Overcoming Conflict With Your Mother-In-Law

Overcoming Conflict Mother AdobeStock_107451622 copyMothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are family partners fused together by circumstance and law. To be thrown into a close family relationship without giving consent or being consulted is a daunting challenge. The mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship is without question, complicated. But overcoming this challenge is possible.

So much changes for a family when the adult children fall in love and marry. Suddenly there are new members who, by decree of law and circumstance, are expected to be embraced and included into the fold. By all means, the challenge is a daunting one, especially for mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law.

Even though the mother-in-law may have had no direct input into her son’s decision of who and when to marry, other than years of intense prayer for her child’s mate-to-be, the fact remains that the family experience is definitely impacted by the soul-mate selection made by her offspring.

The Challenge Goes Both Ways

In the same way, the daughter-in-law who may have chosen to join with her husband in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in a holy alliance with the rest of his family. By the sheer nature of the relationship she is expected to melt into a household of folks that are often unfamiliar and at times very different from her family of origin.

The reality is that every holiday, every special occasion, even the continuance of the coming generations pivot on the choice to unite families through marriage. Whether the parents-in-law or the adult children realize it or not, the choices that are made are life-altering for the entire family.

For most parents, the grace to love and enfold these new family-members-by-law is a mere continuum of the parental love they enjoy with their own kids. However, there are those situations that may require an attitude adjustment. Inevitably, embarrassing moments and even outright conflicts occur in in-law relationships. Sometime the problem happens not out of a vindictive, hateful motive, but simply out of ignorance or insensitivity.

The following is an account of an older-but-wiser daughter-in-law who has struggled with her share of conflicting situations with an alcoholic mother-in-law. There are principles of conduct illustrated by the restraint and the positive actions of this woman named Amelia that will help in dealing with conflicts.

The Complicated In Law Relationship

When my mother-in-law would come to visit us, I never knew who was going to show up. It all depended on how much she’d had to drink. Since she was an alcoholic, we soon discovered that her personality varied. Thus her behavior was greatly influenced by how much liquor she’d consumed. In a strange way, it really helped to have something else to blame rather than to just assume she didn’t love her son or his family.

My mother-in-law was a very complicated person. Although I found it terribly irritating when she introduced me to her friends as her “fat daughter-in-law,” I tried to look past her steely, gruff, ill-mannered ways. It was mostly out of respect for my husband’s feelings that I was willing to put up with so much mistreatment.

I made a concerted effort to look behind the scenes at her behavior. Even though there was no excuse for being so rude, I had to acknowledge that she had lived a very hard life. She was widowed twice, and was raised by a mean, hateful father. She was also neglected by a distracted mother. Her children had all moved away from her, and understandably so. Still she was a sad, lonely old woman who had put up a thick wall to keep out the hurt. But to her detriment, the barriers that she erected to protect herself from harm unintentionally deflected any love that happened to come her way.

A Different Person Behind the Scenes

It wasn’t until after she died that I realized she’d never let any of us get to know the person she really was. Sadly she died very suddenly. We went into her house to tend to her affairs the same day she died. To our astonishment, we found posted notes all around the house. Over the kitchen sink was a notation reminding her to pray for her grandson. In the bathroom, tacked to the mirror was a reminder to pray for her granddaughter. On and on the notes were placed. Everyone in her family had a special spot, where she would lift them up to the Lord in prayer.

It’s so strange, we thought. As many times as we had visited her, we had never seen what was going on in her heart and in her home after we left. Even though she put up a facade of distance, we now realize she really did love her family the best way she could.

After hearing Amelia’s account, I asked her, “What did you do over the years to overcome the conflicts you experienced with your mother-in-law?” She shared what I’ve come to call the 3 keys to overcoming conflict.


“As much as I desired for my mother-in-law to be a part of our family, to know her grandchildren and enjoy her life, I came to realize that there are some people you just have to keep at arm’s length. Try as you might when that person is a destructive presence in your life you have to take measures toward self-preservation.”

Amelia’s first step toward making peace with her mother-in-law was an excellent example of the biblical model found in Romans 12:14-21. That passage offers some incredible wisdom for all who encounter ongoing conflicts with others. It reads:

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved. But leave room for the wrath of God. For it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. And if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil. But overcome evil with good.’

