and a mother to an adorable daughter.