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A mother-in-laws place in our marriage?

 
 
Niced
 
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 04:48 pm
Hello, been married 3 years. Second for me, first for my husband. He has no biological children but raises mine like his own. His father has died and his mother has been single for 30+ years, she raised him on her own.
His mother is very religious and has never visited us without trying to convert us to her religion (she is Jehovah Witness). I practice Buddhism while my husband is Agnostic. This has caused some obstacles in our relationship.
My question is this:
Our anniversary was recently and I received a message from my mother in law asking if she could cook us dinner. We had plans and informed her. She then asked if she could cook the food the following day, I informed it was our anniversary and we were going for a picnic but thank you. She promptly texted my husband and said she had been cooking all day and 'she doesnt want my food'. Referring to me. Mind you it was my husband who didnt want her over since she always throws the religion in our face. Anyway, I informed her that it was pretty crappy of her to ruin our anniversary and lie to my husband about me. She then called and left a very long message saying that she had single handedly raised her son and now she is trying to find her place within our marriage! Im sorry but I didnt realize mother in laws had places within our marriage. Am I wrong to think that. I think she is overstepping her boundaries by freaking out that we didnt include her in our plans:/ This isnt the first time either. She is always calling and texting really rude and crappy things. She can be nice at times but I didnt marry her or even think she would be a part of our marriage. We invite her over about once a month for dinner (im assuming thats about right) and each time ends with her getting upset because we are all going to 'burn in hell' since we wont convert. Im at a loss here. I adore my husband but am completely lost about how to handle this. Help?
 
luismtzzz
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 04:54 pm
@Niced,
All the help you need is within your husband.

While both of you stand side by side around her nasty attempts to miss with your marriage life tere will be no problem.

Yes she is oversteppin her boundaries. I now a few Jehovah Witness and i avoid them precisely for the same reason, i hate someone trying to tell me i am going to hell for not having the same belifs.

Do not consider her evil, maybe she just feels alone. It most be hard for her since she has been alone for many years. This should nt excuse her, she is trying to live her life through you r mariage and that is bad. She should find he own path to live.

Talk to your husband, make sure you are both in the same page, and you will be fine.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 05:21 pm
Quote:
Niced said: His mother is very religious and has never visited us without trying to convert us to her religion (she is Jehovah Witness). I practice Buddhism while my husband is Agnostic. This has caused some obstacles in our relationship.

Try the diplomatic approach first, but it all depends whether you simply like Jesus.
If you like him, simply smile and tell ma-in-law that you like him and that you don't feel you have to go any further by joining any religion.
Same with hub, as long as he likes Jesus he can still be an agnostic if he likes..Smile

Incidentally, if you and your hub did join the JW's and later became ill and needed a blood transfusion at hospital to save your lives (or your childrens lives), the JW's ban transfusions and you'd have to let yourselves or your kids die.

0 Replies
 
neologist
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 06:11 pm
@Niced,
Niced wrote:
. . . We invite her over about once a month for dinner (im assuming thats about right) and each time ends with her getting upset because we are all going to 'burn in hell' since we wont convert. . . .
If she suggests you may burn in hell, she is not one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Of that I am sure. That is the belief of some misinformed nominal christians. With that in mind, I think you should do what you think best for the family.

In the end, family rates very high on the list of things pleasing to God. If I am mistaken about her religious affiliation, you could get her attention with this citation from the New World Translation:
Quote:
That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.(Genesis 2:24)
Perfectly good reason for in laws to butt out.

Romeo may now proceed to warn you of my religious affiliation. So check my profile if he is unclear.
luismtzzz
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 06:32 pm
@neologist,
Quote:
In the end, family rates very high on the list of things pleasing to God. If I am mistaken about her religious affiliation, you could get her attention with this citation from the New World Translation:
Quote:
That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.(Genesis 2:24)


Very good point Neo. A very suitable one.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 07:15 pm
I'm happy to see men making comments and giving suggestions.