Do Not Stop Trying in Overcoming Conflict

This admonition from God’s Word offers some incredibly important wisdom for anyone who encounters ongoing conflict with others. God acknowledges that there are some people who will refuse to be pleasant and peaceable. This verse is not an excuse to stop trying to show love toward a disagreeable in-law. An individual can do all the praying in the world. But if the other person refuses to listen to God, then the fact must be faced that there is a limit to what can be done to reach her heart.

Even with this passage in mind, Amelia continued to keep in touch with her mother-in-law. She said,

“Our family sent cards on her birthday, and gifts for the holidays. We called her on a regular basis, and visited her as much as we thought wise. When we went to see her, we tried to keep her limitations in mind. Since she was used to being alone, we knew that bringing small children into her homemade her nervous. She worried about her knickknacks getting broken. So we decided it was best if we met in a more ‘child friendly’ environment. The McDonald’s playground became a comfortable spot for a short, noisy visit. The children could eat, play, and make messes, and it didn’t harm our relationship. Sometimes we would choose to meet at a local park. There she was free to watch the children play. And there was no concern for her flower garden, her pets, or her possessions.”

This daughter-in-law must be commended for her unselfish efforts at bridging the in-law gap. Much to her credit, she had learned that “keeping her distance” physically didn’t necessitate cutting the mother-in-law off from their love.


Thankfully, Amelia’s story contains a second step to overcoming conflict. Along with keeping a safe distance and taking precautions to make what time that is spent together pleasant, it is also imperative that we keep a watch over words. Amelia continued,

“After my mother-in-law died, I was especially glad I had bitten my tongue on more than one occasion. Believe me, I can’t count how many times I wanted to blast right back at her when she said things to me that hurt my feelings. Of course, I didn’t like her critical spirit when it was aimed my way. But nothing upset me more than when she would berate my husband. Keeping my tongue in control was, and is, one of the most serious lessons in humility I have dealt with. There were times when everything in me would want to scream, ‘You can’t talk to me like that.’ However, I discovered that when I was willing to hold back revengeful, cutting words, God then would supply the strength to control them.'”

Amelia was a living example of one who wisely accepted the truth found in Proverbs 18:21: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. When we’re willing to humble ourselves before the Lord and submit to the authority of His Word by obeying it, then we are in the best position possible. Isaiah 66:2 says, But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.


When it comes to family relationships, what Amelia finally chose to do reminds us that we have access to a divine alternative that has the potential to heal weary hearts. Ultimately, she realized she could either learn to laugh at her unpleasant situation. Nor could she lambaste the one who was stepping on her toes during her tedious in-law dance.

Though not always easy to find, Amelia managed to root out some lighter moments in her relationship with her mother-in-law. By doing so, the heaviness of tension was relieved somewhat.

“My efforts to bring some levity into the situation was sort of one-sided. Not much humor came my way. Instead, I was regular in delivering ‘the goods.’ I began to cut out funny stories out of magazines, cartoons out of newspapers, and copied humorous e-mails that others would send me. When I’d go visit, I’d take an envelope stuffed with funnies and give them to her. Sometimes she’d read them while I was there and, to my amazement, I’d hear her quietly chuckle at a few of the things. It was somehow medicinal to hear her when she tentatively giggled. To be honest, the humor I found from it all was just knowing that I really did ‘get to her.'”

We all have the same choice that Amelia had. The book of Proverbs gives us some good reasons to keep a sense of humor. Proverbs 15:13 reminds us that a joyful heart makes a cheerful face. Forget about the laugh lines and go for it! Also we are told in verse 15, A cheerful heart has a continual feast. It’s O.K. to keep laughing. That’s because a joyful heart is good medicine. But a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Keep in mind this truth I once heard:

  • We serve a God who is more than able to change our misery into a ministry.
  • He is able to transform our every test into a testimony.
  • And He is the Master of taking our helpless mess and turning it into a message of hope.

Don’t let a difficult situation with your in-laws rob you of your joy and sense of humor. Set up the boundaries of love. Live by them, even if the other one keeps stepping over the line.

As we learn to get along with our extended families, we should be blessed to know that in-laws are another way God provides more folks with whom we can give and receive love.

