The IN LAWS blog
This is the ONE that SO many of you voted for and I've had so many requests by email for and lots and lots and lots of questions about asking for advice on different topics around in laws..
To begin with I will make this VERY CLEAR.. I am addressing some stereotypical ideas.. issues that some people have talked to me about and cultural things that I have seen... They are in NO WAY reflective of ALL in laws and marriages with in laws.. and not based purely on my OWN relationship with my in laws.
Since the very first day ever.. girls have been subliminally told that the perfect daughter in law is the one that lives with her in laws forever, serves their every need, leaves all her own needs to do what the husband and his family want..
Im not sure why this is.. but it has been and luckily it is changing!
Why do I say 'luckily'? Well.. in my opinion.. it's just UNREALISTIC for any woman to drop her own needs and live this kind of 'life' happily, I mean really happily!
I say this from seeing my own mum and the 'old school' mums who have lived their life like this... sometimes I would think is this really what marriage should be like? but..Alhamdulillah for our parents and everything they have done for us!
Today from what I have seen.. the daughter in laws are categorised in the following:
1 .. The Ideal daughter in law - she lives with her in laws forever, spends all day at home, up at the crack of dawn and sleeps after everyone is snoring
2. Independent modern woman - Yes, this is the daughter in law who did not live with in laws at all, in fact, she moved to their own place straight after the wedding day. (or on her WEDDING day, Can you believe it!)
3. The fakester - Once upon a time, she was the ideal one, living with the in laws.. then BHAM.. she's moved with the husband to their own place.. how fake eh?
So which do you fall in? Or are you deciding OMG which do I fall in?
Truth is, there is NOTHING wrong with either of these categories! However, when you're having the conversations with your spouse before marriage about all your expectations and future, your dear mother / elders are probably whispering in your ear.. DON'T YOU DARE SAY YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR OWN PLACE!
Out of complete fear, many women tend to just say that to their potential husband.
On the other hand, the brothers out there also get a lot of stick from parents who say, DON'T YOU DARE CHOOSE A WOMAN WHO WANTS TO LIVE IN THEIR OWN PLACE!
The struggles for our brothers too theses days..
-If they take their parents side, they are known as the mummys boy..
-If they decide yes they want to move and have their own place, they are known as being 'whipped' by their mrs.
-Or worse.. they just can't decide and say 'we'll see' hoping things will eventually get sorted (risky move there bros!)
Think back to my first ever emails and my e-book - my advice over and over again is.. communication is key! Be honest and explain what you want... and there is NOTHING wrong with any of your choices you make. Every HUSBAND and WIFE has their own reasons for wanting to live in their own place or live with their parents.. find a spouse who wants what you want.. NOT what they have been TRAINED to say by their parents!
So Alhamdulillah you've got married and now part of the in laws family.
How do you cope?
Well.. if you are someone that is going to be living with in laws (or are already living with in laws) then heres some tips for you:
Oh wait.. before you say how can I say this.. well yes I lived with my in laws for a bit so some advice is from personal experience.. some from friends / family who do live with their in laws...
- Treat them as you would treat your OWN family.
There is this constant argumentative statement I hear over and over "Islamically it is NOT my duty to look after HIS parents"
SISTERS- Yes you are right there, but is it not your duty to look after your husbands home and possessions? His home includes his family. Imagine a scenario where it is your parents who are ill, needed help, and your husband turns round and says "It's not MY duty?"
BROTHERS- She's right to an extent too.. Don't expect after marriage your Wife will do it all for your parents and you can sit back and not care! If you want HER to love and care for YOUR parents.. do the same too. If your wife can see you don't bother with them, then why would she?
This mutual respect and care for parents on both sides will strengthen your marriage - just think of the double parents blessings on this beautiful marriage inshaAllah.
- Be realistic from Day ONE
Unfortunately with all these 'bollywood dramas' and stereotypical ways that we grow up with, this idea of 'how to be the good daughter in law' has been taken to some extreme levels!
I know plenty of women who from day one try to take on WAY too much than they can even manage. Often trying to take over every single responsibility in the house, when they have NEVER done anything in their own parents home. This can then become extremely overwhelming and physically draining.
BROTHERS - when your wife is lovingly trying to do this and then realises "I can't really do it, or I'm tired".. don't flip! She tried mashaAllah! Smile, Thank her... HELP her!
SISTERS- This is why I say, communication is key! Be honest and open - If you say, I've never done this before - no one is going to kill you!
IN LAWS - If she is trying to do this.. SMILE, Thank her, HELP HER and when she has to slow down and try do just what she can.. Don't moan that 'She's changed and doesn't do it anymore!'
- You married HIM not the family
Although yes your in laws are part of your married life, your marriage is to HIM. Give your husband that time.. that time alone too! And I'm not just saying those intimate moments in the bedroom.
I always remember waiting to eat with my husband.. it meant we had that time together to talk through our meal. Watch our favourite programs together.. and a weekly date night out.
Having those moments together gives that special moments that you then treasure.
SISTERS - DO NOT use this time to complain and moan about his family or petty things that have happened.. what exactly do you want him to do about it? Can you really make him choose between 'woman who raised you' and 'woman who will raise your kids?'
BROTHERS - Give her your FULL attention - after everything she does for you and your family - living with a whole new routine, changes and everything is HARD.. APPRECIATE IT!