I feel it's the obligation of each person in a committed relationship to stand up for each other, and let outside parties who are criticising as in cases like this know that they stand together.

chai2
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 07:17 pm
@chai2,
Edit....

Not just the obligation, but a joy to stand up for each other.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 08:37 pm
@Niced,
Niced wrote:
I adore my husband but am completely lost about how to handle this.


what is your husband doing to manage your mother-in-law's place in your relationship?
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 09:50 pm
Bump
0 Replies
 
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2014 10:18 pm
@Niced,
You go girl! But--remember, it's probably impossible for your husband to alienate her. Yeah--she's a pain in the azz...but it's still mom. Nevertheless ...keep your boundaries delineated. But...have a heart...no matter how crazy she is.
PUNKEY
 
  5  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 06:47 am
How about saying: "Mom, we'd love to see more of you, but one thing that has to be off-limits when we meet is about religion. Fred and I have our own faith. You have yours. Is that something you can do?"

Wait for an answer. If she insists, then say that your meetings will be with other people and no private time.

Your HUSBAND has to lead this conversation. He has to stand up to his mother's inappropriate behavior.

If he refuses to do this, then let THEM spend time together and you be busy with something else. She is a bully and you don't deserve having to put up with that.

This is really more about control than it is about religion. She does not like it that you now come first to him. She is using religion to bring him into line.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 07:16 am
@Germlat,
Germlat wrote:

...but it's still mom.


I don't necessarily agree with this.

This is the type of thinking that over controlling parties, in this case the MIL, latch onto like leeches. They understand there are certain things in our society that no matter how much trouble they cause, they can get away with it because "I'm his MOTHer", "It's just a KID" Oh, I'm not saying it's necessarily a conscious thing, (although it may be in cases) but it's there.

Although of course the religious aspects and other behavior can't be separated, I see the religion pushing as the secondary problem.

The MIL is not dealing with the fact she's no longer the one calling the shots, the #1 in the heart of her son. That is her issue, not theirs. They can encourage her to see this, but they shouldn't make this their project.
That's going to be tough, very tough, but not impossible.

At the end of the day, who gets into bed with whom? That's the person you are aligned with more closely.

Every action of the MIL is trying to force a choice on the part of the son. To her it's either "me or her" If he is worth his salt, if pushed to the brink, he'll pick his wife.

That would be sad for everyone (I guess)

To the OP, remember, you are his wife. That's a position of dignity and honor. Don't permit someone telling you "but I have a position of dignity and honor too!" take away from your role.
Romeo Fabulini
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 07:58 am
Quote:
Punkey said: How about saying: "Mom, we'd love to see more of you, but one thing that has to be off-limits when we meet is about religion. Fred and I have our own faith. You have yours. Is that something you can do?"

Personally I'd simply tear their religion or cult to shreds with quiet well-placed words delivered with a smile, so that they'd feel so uncomfortable that they'd never dare raise the subject of religion with me again.
Every religion and cult has got it's vulnerable spots and that's what I'd go for..Smile
IRFRANK
 
  6  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 08:03 am
@Romeo Fabulini,
You give some of the worst advice I've ever seen here.
0 Replies
 
Romeo Fabulini
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 08:16 am
Quote:
Romeo said: Personally I'd simply tear their religion or cult to shreds with quiet well-placed words delivered with a smile, so that they'd feel so uncomfortable that they'd never dare raise the subject of religion with me again.
Every religion and cult has got it's vulnerable spots and that's what I'd go for.
IRFrank replied: You give some of the worst advice I've ever seen here.

You sound like you're afraid of mothers-in-law and religious fundy cults mate, my advice was intended for those who are not..Smile

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/way-madmaxRomeo_zps01ae368c.gif~original
0 Replies
 
Germlat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 08:47 am
@chai2,
Well...see I can relate. My mom is a fanatic Christian and lacks ego boundaries. But--she's still my mom and I love her. Best thing I did was made sure I delineated boundaries. She will always be pushy and I'll always resist and push her back. Even so---I do want her in my life. My husband has snapped at her a time or two , but usually is graceful enough to let me handle her.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  4  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 09:17 am
@Niced,
I think you've received some pretty good advice here.

