Marriage, the bedrock of any given society, is a union between a man and a woman for life. But Satan will not allow it to be. He will try to steal, kill and destroy every good and healthy marriage by all means. One such means that he employs is the in-laws attack and manipulations of marriages. That is especially true as it concerns the African relationship.
In some cultures, the in-laws, that is, ‘the extended family members’ either on the man’s side or the woman’s side, exert a very strong influence on marriages and this influence has on many occasions had a bad effect on the marriages, resulting in either sadness, regret, or even a total disintegration of the marriage.
In this article, I will try to help our young people who have been married or are planning to get married on how they can turn their relationships with their in-laws into a blessing instead of a burden.
By the grace of God, I am an African, a Nigerian in particular. I am also married to a Nigerian lady. We have lived together as husband and wife for an unbroken 28 years (October 2007). This was not without experiencing many bitter lessons, however. I will therefore address this matter from the African context and to our African brethren and people of other cultures with similar marriage experiences about in-laws. I am doing this with the hope that this article will be a blessing and source of healing to your marriages.
One inherent problem in the African marriage is that our extended family members are seen as integral members of our marriages. In some cultures, members of the husband’s family see the wife of their brother or son as an addition to their family. And in some cultures, they expect the wife to serve every other member of the family including the youngest child of that home.
In some cultures, the wife is expected to call every other member of the family ‘my husband.’ This means that she is to marry not only her husband (except in sexual matters) but the whole family. It also means that if she decides to relate to her husband alone, she will incur the wrath of other members of the family. They will in turn make her life miserable in that marriage.
On the other hand:
The parents of a lady can be so possessive that they will manipulate her and direct her on what to do or how to marry her husband. In some cases parents may decide to move over to their daughter’s matrimonial home. They will live together with her and her husband or convince their daughter to bring her husband to live in their own home.
In such cases, their daughter may start by spending most time with her parents, causing the man to come visit her most of the time in her parents home. If she becomes pregnant, they will retain her till she delivers the baby and becomes pregnant again. Then the cycle continues without end.
In some other cases, the brothers and or sisters of the husband may not be happy about their brother’s intention to get married. This is because they think the woman will cause them to lose all the financial support which they have been enjoying. This can lead to a serious tension between them and their brother and eventually the wife of their brother. This can go on for years if not the life time unless God intervenes.
Educated and Employed Ladies
In the case of the ladies, if they are educated, gainfully employed, into a successful business venture and wealthy, some parents, brothers and sisters of such ladies, will hardly let her go into a marriage relationship without them remote-controlling her to be their bread winner even after her marriage. They will want her to build them a house. They also want her to buy them a car, train others in school or set up profitable business venture, etc, as a recompense for her training.
In some very extreme cases, some family members would prefer to retain their loved daughters at home and permit them to have children out of wedlock rather than giving her out in marriage.
These points can be a real source of trouble in any given African marriage but God has solution to every marriage problem.
SOLUTIONS TO THE IN LAW PROBLEMS:
1. Accept the problems as cultural problems.
Although the degree of the problems differ from culture to culture even within the same country, it is very important that every intending couple accept them as real. Do not try to treat them as non-existent or you will multiply your sorrows. The scripture says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This knowledge will save your marriage.
2. Discuss them before marriage.
Before you say, “I do” it is wise to discuss these points. Remember that God hates divorce. Therefore, it is better to discuss these trouble spots and accept or reject them before you get married.
One problem that I have noticed is that either the man will say, “I will change her after marriage” or the lady might say, “let me get married first” but secretly she thinks, “Then I will show him my true colors”. Or both the man and the woman have no idea of such problems. They are so deeply in love that they do not foresee any problem from the in-laws. And when the problem begins to show up, they are unprepared to handle it. It then tears them apart.
3. Seek the face of the Lord.
Having discussed the matter together, present it to the Lord in prayer and go ahead with the relationship if the Lord approves the relationship or quit the relationship if He tells you to quit. A broken engagement is better than a divorce or a painful and sorrowful marriage.
