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LOVE TRIANGLE: You, Mother-in-Law and Your Man

  • IWB Post
  •  February 14, 2014

A married man often seems to be the rope in a tug-of war between the two most important ladies of his life – MOTHER and WIFE. He tries to placate two women who are effectively in position of authority over him.

 In words of a victim of emotional torture:

“I got married at the age of 17 and gave birth to a girl child, my mother-in-law started troubling me as she wanted a grandson. She asked my husband to leave me as I failed to give him a son. Luckily, I was blessed with a son next time but in the following 19 years of marriage, she tortured me to the limits where I fell in depression. My husband is blindly following his mother to the extent that he gives all his salary to her – and then takes pocket money from her till date. He divorced me once because his mother asked him leave me but due to our extended family and kids pressure we got married again. However, either my mother in law has not changed or my husband. Now I am planning to Divorce him forever after my daughter’s wedding in a couple of months. If he cannot act as a Man and cannot protect his wife from the whims of an unreasonable mother, then he should stay with his Mommy as a kid forever. I do not want to live in this hell anymore.”


And there can be a very different story as well. Mrs. Swati Sharma, an educator shares:

“My mother in law is a blessing to me as she loves me so much that I call her “my mummy” even in front of my biological mother. She taught me to be independent and motivates me to follow my dreams. She frees me from all the responsibilities of house and kids so that I can move ahead in my chosen career. Without her I couldn’t have been where I am.”

Dr. Nalini Upadhyaya, an eminent writer and mother-in-law, speaks her point of view:

“Today’s young generation is missing the most important ingredient of any relationships -Patience. Girls are looking for Grooms without Mothers so that they do not have adjust with them and face interference from them. They want to have their own world with their husbands because they have heard so many stories about dangerous mother-in-laws. BUT times are changing, and so are we, the elders. We are ready to give them space and prosper with their chosen careers but we do not want to be left alone. We want to be loved and respected. In any relationships arguments do occur. Then we should talk over it when both of us are in a good mood. I have given my daughter-in-laws their space and they give me all the love and respect.”


To make marriage work, a man needs to clearly differentiate and delineate boundaries for his mom and for his wife. Few women readily want to share the position of the Queen of the castle with mother-in-law. However, just give it a thought that she gave birth to your man and took care of him in thick and thin, through sleepless nights and tiring days, – and he will always be indebted to his Mother for it. She needs his love and attention too.

Now the question arises how can patterns of behavior and possessiveness change? They must be changed gently. Married couple should lovingly help mothers get into their new roles of being mother-in-law by communicating concerns when a conflict takes place.  Let mother-in-law know that you appreciate the willingness to help out with chores around the house. Do ask from your mother-in-law some tips which she used when she was newly married. By being included in the daily and interesting chores, mother-in-laws feel less threatened when lifestyle changes have to be made because of a new lady entering her son’s life. The role of a man as a husband and son should be to help foster a bond between his wife and his mother.

From a husband’s view point on in- laws V/s wife tussle:

“Normally, especially in arranged marriages, a girl is not very open to her husband. And she also feels that if she comes up with something negative about mother-in-law, husband might get upset. Thus she tells everything first to her mother, who is often her best friend and becomes her first and most important guide in these relationships. I expect from my wife’s mother too that if there is any miscommunication between my mother and my wife then she as a mother should make my wife understand the importance and fragility of these relations. I am lucky that my wife and my family, especially my parents, share a great rapport. And I must admit sometimes they confide in her more than me, and whenever I ask my wife about the secret recipe, she tells me that she has seen the same chemistry between her mother and her grandmother. So it is the same bond she has developed with my family. Tiffs do take place but both parties become restless after the argument till they hug and make up over happy tears.”


According to the Holy Shri Shri Ravi Shankar relations between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can be improved by following these simple steps:

1. Not setting different scales for mother and mother-in-law. If we can laugh and shrug at our mothers’scolding we can do it too with our mother-in-law.

2. Not arguing with mother in law. Arguments give rise to fights and misunderstandings. Win her heart with love and empathy.

Some other tips for making the lives of men sandwiched between mothers and wives easier are:

1. Lower your expectations: Mother-in-law is as new to you as you are to her so do not expect her to mold up to your expectations overnight. You have to give her time to understand you and your abilities to take care of her beloved son.

 2. Talk to your husband: If you have any problems with your mother in law, do not go and confront her immediately. First talk to your husband about it who knows her much better than you and would be in a much better position to solve it.

3. Improve Sense of Humour: Try to look at things in a lighter light and instead of taking stress try to laugh it off. This way you would be able to keep your peace of mind intact.

This goes for mother-in-law too. They must also consider daughter-in-law as their daughters and give them the same treatment as they expect their daughters to get from their in-laws. We must understand that every individual is different. They need their spaces. And thus, we must come on a common platform of building a home full of love – and then move ahead.

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