My beliefs in this area are that 1. two committed people attempt to support and strengthen each other's extended family relationships. 2. The couple discusses their feelings together, and act as one when there are issues involving extended family. 3. They protect their union and one another. No one takes any precedence over the two. 4. The primary decision-maker and mouthpiece in disputes with extended family should be the blood relative...although decisions must be agreed upon with the marital / relationship partner.

I would
1. Present the problem to your husband, but take care that you don't steamroll him. From your post, it seems you care about his feelings, you don't want to push the mother completely out of his life, and you and he seem to agree on the problem.
2. Practice compassion for her. Put yourself in her place. This isn't so she can "get her way," but to help you not be cruel. One day, your children will marry. You will be in this position. Think about how you will feel when you lose your role with them, and how you hope they'll treat you. Remove your feelings about the religion issue for now. That's separate. This will help you understand and appreciate when she cooks for your anniversary and such things. You'll understand why she is a bit desperate to be a part of some of your celebrations. You may be more compassionate, which may help your internal feelings, your husband's and MIL's.
3. Decide with your husband how you'll approach issues that bother you.
(examples)
a. If MIL criticizes you to him, he should immediately and firmly tell her that he is not going to listen to criticism of his wife. "If you have a problem with ____, you need to discuss it with her. If you two can't work it out, then the three of us can sit down, but you are not welcome to complain to me about her when she's not present." If she continues complaining, he should interrupt by saying something like, "Think seriously about what I just said. Hope to talk to you again soon. I love you. Goodbye." Hang up.
b. When she begins to bring up religion, the very next sentence should be from her son, "Mom, _____ and I have tried to be patient when you make comments like that, but we need to tell you that lately because of the way you speak to us about your religion that it is becoming more difficult to be around you. Listen carefully. _______ and I will never convert. What you have to do now is either accept that so we can enjoy more time with you - or know that we won't be spending very much time together and will cut short visits when you talk to us about converting. Starting now."
If she continues, give her another warning, "Mom, our visit will have to end right now if you can't stop trying to convert us. (Offer some change of subject - move to the den, start talking about your work, one of her friends, the grandchildren's interests at school...)
If she continues, end the visit. If she's at your house, you can stand up and say, "Let me help you get your things together." or "I'll see you out. I hope you'll think carefully about what I said."

See her out.

Train her on what you'll accept. Just make sure your husband is emotionally on board.

She has a place in his life, but not in your marriage. She may not know how to articulate it. It is HARD for a loving mother to re-position herself in a son's life after he gets married. It is one of the most loving gifts from a wife to make a sincere effort to protect and support a MIL /FIL / children from previous marriage relationship. Sad when it can't be done. Good luck!
Romeo Fabulini
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 10:23 am
Quote:
Niced said: my mother-in-law is a Jehovah's Witness,..She is always calling and texting really rude and crappy things.

How unlucky can anybody get!
Ordinary interfering mothers-in-law are bad enough, but yours is also a JW, they're a stuck up snooty cult who think they're a cut above the rest of us poor slobs!
For example look at what a JW in A2K called me-
"Romeo is ignorant, malicious, a fable-spinner, talks drivel, a deceiver, a racist, a liar, self-deluded"
neologist
 
  0  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 11:34 am
@Romeo Fabulini,
If you wish to go of topic, Romeo, you should just post a link, like this one:
http://able2know.org/topic/235254-74#post-5733660
Romeo Fabulini
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 14 Aug, 2014 11:49 am
@neologist,
Pot kettle!
If I'm a racist then so are you JW's, as this excerpt from their literature indicates..Smile-

"The white race exhibits some qualities of superiority over any other, the greater intelligence of the Caucasian""- JW Watchtower magazine
http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/the-racist-history-of-watchtower-literature


Incidentally I fully agree with it because everybody knows that blacks are generally not as brainy as whites..Smile
0 Replies
 
 

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