4. If you must marry him / her, make sure that the marriage is godly and legally conducted.
Avoid co-habiting. Be determined to handle the problem very maturely and positively. Throw away every form of hypocrisy or deceit. Determine in your mind to love your in-laws.
5. Be determined to live in peace with every member of your husband’s or wife’s family.
It is achievable in every culture. But one problem we face is that most young people wanting to get married, have determined to have nothing to do with other members of their husband’s or wife’s family.
Therefore, even before the marriage is consummated, they are already scheming to displace every other member of their spouse’s family with the result. Even their good intentions, deeds, and requests produce negative results. That is because of the deceit and hypocrisy behind the good intention. Such people try to present themselves as good but have other plans. Try to live in peace even with the worst of your in-laws.
6. Leave and cleave.
It is very important for both the man and woman to understand and accept God’s formula for a healthy marriage. They must determine to leave their father’s houses and cleave to one another as is clearly demanded in Genesis 2:24 and Psalm 45:10.
What God has joined together in marriage must not be put asunder by in-laws. Any man or woman who allows his or her father, mother, siblings, etc to come between his/her spouse is not wise. Put them where they belong. I do not mean that you have nothing to do with them. But they must allow you to build your new family with your spouse. You must make sure that they know that.
7. Determine to support you in-laws.
The law of leaving to cleave does not mean that you must have nothing to do with the welfare of your in-laws. God expects us to extend our love to both our own family members and members of our spouse’s family to the extent that we can without grumblings and complaints for God loves a cheerful giver.
In our own marriage, we support both my family members and my in laws without discrimination to the extent that we can carry. My wife and I consult one another before taking any action. By doing this we have laid to rest every such problem in our marriage. It is partiality, like was in the case of Joseph (in the Bible), can wreck any good marriage. Try not to be partial.
8. Do not marry a man or woman because of his/her wealth.
If you marry a man or woman because of his or her wealth, you will be blinded by that fact so that you will concentrate on grabbing his or her wealth. People who marry because of the wealth of others will do everything within their power to keep the man or woman completely to him or herself and his or her own immediate family and therefore incur the wrath of his or her in-laws.
We must understand that, in the African and similar contexts, both families become one by marriage. We must therefore endeavor to balance our treatment of both families. The man and his wife become one by marriage so they should care for both family needs (i.e. that of the husband and his wife) to the extent that they can cheerfully do without grumblings because God loves a cheerful giver.
EXAMPLES OF IN LAW SITUATIONS FROM THE BIBLE:
Abraham was a father in-law that wanted the best for both his son and daughter in-law.
Leban was a selfish father in-law who was willing to keep his son in-law to himself for life as his servant with little wages. Leban’s desire was to keep Jacob perpetually in his own home so he could continue to manipulate and retain him.
Jethro, despite being a Midian Priest (an unbeliever) was a father in-law who wanted his son in-law’s success. He kept his son in-law’s family when the situation required it. And he released them at the appropriate time. He also cared about the welfare and success of his son in-law. He gave him a wise counsel and brought success to his ministry (business).
Naomi was a godly mother in-law who showed love and care for her daughter in-law. She gave her useful counsel that gave her a befitting husband. Naomi did not determine to keep her all to herself but let her have her freedom away from her. She did not meddle with Ruth’s marriage.
Here is an excellent example of a daughter in-law to be desired. She proved that her marriage to her late husband was not dependent on anything he had, but was based purely on love. Her love continued to radiate after her husband’s death and extended to her aged mother in-law. This is true to the extent that she took good care of her and God blessed her.
Jacob was a determined son in-law who was prepared to go an extra mile to have the love of his life. He was ready to die for Rachel but he had his bad spot. He cheated his father in-law in his business venture. May your son in-law rather work for your progress than your downfall in Jesus’ name.
7. JUDITH AND BASEMATH
(Gen. 26:34-35) —These were the wives of Esau, Isaac and Rebekah’s daughter in-laws. The Bible says of them, “They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” Are you such a daughter in-law?
(Ruth 1:14) —She had emotions for her mother in-law. But they were not strong enough to overcome her selfish ambition. She was not prepared for further suffering with an old mother in-law who had no chance of having more sons. She preferred the luxury of her comfort zone. Is this a picture of you?