This (edited) article is found in the wonderful book titled, The Mother-in-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? It is written by Annie Chapman, and is published by Harvest House Publishers. This book has so much more to offer than we could give you here in this article. I’ve (Cindy) always loved everything Annie has written. But this is one of her best. I’d highly recommend this book to everyone to read who either is a mother-in-law or has a mother-in-law.

— ALSO —

The following is another article, which you may find helpful to read (posted on the Kubic.org web site) on this issue:


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Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents

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64 responses to “Overcoming Conflict With Your Mother-In-Law

  1. (UNITED STATES) Through reading this, I cried. I too, have a very alike mother-in-law who is an alcoholic. While I know that I have not always handled the situations I faced with the verbal abuse in a godly way, my husband and I have been the primary ones who have tried to make and keep peace. What makes it worse is that my father-in-law enables her at almost all times to be the way she is toward us.

    I want to be the loving person Amelia is! I admire her so much for what she has reminded me of, but biting my tongue and not defending myself has been my greatest struggle. My husband has endured abuse by her from his childhood including physical abuse and it was always easy for him to let things she said and names she called him roll off his back. Lately, my most patient passive husband has been eaten up by the consistant abuse.

    God’s Word is perfect, and wonderful, but at times -such as this for us -incredibly difficult to follow. I feel with my handling of my mother in law it’s always one step forward two steps back in how I respond to the abuse. And as Amelia said, we too never know what to expecting with an alcoholics ever changing personality and attitude, so to avoid hurt and risk of sinning, I have secluded myself from being around her as much as possible. I don’t hate her. I actually feel love toward her. But handling her has been one of the biggest struggles of my life. I pray for her not against her. I pray about my own response to her rather than God changing her all the time. I try to keep in mind, I’m the christian, she is not. The way she is behaving is expected of her, but God calls me to a higher standard. I have learned much through this, but it’s not been easy at any time and at times it feels downright hopeless.

    I ask anyone to keep me in prayer. All it takes in a relationship is one person willing to keep peace at all costs even if the other isn’t willing. I’m willing, but need MUCH prayer and help to do so. While I do not ever expect to be friends with my mother in law as long as she treats people (her husband and his family included), I just want peace. I love the verses posted here! They are beautiful. They are perfect. I think about what Jesus endured all the time and wonder how he did it. He is my inspiration and I long to be like him.

  2. (UNITED STATES) My mother inlaw just passed away and I feel somewhat guilty for not feeling mournful but instead happy and free. Its been years of her and her daughters controlling our lives. Thank God for Amelia. I had lived my life in the same way as Amelia, always biting my tongue keeping things at arms length as much as I could knowing the situation would never be in my favor. I prayed to God everyday for strength. I knew in my heart no matter how unliked I was by my mother inlaw and her daughter I still respected the fact that she was my husband’s mother even though she belittled him many times.

    Over 45 yrs of emotional pain and stress has been lifted through her passing. So after reading Amelia’s post yes, I feel happy, whole, and free! God has taken her and has given me a Great Blessing in doing so. And yes, I forgive her. I’m hoping she enjoys paradise. We will all have to answer for our transgressions. Only God knows what truly is in our minds or hearts and why we act and do the things we do.

    1. Hello Kathyrn, I identify with you in many ways. I have always prayed against my thoughts of possible peace if my MIL is to pass on. She was so mean to me, maybe unknowingly, I am not very sure, even before our wedding with her son. I made a decision to get married to her son none the less because he is a very selfless and Godfearing man who loves genuinely. Unfortunately the hurtful words and attitude keep escalating.

      After our wedding she went about denegrating me among relatives. She spoke of how the house my husband and I live in is substandard, how we don’t have money, and how I am a bad match for her son. She got to the point of telling my mother how I have messed up her son. Asking my mother whether I was a true spinster because her son was a virgin bachelor. When I gave birth to our son she came to see me in hospital and caused me much grief telling my workmates and friends who were visiting how my gynaecologist was a cheap inexperienced one. She then took all the gifts I had received in hospital and went away with them, she literally kept them. I eventually suffered from severe postpartum stress which complicated my health to the point of being operated upon.

