Marriage is a sacred bond.
Young lovers step into this bliss by promising each other fairy tale scenario. Men, generally, promise to be there for their wives, to never leave them alone, to be their protector, and what not. They claim to be their knight in the shining armor.
However, the relationship, in itself, is not as easy.
When two people tie the knot, no matter how much time they have spent together before, something changes. The attitude starts to shuffle, the ideas are different, the future plans are different, and their responsibilities shift. People also start to take each other for granted and react differently to in-law conflicts.
The dynamics of a house changes when a new person comes in.
They have to make space for them all on their own, and this process can be tougher than it has to be if the upbringing and the family structure of the two are completely different; and if people are not willing to budge or make room.
Why is it that we only hear about women being difficult acceptors? Why is it that only the mothers in law are the ones who are the most difficult to please? Why is it that mothers find it that difficult to see their son be happily married?
It is in their psyche
Psychologists have explained that when a baby is born, they look dotingly and in a loving manner at their parents, especially mothers.
Mothers have a distinct bond with their children; they can sense their child’s need almost telepathically.
They are there almost as soon as the first ‘coo’ releases from the child’s mouth. The love and the feeling of being one long after the child has been born cannot be explained.
Mothers-in-law usually feel threatened by the presence of another woman in their son’s life. They are not pleased, especially, if they think that her daughter-in-law is not suitable for her son – which is almost always the case.
The reasons behind their actions
Different people use different tactics.
At times, mothers-in-law deliberately start to distance the daughters-in-law, or at times they would taunt or tease, or they would still invite their son’s ex-partners to the events.
Such incidents will, obviously, lead to arguments and fights.
In such cases, the men are stuck in between the mother and the wife. And men were not made to choose. If push comes to shove, the best that they can do is support their mothers. They are not much helpful during such nasty in-law conflicts.
There are several reasons for it –
- They think that their mothers are vulnerable and should not upset them, whereas the wives are stronger and are capable of handling the worst.
- Their childhood and pre-birth bond are still very much present, and it is very likely that the son is incapable of admitting the faults of the mother.
- Men are natural avoiders. It is scientifically proven that men cannot handle stress well and would duck whenever they would have to select between the wife and the mother.
Men, at times of conflict, either run away or take their mother’s side.
In the first case, the act of leaving is a sign of betrayal. Women feel that they are being left alone at the time of need and they feel abandoned. Little do they know that it is an act of protection on the part of their husbands; but because it is seldom communicated, the women think the worst.
In the second case, men generally think of their mothers as vulnerable weaklings who need protection much more than their wives – who are young and strong. In this case, women feel alone and unprotected from the onslaught of the family. Because they are new to the household, women rely on their husband for protection. And when this line of defense fails, the first crack in the marriage appears.
What both partners need to keep in mind is that both of them face such dilemmas while going face-to-face with each other’s families.
It is up to them as a couple how they work through it.
Husband and wife both, have to take responsibilities and sides, when needed, of their partners. Their partners rely on them for that. They are the only known and loved the face in a house full of strangers, at times.
Women, here, have the upper hand. They have more finesse when handling such circumstances because they belong to the same gender, they have more experience while dealing with their own mothers, and then they are more in tune with themselves than the male counterpart.
A word from the wise
Women are advised never to use the phrase, ‘Whose side you are on?’
If it has come to the point that you needed to put that question into words, the chances are that you’re not going to like the reply as well. There is no big secret to things, just play the game wisely. Else, continuous in-law conflicts will cause a significant rupture in your relationship with your spouse sooner or later.