(Ruth 2-4) —He cared both for the security and welfare of both Elimelech’s properties and family. He was prepared to give hope to a daughter in-law, Ruth. He did and God blessed their union. May God give us more Boaz’s in Jesus’ name.
10. THE KINSMAN-REDEEMER
(Ruth 4:1-8) —He had interest only in acquiring more property to add to what he already had. But this interest was not in the welfare of a daughter in-law, Ruth. Some near relatives desire their late brothers’ properties and not the welfare of their daughter in-laws. In some African cultures they would confiscate their late brothers’ properties. They would leave the widow or daughter in-law without an inheritance. These kinds of in-laws still exist in our days. But may they never come our way. Amen.
SPIRITUAL ANGLE TO THE IN-LAWS IN MARRIAGE:
I will not conclude this article without a mention of the spiritual aspect of the in-law’s problem in marriage. Africans practice witchcraftry. There are some African women who use their witchcraftry to manipulate their sons/daughters marriages.
Some True Examples:
1. A certain mother was spiritually carrying her daughter at her back. Thereby she was making it physically impossible for suitors to propose marriage to her daughter. This is because, rather than notice the beautiful young virgin, suitors always saw the old woman as they behold the lady. Physically her daughter was walking freely while she was having her on her back spiritually. That way no man could notice her and propose marriage to her.
This was discovered through prayer and she was confronted before she let her off her back and she got married after being assured that her daughter will take care of her after marriage. The daughter’s husband knew it and complied with the promise. When confronted by the pastor, she confessed that she did it because she feared that her daughter would not come for her if she got married.
2. Another mother in-law was using a spiritual belt to tie the pregnancy of her daughter in-law. This was giving her much pain perhaps with the intention to abort the baby. This is because she did not approve of her marriage with her son. This was also discovered through prayer and her daughter in-law was delivered.
3. Another mother in-law spoke out loud beside her sick pregnant daughter in-law’s hospital bed and said ‘if she wants to die, let her die and leave my son alone’. She hated her daughter in-law because she wanted her son to marry another lady. This wicked mother in-law is late now and this hated wife (daughter in-law) is the bread winner of the family today.
4. In some cases, it may be a strong family tie rather than spiritual manipulation that causes trouble between husband and wife. Such husband or wife should be honest with herself or himself and confess it to his or her spouse and their pastor and seek deliverance from such family ties.
Some husbands and wives behave abnormally, not because they love to do so, but because they are being manipulated spiritually by their diabolical parents, or have very strong family ties that must be broken.
Therefore, if you have sought counsel and done everything you believe would help you regain your spouse’s love and attention to no avail, I recommend that you seek out a minister of God who can help you with prayers to deliver your spouse from every evil bondage, imprisonment, or family ties, for God to restore your marriage.
In conclusion, let me ask you a question. Are you a son or daughter in-law? Would you like to have godly mother, father, brother, and sister in-laws? If you answered yes to the above questions, the next question to answer is: are you a godly, lovely son or daughter in-law? Do you give trouble to your in-laws? Decide right now to be good to every member of your husband or wife’s family.
Stop being like Esau’s two wives who were a source of trouble to Isaac and Rebekah.
Are you a father or mother in-law? Are you troubling your son or daughter in-law? Also, are you manipulating their marriage and giving them trouble instead of peace? What will be your gain by so doing? Would you have wanted someone to trouble your own marriage? If not, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus to repent now and let your son / daughter enjoy his/her marriage.
I pray that God who gave me a happy, healthy and successful marriage with a wonderful (in-laws) relationship will do so for you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This article is written by Israel Ikpeka. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Nigeria. They are Co-Presidents of Family Life Ministries and Freedom Bible College and Seminary. Concerning his marriage, Israel says the following: “My wife and I are very much incompatible in almost every way. But God has helped us to master our areas of incompatibilities. And rather than let them separate us, we handle them as good friends to the shame of Satan and the peace of our family.”