      I have decided and worked hard towards forgiving her, yet something in me still does not want to have much to do with her. It is sad that even when I tried to explain to my husband how this affects me he was unwilling to engage in the discussion. So I now employ the keep your tongue and keep your distance principle. Meanwhile I pray for strength, a forgiving and humble spirit and that somehow she will be removed from my inner space .

  3. I hav a Mother in Law with 3 Sister in Laws n w BIL. My MIL used to contol my hubby, especially with money. She never really cared for him. The sisters are also a bad influence to the MIL. They used to be fine when we were still dating n the news of our marriage stirred problems. They pretended through the wedding preparations until after 2 yrs after the marriage. They started withdrawing 1 after another. No more calls ect. My FIL is the only angel in that house.

    My BIL ended up divorcing the mother of 3 kids because of their influence on him. I am happy because my husband stands up for me through all this. Now my MIL and sisters have over 2 years without calling. They stay about 4 hrs away and we used to visit twice a year and they never visited us. The only few times she came over our 7 yr marriage she would do so unannounced. So the last time she came was when my hubby was involved in an accident and they wanted him to come home so that they could take care of him. He refused telling them that he was were he belonged and was taken good care of by his wife. The MIL then came to see him unannounced still.

    She stayed for a week and by the time she came my hubby had recovered and I was on leave. We also took that time to prepare for our daugther’s 5 yr birthday, which we had planned before the accident. His family did not pitch in even after being invited and the MIL stayed for the party since she was there to see her recovering son.

    When she left we gave her bus fare and I called to see if she reached home safely and she was fine. That was the last time I spoke to her and to any of her daughters. Its been two and a half years now and she only calls her son. We have a 2 month old daugter and she has never called to even say hi. The only person that calls is the FIL. I have decided to make peace with this. I don’t even visit his home; he goes alone. You don’t buy love.

    1. Oh my! I don’t believe her intentions are one that she actually wants to sleep with her son! Eeeekkkk! Maybe she’s scared to lose him and be alone. Some parents including Dads will behave like this when a child gets married. Honestly, it’s like “empty nest syndrome” in overdrive! Fear will instill anger sometimes. Maybe you should all sit down and discuss some clear boundaries? I pray that you’ll find happiness in your marriage!

  4. Very torn up about my mil, fil, and bil, all them really. My hubby and I have been married 10 years with two kids who both have learning issues. My hubby has been in and out of jail this past year and I hid this fact from my kids for they could not understand this. However, they should have his family’s support and they don’t.

    You see, I’m the one his family hates, really. I mean hate, not that I don’t lash back in awful manners but to be told that I’m not allowed to call my hubby or see him due to this recent arrest is heartbreaking! I love him and I go thru the pain alone and try to be strong but I’m not made of steel! This whole down fall began in January. I just went to see him tonight and boy were they totally upset! I know he loves me and right now he can’t stand up much for me because he worries if he will ever be able to come home. He has always remained neutral and said if we can’t be nice to one another then just don’t look at each other!

    I try to understand his meekness but my flesh burns with anger towards them. They know, like his kids, he too is slow and easy to persuade. I have been told to never call his lawyer again and that they will take care of my hubby. I basically just need to but out. No one wants me around. I feel helpless. I just paid lawyers 20,000.00$ and have been there since I do. If I didn’t love him I would have left in January when this mess began and certainly would have been justified in God’s eyes but I chose to forgive the evil that had been done.

    Through tears of pain I realized I was forgiven and we have been thru so much that this offered a new foundation to build on. I have sprung for the cost of supplies and hubby has the tools to start the project but how can you raise the frames when your in laws are standing in your way??? I only wrote the most recent heartaches but if I went all the way back and put in every word I’m sure they say story is too long. I hurt alone as I have no family. The only one I had is in jail and faces a list of charges. I’m scared he won’t be home again. I worry about how to tell our kids if the fate is long. I don’t know where to go from here or how to feel. I put on my armour and smile and face the world, but inside I’m falling apart.

    1. Janie, I don’t know where you are located, but is there a prison chaplain you can talk to or a pastor? You have a lot to sort out that is more complicated than I could help you with, or that most anyone could over the Internet. I know that there are many churches throughout the U.S. that help those who have been in and out of jail and the families of those who are in and out of jail. Your complications go beyond just that issue –especially because of your in laws, but you have to start somewhere. Please pray, and seek out a church and/or a ministry that is marriage-friendly that deals with prison families. There is the ministry of Prison Fellowship. You could look them up on the Internet and see if they have someone local that you could talk to. I hope you are able to persevere and do so.