IN LAWS- 3 words - LEAVE THEM ALONE! (need I say more!)
Next - The Independent modern one.
OMG the amount of cursing I heard on women who did this (from my elders and the gossiping women in the neighbourhood as I was growing up!)
If this is what you choose to do.. or did..let me assure you.. there is NOTHING wrong with it.
The ONLY wrong I would say though..
SISTERS - if you did discuss that 'Yes I will live with your family blah blah blah'
This has made them prepare mentally (and sometimes logistically) with room changes etc.. only to then never stay? BE CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT!
Now I do NOT blame the women on this .. Marriage is between husband and wife.
So BROTHERS - Make your intentions CLEAR to your family. It is VERY EASY for you to just say ' I changed my mind' last minute or expect your wife to 'break this news'. This sadly just leaves a very bitter taste to the relationship with the in laws which sadly affects your marriage to some extent.
MAN UP BROS.. Decide what YOU and YOUR WIFE want together! Decide this mutually.. agree and make it CLEAR! Whether this is something your parents wanted or not; explain your reasons and take responsibility for your actions.
Once you are living together and settled..
- Make time for your in laws.
BROTHERS - You have the duty to look after your parents, so visiting them, looking after them and keeping your relationship strong is important.
SISTERS - Build that relationship with your in laws, visit them with your husband, try find common interests you can do together, make extra effort when they are ill, celebrate their happy moments and share their sorrows.
IN LAWS - Get over that mentality that 'they're gone and didn't stay' .. be happy for them and continue to make that effort.
Finally.. this is the category I fall in so I do laugh at myself when I use this word... FAKESTER ... LOL!
3. Lived with in laws and then moved out
From most conversations I have had with you all.. many of you fall in this category.
Now, the reasons why people move can differ and I think this is where it matters the most. Also how things carry on AFTER the move really explains things too..
I used the word fakester because majority of the sisters who end up moving out, start as the 'category 1 - ideal one living with in laws'. Things are great and everyone happy.. but for whatever reason you have moved.. there will always be some 'gossipers' who would say "She was so fake and just did this for show"
The negative ideas that once the happy couple are in their own humble abode, this daughter in law will never bother again, the son will become distant (usually her fault for making them move) and back to that 'bitter relationship'.
Many couples have to move these days; I mean let's be realistic; houses do not accomodate the large families now; unless you have a mansion it's not realistic.
Or; In a house with many brother in laws - often resulting in the women not being able to have enough privacy especially for sisters who want to be covered / veiled.
If you are making this decision to move out; DISCUSS this with the family together.
Brothers do not leave it for your wife to break the news...
Sisters do not hide away while he breaks the news..
Even better if this is something you KNEW you would do from DAY ONE.. make sure that YOU as SONS have explained this to your parents.
Often it's not even the negative gossip that scares the in laws.. to be honest.. it's that routine of seeing you everyday and knowing you were there.. it's a sad feeling to see you leave the nest. So don't hold grudges and feel any anger or resentment.
Once moved.. Same thing.. continue your relationship.
Alhamdulillah I love having my in laws over to mine as much as I go over to theirs.. having sleepovers and lots of laughs.. a blessing in the marriage.
On the Other hand, unfortunately.. there are sad situations where the leaving from the family home is due to an argument or a negative situation that has escalated.
This can often be harder to fix BUT not impossible.
Nicest way possible to say this.. but... crap happens! Think back to growing up with your own siblings and parents.. the screams and tantrums.. the frustration and anger.. these things happen with your in laws too.
SISTERS - When this happens - stop running to your husband. Can you imagine the most difficult situation it puts him in?
I've heard from one family member - "Hearing this over and over again I get to a point I just want to laugh out of madness!"
Yes little things add up and it gets frustrating.. but thats why it is IMPORTANT to have those alone time.. those date nights.. those special times together awayfrom the rest of the world!!
BROTHERS -As much as you love your parents and have that duty to them.. it is your duty to look after your wife too. I have witnessed in laws take complete advantage of the daughter in law, she may not say anything to the husband.. but YOU HAVE EYES and common sense! Speak out and explain.
Often your family may not even see any wrong unless you tell them.
In laws are not the most important part of a marriage - although we have been brainwashed to believe that is the make it or break it part of a marriage - it is not!
"And we created you in PAIRS"
If you do not have that mutual understanding, respect and love between each other, NOTHING will work.
The in laws are part of the package and you just got to deal with it as you have dealt with your own family all your life!
As far as being an in law myself -
I always said to my mummy.. I would prefer to have a sis in law who doesn't know how to cook, clean etc and can't really do the 'typical traditional roles' BUT who genuinely loves the family and has a beautiful marriage with my bro
having someone who does ALL the chores and is the stereotypical perfect daughter in law but has a crappy relationship with my brother and gossips behind our back!
What do you think?
ALHAMDULILLAH we have been blessed with what we wanted! : )
So that's my little piece on in laws and marriage - please forgive me if I have said anything to upset - the issues have been so diverse and really difficult to tackle in one blog.. but I have tried to put the main points there with advice that inshaAllah will help.
Please do remember how important it is to have that time with your spouse.. love, cherish, respect and understand each other.. and inshaAllah all trials and tribulations shall be overcome.
Until next time,