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44 responses to “From the African Context: In Law Relationship Advice”
I don’t know how to tell my parents that my foreign partner and I want to get married. I am South African and he is Congolese. I am working and he still hustles for money. I love him and see him as a great man to marry because he cares about me and loves me very much. He is willing to do anything for me that he can. Please help.
Does he love you enough where he is willing to wait for you (without pressuring you into marrying him) until he can find a steady job so he can also support you, as you support him? If he does, THIS might be a start in building a road to impressing your parents. It is also impressive, in itself, and shows real strength of character. “Love” that is in a hurry and doesn’t regard those who also love you can lead to all kinds of problems later.
Please, can I marry my brother’s wife’s niece? We really love each other?
(ZIMBABWE) I am in my second year of marriage. My husband is the last born and the only boy. In our first year of marriage his eldest sister (42 year old, unmarried) was at our house every day of the weekend. She would arrive at 7 am in the morning while we were sleeping and leave after midnight (every weekend) and my husband would say nothing.
She moved to another country for work but came back to work for a project for a week. Her company paid for her hotel during this time but she opted to stay with us the whole time. In this 1 week she let me do all the cooking and chores and never helped.
The most confusing part is that while we had set up the spare bedroom for her, she one night chose to sleep in our bed with us (me and my husband). I found this very uncomfortable as it didn’t seem right, still hubby did not see anything wrong with it. Since he didn’t say anything I chose to not say anything too but I’m still not happy about it.
On other occasions me and hubby would be in bed watching a movie on laptop and she would jump into bed too and join us, or while we’re in bed come in our room and use our dressing mirror and other stuff. Is this normal? Shouldn’t she respect our matrimonial bed/home?
If this is “normal” then I’m abnormal. Your sister in law is taking advantage of your hospitality. Just because she is related by blood, it doesn’t give her the right to treat your home as if it’s hers (unless, of course, SHE is paying the bills).
Yes, your husband SHOULD say something about all of this, protecting your privacy as a married couple… but will he? I’m not thinking so. Just be thankful that she is living mostly in another town. In all situations, there are blessings somewhere. I hope your sister-in-law AND your husband wake up some day to make this situation more livable for EVERYONE.
I am yet to enter into marriage but must confess this has been a great insight for me. It is an eye opener. God bless you. Thank you.
This is a very brilliant piece and very helpful for me. My father-in-law is meddling in my marriage but you have given me an answer, a workable solution. My father-in-law is manipulating our marriage and giving us trouble instead of peace. Please pray for us. Thank you.
Hi, is it wrong for a son in law to sleep on his mother-in-law’s bed? His reason was that he wanted a quiet place to sleep as he was on night shift and that was the only place he could rest. I’m asking this in a Christian and need traditional advice.
I need some help. I am an American and have met and married the love of my life – a Nigerian. We have not been without our problems. We are both strong willed. Most problems have been brought on by work/economic stress. We have had several heated arguments, two of which became a bit physical. Not the bad physical but holding and pulling away and such. Her family has become involved and refuse to accept the marriage any longer.
They demand she file for divorce. We love each other so but this predicament is getting insurmountable. I have now relocated to another continent for work and really need her here with me. She seems to want to come but tells me her family forbids it and they really do not even want her talking to me. I need help please. I am literally a foreigner to this culture and need to know how, if there is at all, to tackle this issue.
Good day sir/ma, thanks for your counsel and ministry. I have a serious issue bothering me and it has to do with my wife’s mother. She has become so involved in my home to the extent that she even cooks and dishes food for my wife to bring home, brings my kids home from school and other chores. I was initially unconcerned about about her presence until something happened to my mum in March although there were already signs.
My mother was spiritually attacked at night some few days after she got a phone call from my mother- in-law in which she told her that she should pray for my life. After the attack my mum consulted some pastors about it and they all individually confirmed the spiritual attack came from my wife’s mum. Since then, she has refrained from coming to my house even though I never discussed it with my wife or even confronted my mother-in-law. Since that period, my home has been in serious emotional and spiritual warfare and I have been seeking for answers on way forward.