      You have so much to sort out. You really need someone who can talk to you one-on-one, who isn’t toxic or quick to give “divorce him” advice and such. You need someone who knows the dynamics of working with those in jail –especially when family situations are complicated. That’s why I recommend someone in prison or jail ministry or a pastor and church that works with families such as yours. How I pray you find what you need, as far as competent, biblically-based, loving, forgiving advice. I wish I could say that we are that ministry, but we aren’t. But I can tell you that I’m praying for you and point you in a direction that might help you. I pray you are able to find the help you need, TRULY. I pray this for your sake and for your children’s sake, and for your husband’s. May you be blessed.

  5. I have been married for 27 years. After 5 yrs of marriage, I betrayed my husband’s trust. My mil obviously had me followed, etc… She told my husband to be aware of this situation. After it came to fruition, I decided to stay and make the best of my marriage. Ever since then, my mil has accused me of other things, been very hurtful to me and it’s been like an emotional rollercoaster w/ her. She is very controlling and manipulative.

    My husband has always thrown my past up to me until the last 6-7 months. I know I’ve been forgiven for what I’ve done, but she can’t seem to let well enough alone. She lives by herself and has very little contact w/ the outside world except for her two sons and me, up until yesterday. I’ve done everything in my power to attend to her needs and to help out anytime I can; however, the past two times, my husband has stood up for me when she would degrade me or accuse me of things. I also brought up the accusations to her in front of my husband. I told her that I would no longer be calling her everyday and my husband agreed.

    I’m reading a book called Boundaries and it has helped me tremendously. I’ve had to set boundaries with her and today for the first time in 22 years, I feel peace. I only wish I’d done it many years sooner. I know God is working in our marriage and is control of every situation. We shall overcome the evilness through Him. PS -we also live next door to her -don’t ever make that choice.

  6. This article has helped me a lot… feel I was reading my own life story… Especially the point where it says hold back our tongue. There are most situations where I would want to lash out on her but somehow it just turns into sweet talk… I know God controls me during those situations and recently he has given me scriptures of 1 Thessalonians 5, Romans 12 and James 1, which all speaks of love and to love everyone just like how God will loves us.

    Many times it is really hard to abide by the divine instructions but I think if we pray to God more and more He will definitely give us the strength to hold on and smile at the storm.

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights. There’s no doubt that it’s difficult to hold your tongue when we’re faced with an in law situation where we want to just lash back or lash out. But praying and taking a step back helps a lot to help us gain a better perspective of how we should truly respond.

  7. I just came across this site whilst surfing the net. On my wedding day my mother in law ignored me completely yet we were fine before and this has been hurting me a lot. My husband observed it too, but turned a blind eye. He said I am making problems if I ask, but promised to ask her why or if I’d done something to make her behave this way. Today, 2 months after our wedding, it got to me after he spoke to her but didn’t ask. I couldn’t take the hurt so I called and politely resolved it, yet she said she doesn’t recall it. Nevertheless my marriage is strained as I type this, because he feels I made an issue and we fought. Was it wrong to ask?

  8. My girlfriend’s mother is just one thing I’m dealing with right now. I feel like she kicking her unfulfilled goals through her daughter. She agrees to everything she says, making decisions for my son, which I have told her I have to make decision for my son. If that’s an issue, please advise me. She just told me three weeks ago that she doesn’t love me any more base on the fact that her mother is controlling my relationship.

  9. My mother-in-law slanders my mothering, my housekeeping, wifely acumen, etc. My father-in-law takes pics of my boobs, butt, acts out too suggestively with our teen daughters so we’re headed for permanent estrangement. It is not easy. Lots of tears, discovery of betrayals and treacheries, revelations from our kids about my father-in-law’s behavior towards and around them. Sometimes I think God may actually be telling us that all is lost. That’s what we have come to realize. Making a decision that closes doors is terribly hard. We are actually plotting a huge move to get away from these issues! I’m so relieved!

