Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 27, Tuesday February 14, 2006




In laws vs newly weds

We have all heard horror stories about mothers-in-law, in-laws are the biggest fear for most newly-wed women.

With the sliding of a wedding ring, you somehow become the member of another family. A marriage certificate changes life forever for most. Your days of dawdling in bed till late in the morning or your temper tantrums at little mishaps are over, once you tie the sacred knot.

In our society, it's mostly the women who experience a lot of changes in their lifestyle after their wedding. This is because it's the women who leave their home, parents and childhood belongings to live in a new house among new relatives. Our in-laws often overlook this important fact, they sometimes fail to realise that it's not an easy task to leave one's own family and adapt to new surroundings all of a sudden.

In many cases, a small misunderstanding sows the seeds of bigger and more serious future family problems. So it's recommended that common and noticeable problems should be resolved during the first few months of marriage.

Samia and Nayeem got wed about 6 months back. Both of them work for two leading financial institutions of the country. Samia studied in co-educational schools all her life and keeps in touch with her friends, both male and female.

But right after her wedding, her in-laws put restrictions on her socialising with men saying that they didn't think it was decent for women to have male friends. Last week Samia failed to attend the party thrown by one of her childhood friends and his wife. Even social interaction with office colleagues seems completely unnecessary to her in-laws.

This has been creating tension between Samia and her otherwise thoughtful and caring in-laws. Nayeem, not wanting to become a part of this tension, plays the role of a silent witness in the entire affair, putting Samia under tremendous strain.

Many families don't readily agree to their daughters-in-law pursuing their career after marriage. Mehreen knows how important it is for her to earn money for her parents. Mehreen's parents worked very hard to raise her university tuition fee. Mehreen feels that it's now her obligation to do something for her aging parents, and wants to contribute financially to her parents.

Besides, she feels that it's only normal that she would make good use of her 17 years of education. However, Mehreen's in-laws refuse to accept this seemingly simple truth. Mehreen's spouse, who belongs to a well-off family, believes that she doesn't need to go to work to earn money.

What Mehreen's husband fails to notice is that being an educated young woman with a high degree of self-respect, his wife would never take money from him to help her own family, leaving Mehreen in a serious dilemma.

We believe that every family should try to be a little more tolerant when they have a new daughter-in-law in the house. Instead of imposing a certain belief or a decision on the bride, it's suggested that the in-laws put themselves in the newly wed woman's shoes and try to analyse her perception.

There's nothing better than an open discussion. Both the parties can sit together and decide on the solution whenever any problem arises. It's even better if both the families can reach an agreement before the wedding as this would prevent a woman from being in a tight spot soon after her marriage.

Of course, it's not always the in-laws who stand in the way of the happiness of a newly-wed couple. Sometimes it's the bride who falls short of understanding the mentality and standpoint of her in-laws.

Many women take for granted that their in-laws are out there to wage war against them. If you can show your sincerity in building a positive relationship with your in-laws from the very first day, they would sooner or later acknowledge your effort.

While some women imagine their in-laws as fiends, there are still others who dream that their in-laws would be just as loving as their parents. This is an absolute misconception.

Remember that you are moving to a totally new family, who are not connected to you by blood. Keep in mind that there will be people of all sorts in your new family and being a level-headed educated woman of the 21st century, it'll be your responsibility to get along with them and win their hearts from the first week of your marriage.

Many women tend to compete with other members of their new family right after their wedding. If you cannot cook better than your sister-in-law, there's nothing wrong in that. It's better if you try to impress your family members with whatever you have in your own stock. Sometimes even making a simple cup of tea can work as a catalyst in breaking the ice between you and your in-laws.

Don't start your new life with a negative attitude towards your in-laws. Don't think that your mother-in-law in prying into your conjugal life. Instead, try to keep in mind that your husband's parents spent considerable time and money in their child's upbringing, which gives them the right to have a personal interest in both of you. Their loving concern may turn out to be a blessing for both of you in the future.

Both parties should refrain from having emotional outbursts. If you see your daughter-in-law doing something wrong, then instead of uttering a set of upsetting words towards her, imagine her for a while as your own daughter who is trying her best to adjust in a different family. Your sincere efforts to help her cope with her changed circumstances will kindle in her, feelings of love and respect.

Just because you don't agree with someone's opinion doesn't mean that you would argue over every little thing. Be respectful towards your in-laws' advice from the beginning. Try to imagine yourself in that person's position and think what you'd have done in such a situation. Don't raise your voice or yell if you don't agree with something, rather, think before you act or speak.

A little cooperation and sacrifice from both sides can certainly construct the foundation of a healthy marriage.

By Wara Karim


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