My wife it seems is emotionally attached to her mum and from my background checks there is a negative spiritual alignment between the two of them dating back to when my wife was conceived as I realised she was born in a white garment church. I also realised my wife’s sister has issues settling down as she has been married twice. Kindly advise me on the way forward.
I’m a Nigerian and I’m planning to get married to a Ghanaian guy who is from Akuapem. We love each other and he’s okay in all aspects…but whenever I tell my cousins they all tell me that my mum and dad won’t agree and that makes me scared. He’s planning on coming over to Nigeria. What will I do to convince my parents so he can take my hands in marriage? ..I don’t know what to do; please help.
It’s very sad that culture has distorted such a holy union. And it’s also sad that even professed born again Christians will perpetuate the hate and unreasonableness. It’s sad that often it’s other women who do it to the young wives, or other men who do it to the young husbands. Culture itself is not bad, it is when it causes harm that questions arise. May God help us to be the change – what kind of mother-in-law will I be in the future? What am I modeling for my daughter as a daughter-in-law? What is my husband modeling to her, as the expected behavior of a God-fearing husband? As a sister-in-law, what am I showing her as the right way to behave towards her brother’s wife? How does my husband treat his brother’s wife, his sister’s husband? Likewise for the sons – what do they see in us that will plant the seeds of change?
We have to change the tide. There are many wonderful values that our cultures teach us, that do not conflict with the word of God, lets keep those and pass them on to our children. Let’s also be brave enough to question those that conflict with the Word, and cause harm and suffering
This is a powerful word that has transformed my mindset.
I’m an American Black woman married to a Ghanaian male. We’ve only been married for 6 months and I’m still trying to understand his African culture. I live in the states and he lives in Africa. I did not know just how much his family depended upon him as the breadwinner until I went to visit him. He stresses a lot trying to save money to one day join me in the states. However, every time he informs me his mother, child, or sisters needs this or that I’m the one who has to give money to help them. I feel my husband doesn’t realize how inattentive he has become towards me and this makes me very very sad at times.
I always pray that we get together soon and live in harmony. I’m told this will never end as he is the eldest of the family and is expected to take care of his mother and sisters wants and needs as his father and mother are divorced. My African husband has told me on several occasions that he’s pained every time he asks me for money and is tired of this life. He wants to leave to be with me and that his family is his problem. I want my marriage to survive and I love my husband with all my heart. I can’t, nor will I compete for his love with his family. I’m much older than him but he chose to marry me anyway. I know prayer is the key and faith unlocks the door.
Please pray and counsel me on how I can speak to my husband without offending him and his culture. I always thought that African men put their wives first. I love my new African family because I love my husband and we are as one. I don’t mean to sound selfish but since we’ve married our communication is lesser, angry issues arise and my feelings get hurt a lot lately, because I complain about how things are not like they used to be between us. His reply is that he’s under stress with his family. I also feel he’s receiving bad martial advice from friends, as well. Please I’m asking for godly advice! Thank you!
Eleanor, I sure love your heart and your motives, but you need to wake up to the truth here. Your husband is tied to his family very deeply. It is good that he loves them and cares for them so much that he would sacrifice his comforts for what he perceives to be their needs. But what he perceives to be their needs and what you (or I) would perceive to be their needs, are different things. A big part of this comes in because of cultural differences. But as I’ve said many times, when cultural pressure goes against biblical precedents, then you need to go God’s way rather than man’s. The fact that he is treating his other family’s “needs” as more important than yours, and than yours together, there is a problem. He is allowing his family to bring separation between the two of you. Plus, he is taking counsel from those who also should be putting your marriage first, not separating you further.
Now, if you and your husband were in perfect agreement with all of this–that it’s okay that you live in the U.S. and he lives there and that all was well in your relationship with the way he approaches his family’s needs, then that would be okay. It would not be separating you. But it is, so that is problematic.
Eleanor, you need to look at all of this realistically. It’s like what Dr Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. Deep within, I don’t believe he will ever change in making his family his top priority. You will have to take a backseat. If you think and pray about that, and you can live with that, then you can continue on this way. That would be okay. Just be realistic about it. He most likely will not change–your husband hasn’t moved an inch thus far to change his behavior in any way to make you believe otherwise. Words are just words if actions don’t accompany them.