  10. My mother-in-law is narcissistic and a dangerous liar. She freely admits she will lie to get her way and to manipulate her very adult children. As long as you are jumping every time she wants something (which is frequent and extremely time consuming), you are fine. But the minute you are not available or disagree with her, she turns on you like a cobra and spreads lies through out her few friends all the way to extended family members. She has actually said she could make her sons choose her over their wives. How do you deal with someone like that? My husband says she has been “crazy” as far back as he can remember. She never has a conversation without talking bad about someone and delights on using the “N” word because she knows how offensive it is to me.

    1. I can truly agree with what you are going through. I experiencing the same situation with my mother-in-law. In my face is oh I love you and I’m happy you married my son. But then I get phone calls and facebook messages/status saying she is talking about me and how she hates me. All she ever does is control her son and then flip the script and say I’m controlling him; that I’m like a bad apple with a disease that keeps infecting him.

      She calls all around the city talking to everybody about me so when we go to family events everybody is looking at me sideways like why is she here? I’m honestly tired and it has hurt me long enough.

  11. It is 3 years now that I am married with my husband. We come from two different cultures that even makes it harder. My husband is a Christian as my mother in law but he hasn’t cut the umbilical cord with his mum. He knows it and seems to be happy this way. We live in the next house to her. She is recently widowed and every time we go out, it is with her. The worst thing is that my husband has put her first in her life.

    I haven’t been very wise many times and argued with him and also had a competitive spirit with her. My husband is financially depending on her even though we talked many times about it. He is good that way. As for me, I don’t want she buy things for us. My husband always talks to her first for big decisions like moving or buying an apartment because it is her money. It is so hard and I feel so discourage right now. I had thoughts of divorce but I don’t want to as I beleive that this alliance I have done with him and God is until death.

    She has a big input into my husband’s life and always tries to control everybody. Right now, I try to be respectful but try not to be too close of her to avoid conflct. But it is so hard to have to accept that I might have to stay number 3 in his heart after God and his mum, maybe until death. What can I do?

    1. My husband too is dependent and confides in his mom and puts her first. He does not make any decisions without her agreement. For 13 years I have endured this. My husband has been distant all thirteen years, no relationship and no children as she warns him not to have any.

  12. My mother in law has a serious attachment to her son, she does not want him to be married to any woman.

    She smudged my lipstick across my face when I walked out the church. She phoned daily on our honeymoon, I don’t know what she said, but my husband didn’t want me….so I didn’t have a honeymoon. On return to our new home and apartment, she would phone every morning awfully early to awaken us from sleep…I guess to prevent any good morning feelings or events from us. She calls regularly for 13 years, to see where he is, when he is home, and she calls him over many times cause she always wants help with so many things.

    Before our wedding day she told him: “I am your mother, you can trust me, I am the one woman who will always be here for you…cause I am your mother…I will never leave you. But…another woman…there is no guarantee that she will always be there…she may leave you…but I won’t. Just remember that!” She told me regularly for the last 13 years not to have children because it’s a big responsibility, and she is just trying to help cause she knows what’s best. She constantly advises that family (she) comes first…not our marriage.

    I don’t live like a wife…I don’t have rights like a wife. I don’t have a relationship with my husband. I can’t understand how she switches him off like that? Although she does dangle carrots…so I guess it’s that?

    My mother in law phones me often to say: “You don’t know what my son needs, I know how to keep him happy”. She phones every year and says: “Happy Anniversary. Thank you for looking after my boy…he belongs to me….I know you are his wife…but he is mine. He is my son…he belongs to me!”

    My husband has great respect for his mom, he won’t protect me or our marriage. Every time she is nasty…he takes his frustration out on me. He has grown to despise me the more she interferes.

    We are now getting divorced. I never got to experience a union or marriage with my husband all these 13 years. I am 39 and my hair has gone so grey. I accept that this is part of my spiritual journey and I will try to move forward.

    1. “Happy Anniversary. Thank you for looking after my boy…he belongs to me….I know you are his wife…but he is mine. He is my son…he belongs to me!” You took her baby boy away from her, you need to consider moving across country, you will really be in the dog house, but will improve your marriage.

  13. I just want to say thanks for the inspiration from this message. I honestly have had all I can handle with my mother-in-law trying to control my marriage. I have prayed and prayed. I’m just asking any and everybody to keep me in your prayers because my mother-in-law sometimes can be the devil on two feet. I hate when my husband is always put in the middle and she tries to make him always feel bad and in the end saying everything she says and does is right.

