Handling a biased in-law
Dealing with in-laws can be very tricky. However, sharing a good relationship with your in-laws is important; this is because if you live with them, you will be spending a lot of time with them.
Ama had just finished her youth service in the same town her elder sister Idah lived with her family. She spent her entire service year in their house. Idah was a banker with one of the new generation banks while her husband Asah was a medical doctor. He provided everything his family needed and never complained throughout Amah’s stay in the house.
Things got out of hand when Idah started keeping late nights and her husband, who had on several occasions, cautioned her against it decided to react. After staying awake till 10 pm and his wife had not returned, he locked the doors and went to bed. This infuriated Amah who quarreled with her brother-in-law, calling him all sorts of names until Idah returned. Demanding to know what the problem was, she also took sides with her younger sister who kept insisting that there was nothing wrong with her sister coming home late. The husband became very disappointed when he saw his wife’s reaction to what her sister had just done.
The story above shows that when you are married, your in-laws (from the man or woman’s side) form a part of your extended family. In other words, they become a part of your responsibility until when they can ‘find their feet’ but sometimes, relatives tend to take sides with their son or daughter, brother or sister, whether they are at fault or not, as shown in the story above.
This brings a question to mind: How would you handle a biased in-law? Lifextra went to town and got interesting responses from the public as people readily expressed their minds on the matter.
Aleeyhu Ismaeel, a student, simply said, “To be at peace with all, do what he/she likes. Don’t complain; just do it.”
Also speaking to Lifextra, Helen Ijeoma Pius, a mother of two, thinks that the best thing to do is “press your IGNORE button. Just do your God-given best and leave the rest. That kind of in-law will never appreciate you even if you cut off your head and place it on their plates.”
Another student, Tóyìn Sharifdeen Awókúnlé, said “It’s simple, just take the in-law as your cross and go with the flow in the best matured behaviour you can wear because Yorùbá people do say, ààlò kò ràn’kà”.
Zange Isa, who resides in Kebbi State, added, “A home with freedom and without law is a home of chaos, but a home with law and no freedom of living is a home of both slave and chaos. For me, if you has a biased in-law you are just like a slave. Therefore, the only way to handle biased in-laws is through prayers and dedication to your good work. Change will surely come.”
An article titled “Trouble with the in-laws? Ten tips to keep your cool”, outlined some ways in which biased in-laws can be handles. The author Jacinta wrote: “Establish and maintain boundaries because it helps to be very clear in your own mind about what is acceptable to you and what is not (for example what are your expectations about the amount of time you spend with the in-laws?). You and your partner need to talk about this and negotiate. The couple must then present a united front.”
Other steps she gave include “Protect your Privacy. Problems in your relationship are not up for discussion with the in-laws. Again, this is about boundaries. Speak to a trusted friend or counsellor about relationship issues; finally, be aware of negative bias. Try not to see every comment your mother- in-law makes as a criticism. Sometimes we can feel so anxious, irritated and downright furious with our mother-in-law that we see every comment as a put down. If appropriate, actually ask her opinion on something. Whether you take her advice is then up to you but you have at least shown your willingness to consider her feelings.”