Also, if he wanted to live in the U.S. then he would be here. You have indicated that you have given him money for his family’s needs. If he really wanted to live here then he would be here. I would have used at least part of that money for a ticket. You can even ask him if you bought him a ticket to come here–not just sending money to meet his family’s needs, if would he come at that point. My guess would be no. And if he did, it would be temporary, at best. (And while he is here, I would be careful of how much money I would freely give him until he proves himself that he is a part of your marital team.) I’m not criticizing, I’m just stating what I see. You need to be realistic about it. If you’re okay with his living there, then that’s fine, if not, then you need to work with things as they are, rather than your hopes and dreams. Either you will need to move there, or you will be working with a long distant relationship.
Lastly, again, you need to work with things the way they are, rather than the way you wish and dream they could be. Personally, I would not send one more penny to meet his family’s “needs” if I didn’t decide I wanted to do that. Yes, I believe he “hates” to ask you for money to meet their needs. I’m sure he wishes that he was not be dependent on anyone. But he isn’t. So with things being as they are, he sees that you have money that he does not and will not stop asking for money if he knows it will be sent when he asks. Wouldn’t you do that if you felt that your family had needs that could be met by asking someone else for the money? Right now you are a meal ticket for meeting their needs. Personally, I wouldn’t give one more penny. I would need to have him show me that I am his priority over his family. If he wants to send this family any money, he would need to move to the U.S. work to earn the money, and then together he and I would have to be in agreement that the money should go over to them. That is what a marital team could do.
Again, words are cheap without actions backing them up. If he truly wants to “leave” to be with you, and that he sees that “his family is his problem” then he would do something about that problematic situation. Please wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak. You are being taken advantage of right now. If you want to continue being taken advantage of, then that is your right. But don’t keep enabling bad behavior pretending in your mind that it will change without radical changes in your husband’s thinking and actions.
You have geographical challenges as well as priority challenges going on right now with your husband. It isn’t likely that he will change on his part. That is just the way it is. Yes, God can talk to your husband, but he has a free will and he has to decide to go God’s way for changes to happen. Deal with things the way they are, rather than how you want them to be. If you want things to stay the way they are then keep doing things the way you have been. But if you want them to be different then pray, go with the wisdom you are given, and move upon the changes that need to be put into place. The way things are right now, they are not sustainable over the long run. Certainly, you must see that (at least in the back of your mind).
Please read what you wrote to us. Stand back, pray, ask for wisdom and then decide what advice you would give to another gal who tells you what you told us. What advice would you give to her? This would better help you to decide what to do.
There are a couple of other web sites that I would go to and ask advice from, if you don’t feel that this advice is wise enough. One of them is the web site for the ministry of Intentional Today. You can find it at: http://intentionaltoday.com. Ngina Otiende runs that web site. She and her husband originally come from Kenya (though they live in the U.S. right now). And even though there are some cultural differences between there and Ghana… there are also some similarities that going on, as well. I also would go to the ministry of Michael and Wanda of Christian Marriage Today. You can find them at: http://www.christian-marriage-today.com. They are kind, yet straightforward and wise. Between what I wrote, what Ngina would tell you, and what Michael and Wanda would tell you, God will speak to you to help you to know what boundaries you should put in place and what changes need to be made.
You definitely need to do both, but what they are is something that you and God need to determine as you get godly counsel and the guidance of our “Wonderful Counselor” –the Holy Spirit. I pray wisdom for you, and open eyes and a mind that is ready to make the changes that need to be made. May God bless you as you look to Him for wisdom and strength!
I am engaged and am planning to be married in about three months. My fiancé is out of the country and I am in Nigeria. He recently told me he would want me to go live with his parents for some time until I am able to join him after our wedding. This means I will have to resign from my job and go to another state to live with his parents. He believes it will help me know his family better and get integrated into his family. I like his family but leaving my life and going to live with his parents does not make me happy.