    1. This article is extremely helpful and wise. I wish I had the mental strength to follow the advice.

      My MIL and FIL visit often and stay over for a few months every 2 years. My husband and I, married for 10 years, live in a different country. I have no problems with them visiting us, but the few months that they stay over are so stressful and painful. My MiL has no boundaries and behaves like a brat demanding attention from her son constantly and throwing tantrums and sulks if she doesn’t get her way. She behaves like a 2 year old! My FIL just watches indulgently and encourages her. Usually I keep them at a distance and try not to complain too much or call her out. But over the years, it’s getting difficult. Her criticism and her possessiveness of her son is causing me stress and anger.

      This visit has been especially hard with them taking offense at everything. In the end, I snapped and had a verbal explosion after she threw a tantrum about a nap I took during the day! She ranted and raved and cried and my husband supports her and was abusive to me and threatened to disrespect me and stay away from me till I beg their forgiveness for yelling at her.

      My husband has never been able to accept she is erratic and disrespectful. He bullies me always to get his way. There are many times I think I should walk away from the marriage but I hold on, pray and accept him for who he is. He is always right and I’m always wrong. 10 years of marriage and I’m responsible for all the fights and mistakes. He’s never wrong. He slowly chips away at my self esteem and self worth with nasty comments during the smallest tiffs and fights.

      This time around I’m scared. I will apologize to maintain peace but it will not be sincere and yet again I’m bending down to pressure from husband and the in laws and allowing them to have power and control over my life. Apologizing is not a weakness of character, I know, but she’s going to take it as a sign she won and her son is on her side. My husband even made it a point to let them both know he is with them and that I’m nobody whose opinions don’t matter to him. He has been sleeping in their room till I apologize.

      What do I do? I’m so worn out. I have two little kids who watch this drama and may get affected.

      1. Dear Troubled, All you can do is the best you can do with the circumstances you are handed. I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s true. Your In laws have no idea all that they are missing out on –as far as having a good relationship with you, if they would just take a back seat (realizing this is not THEIR home, but you and your husband’s). Obviously, your husband is clueless. Pray that he gets a clue. In the meantime, do the best you can do under the circumstances. Do your best to consider the source of the nasty comments –coming from those that are in the wrong… and hold your head up high, despite the game-playing and bullying behavior. You are doing the best you can… that is all you can do.

        There is an article we have posted on this web site, which has helped me and others… perhaps it will help you as you read it and take in the truth of what you are reading: http://host.agencysrvr.com/~marriage/living-in-confidence-because-of-who-you-are-in-christ/. May the Holy Spirit, our “Wonderful Counselor” minister to your needs and help you to do and continue to do the right thing (being confident in who you are), even when others around you are doing what they shouldn’t. And may your children eventually see the truth of the matter and NOT follow those types of examples in how to treat others… It may take a while, but I pray they will follow good examples, and not bad ones.

        1. I have similar mother in law issues; I’ve smiled my way through it for years but after hitting 20yrs of it I’ve reached my end. She has never detached from being mommy to being a mom of adult sons whom have been married now for decades. The Lord blessed me with a hubby who sees all of her bad behavior but struggles on what to do about it. She doesn’t own any bad behaviors or express one bit of remorse even after being told verbally and in writing. At this point his parents are 76 & 81, and we are struggling to figure out what his obligations are to them? We live thousands of miles apart so that certainly helps but still frustrating when someone that is supposed to want the best for their son only causes him grief.

  14. Seems like there are more issues with mothers of the husband than the wives’ mothers. Ladies, remember that you took their baby boy away from them and you will never measure up! (Just being sarcastic!!) It is kinda true.
    What to do:
    1. You have to respect them. If you fight them you will lose the respect of your spouse & their siblings.
    2. If they have a habit of showing up unexpectantly, ask them to call ahead. If it continues, try to find out when they are coming & be sure to be gone.
    3. If necessary, you have to live in the next town or next state. It is hard to be away from family, but what is it worth? Watch the tv show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’

  15. It’s the holidays. My mother in law lies about me, comes to my home and says offensive things about my father in law. She thinks he is cheating. She hates his sister. She is a liar. She blames everything on other people.