Am I overreacting? I also do not like that I have to be dependent financially. It all just doesn’t seem right. And do you think I should be reconsidering taking his decision to not go on with me if I would not go and live with his parents? Please I need some advice. Thank you and God bless your wisdom.
No you are not overreacting. Your needs are valid. First, I say you are responsible for your own happiness. In the Nigerian culture, the in-laws are a very important part of your marriage, but they cannot be responsible for your happiness. If your job keeps you busy, financially secure and makes you happy, then you shouldn’t give it up till you are ready to do so.
You can visit your in-laws over most weekends and make the most of that time with them. Staying with them without a job is not great advice and this should be well thought through. Luckily for you, both of you have had the opportunity of discussing this before your wedding so you need to communicate what makes YOU happy.
I wish you all the best.
Bukie, You and your fiancé need to do some serious talking. You need to find out what he expects from you, as far as his family. Talk about your living conditions. Does he expect you and him to move in with his parents or have them move in with you at some point in your lives together? And if he does, will he honor the “leave and cleave” part of the Bible where you will be his marriage partner –cleaving together, even if it means that his parents are upset about something? If one or both of his parents want you to do something that you don’t want to do, will he stand by you or will he expect you to do what his mom or dad says? After marrying will you be his main priority, or will it be his parent’s?
I recommend that you read through the articles in the Dealing with In Laws and Parents topic at: https://marriagemissions.com/category/in-laws/. There are quite a few of the articles and quotes that you should read through so you can form some questions to ask your fiancé and discuss with him your approach. There is no problem with moving in with parents or visa versa, AS LONG AS there are clear boundaries as far as family lines and who answers to who and what will be done if a parent steps over that line. But preferably, it’s better to live in separate homes, if possible because of complicating circumstances — especially when children are born. Again, read the articles. Form some questions, and talk to your fiancé about your beliefs and make sure you are in agreement NOW, rather than being sadly surprised later. We’ve seen these types of things going very, very badly later because the couple didn’t clarify before marrying what was expected in this circumstance and others.
You ask if you are overreacting… my reply is, absolutely not. This is the time for you to discuss those types of issues. Now is the time to discuss any question mark that comes up in your mind. Now is the time to work through as many of your differences as you can. And if you are not happy with the way all of this comes out, don’t marry unless you can come to agreements that you are both satisfied with.
I wouldn’t be happy about the situation your fiancé is proposing as far as leaving your job and living with his family and such if I was facing this situation. I think your caution is wise. If by being “integrated” into the family he means that his family will be in your business for a good amount of time now and after marriage, you need to know this. I loved my in laws too (they have since died), but leaving my job and moving in with them would have been a problem. We did well living in different homes.
Now perhaps you can try to find a job there and live in a small place on your own before marrying. If he didn’t object to you not working for a time when you would be living with his family before you marry, then he shouldn’t object to you using your income from a new job to live elsewhere until you marry. Sometimes you can find a room to rent for a short time. Also, this will establish you in a new job (if you can find one within three months).
Again, this is the best time for you to see if you and your fiancé can work through problematic issues. If he wants things all his own way, or he doesn’t do well working with you on conflicting issues, then you need to consider this. Also, if he expects more of you concerning his family and your future children and his family than you are comfortable with, then you need to consider this, as well. Don’t be afraid to call off the wedding or to postpone it if you sense things will go in a bad direction because of unrealistic expectations, or unsettling financial dependence issues, or conflict resolution issues. Settle what you can settle now and don’t proceed forward until you feel peace about it. You are going to be promising that you will be married to each other for the rest of your lives. Are you prepared to do that with this man and his expectations and inclinations? Prayerfully consider this.
I am so glad I read the article about if a man or woman allows their families to come between their marriage they are not wise. I say Amen to that article!
God bless you so much for the wonderful work you are doing. This site is a blessing. I’m Thandiwe from South Africa.
We are so glad God put us here to help you. We pray God works within your life to give Him glory and to partner with your spouse so that you reveal and reflect the heart of Christ within your marriage through your interactions. May God bless you abundantly!