    On Thanksgiving I heard they were going to be alone so I was going to drop my plans and cook after working for 60 or more hours a week and invite them over. I called and asked and she was having her own. That’s fine but she lied to my husband and said I didn’t ask her. Then she hung up on me because I told her she was mad; we weren’t coming. Her daughter dropped her plans with her so the anger is misdirected. Mind you, she had been over 3 times before and didn’t invite us one time. I’m a Christian and it’s just someone that I feel I need to love at arms length. What do I do?

    1. Tyawanna from Ms. I don’t even know where to start. As a lot of you all, I’ve been married for 16 yrs so why can’t there be peace? The red flag was waved but ignored before I said I do. For 11 yrs I didn’t fight back; I didn’t push my husband to fix it because I knew he would just straddle the fence & try to keep the peace.

      Then life took us down a couple very bumpy roads. I thought our marriage was solid but unfortunately not. In 2004 my daughter (I have a daughter & son; he has a son & daughter) (he adopted my daughter now 25 in 00) was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. My mother in law was supposed to be paying medical insurance through the family logging co but hadn’t so within a couple of months we went from owing very little to owing 65,000+ in medical bills not including food gas etc. for hospital stays.

      Now we also had my son in remission from cancer but still having checkups every 3 weeks, hers every 3 weeks in 2 different states neither ms he worked; I had to quit, which caused a lot more controversy than ever imagined and caused in law parents to blame me for my children being sick. Then company needed 17,000.00 to keep a piece of equipment or they would go under. I cashed an IRA in and payed it off. Not even a thank you. I was never paid back.

      Then needing to upgrade more money I said no. Basically I wanted him out of the company but by now I’m in college working 2 jobs while practically raising 4 kids. Graduate job Monday after loved it but no health in her meds are over 2,000.00 a month. Changed jobs now benefiites then our school closes the baby boy n girl always together now miles apart oldest married living in another state. I’m now working 16 hrs 4 days a week driving an 1 1/2 one way to get my son to school me to work. By now I’m tired n what do you know not only am I the bad dil I’m the drug head because I’m too skinny to be in this family. That’s stuff I lived w hearing all these yrs.

      Well my husband had an affair but it was OK; it was me who made him do it and the one who turned him into a dope head. I’ve never done drugs and when I married I weighed 98 lbs was around 120 at the time now bit more but still doing them drugs. Well they start lying to my children in already broken into pieces over my hubs affair my children turned against me my husband was beating me pretty regular we had lost our home but parents refiances it felt hell had to be better than the disgusting person they make me into I od a month in the hospital n the day I came home the 2014’ms tornadoes hit we lost almost everything horses barns tractors house badly damaged. Cleaning up I did on my own w a riding lawn mower except for trees that I had hauled out by a truck. My husband moved a guy friend in then 2 more so rumors were I was with them all. I was beat bad n Nov had no shoes slept in woods 3days hiding covered w dirt n leaves to keep warm ran from shelter to shelter then a friends but he found me n a couple nights later he was at it again I was giving 24hrs to grab n go by his mom I did shortly received letter iccoulnt come on property that was in February still dont. Went back to homeless shelter he had my Tahoe reposed while in was at the funeral home. We r now Tryon to make our marriage work with counseling but he had to move into my 3 room shack cause she want have papers thrown out. We were still doing really good until the holidays she invited everyone but me had it both eatings on my mothers day for 25+yrs to pull my kids away our relationship is great it didn’t work. They know the truth now but I still have lost my other 2 n it kills me. I finally blew a gasket lost my religion etc. It didn’t do any better or worse for her but made me pray for forgiveness cause I allowed Satan to win at that moment so for sure that’s not the road to travel but what road I have know idea. I just know I don’t have the strength nor is my marriage strong enough to continue with her evilness. I tried no contact they sent a man to threaten me. They have ruined me in use to b outgoing rode horses every Saturday in large club worked in the public always happy strong independent but know I build pallet furniture at home n rarely do I go out in public.

      So I beg for prayers and any suggestions. Please I’ll try anything. My husband’s temper has calmed a notch or 2 but I’m still scared of him so I don’t ask him to defend me. I allow him to continue to straddle the fence and now I feel our marriage is a business partnership, nothing to do with love.