WORLD WAR III: Mother-In-Law VS Daughter-In-Law

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

“I am not perfect. Let’s both assume that the other is doing the best she can.”

Mother-In-Law-HeartWeddings are usually such happy occasions, full of love and hope for the future of the bride and groom. As wonderful as it can be, it can also mean mother-in-law problems. Something happens the moment a bride says, “I accept him.” Not only does she get a husband, but in most cases, a mother-in-law as well.

But far too many women describe this relationship as fragile, tense, and even competitive.

It’s no secret that in-laws are the subject of many marital arguments. The rivalry between wives and their mothers-in-law is a major source of tension in many marriages. You may find it interesting that many new brides get along very well with their husband’s parents at first; it isn’t until later—sometimes years later—that friction develops.

Time-after-time, daughters-in-law say things like, “My husband’s parents welcomed me into their family immediately and treated me as their own daughter.” Likewise, “My own in-laws showered me with gifts and included me in everything”. It’s not uncommon for young women to be very fond of their husband’s family, and vice versa… in the beginning.

Later on down the marriage, dealing with in-laws can be an overwhelming challenge—whether you are dealing with an overbearing mother-in-law who believes her opinions are superior to yours—or someone who tries to make you feel guilty whenever your needs conflict with hers. It may be tempting to gossip, hold silent grudges, or cut off all communication with troublesome in-laws – but that often just adds to the problem.

 

Mother-in-law problems can be one of the biggest issues in an engaged or married couple’s life. In some cases, they’re really more like out-laws. Some mother-in-laws have a way of letting everyone know their displeasure with the new family member over issues big and small – and yet seem to forget their own son or daughter can think or speak for themselves, and in most cases, should.

Why is it that the mother-in-law relationship can be so difficult? When you think about it, it really shouldn’t be. You have so many meaningful things in common: love for the same person, wanting what’s best for that person, and for them to be happy. For some though, it’s these same things that make for fast adversaries.

Some mother-in-law problems arise out of a competition for the attention of the adult child. Because they are now spending all of their time with their new spouse, there may not seem to be room enough for mum, which can be seen as not loving them as much anymore. When they visit mum, of course your spouse is going to take you with them – you’re now a package deal. Mother-in-law’s can be very resentful of having to share time and space with someone else.

Who would know what’s best for their kids better than a mother? As adults, however, we know what’s best for ourselves, not our mum. Some mothers, however, feel that they should reign supreme over our lives – even when we’re 45-years-old. It can be a hard habit for parents to break and some never feel compelled to stop parenting, even adult children. What makes that more difficult is that some of us don’t know how to let our mothers know that we are now adults who think for ourselves.

No one wants or needs their mother-in-law (or future one) telling them what’s best for their partner or worse, guilt-tripping them because of some imaginary slight or that they don’t measure up to her expectations. Big or small, whatever the issue may be, if she can’t refrain from commenting or speaking out inappropriately, it’s up to our spouse to talk to her. This can be difficult for our partners since for some it can seem unthinkable to speak out “against” their mother and be independent.

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Advice for mother-in-laws:

  1. Pray for your daughter in law, rather than prey on her. Hope and pray that the marriage of your son will be successful. Don’t sit in the background and hope for your daughter-in-law to fail. Ask Allah to show you how to love your daughter-in-law as your own daughter.
  2. Try to be understanding more than criticising. Ask questions to understand. Don’t tell your daughter-in-law how things should be. Don’t expect your son to do what you want him to do anymore. Expect and encourage him to consult with his wife. Rather than question or criticize your daughter-in-law, speak to her and reason with her.
  3. Compliment your daughter-in-law; never complain about her. Honour your daughter-in-law in the presence of your son. Compliment your daughter-in-law; never complain. Make an effort to applaud, praise, and thank your daughter-in-law. Tell her how much you appreciate her positive influence on your son and why you think she’s a good mother. Your daughter-in-law may be different from you. Accept her for who she is. Realise that your daughter-in-law wasn’t raised the same way you raised your son and maybe doesn’t have the same standards you have. Perhaps she is from a different family or caste or race…Try to understand her mind set and the way her family operated. Do not try to change her into who you would like her to be.
  4. Act like a family, fight like a family, not an enemy. Encourage your son to build, develop, and define his marriage role. Don’t fight for position by grasping and grabbing for your son’s time and emotions.  Good mums want their kids to have good marriages. If you are a family, act like one. Families fight, they discuss their issues and that’s how they get resolved. This can be done lovingly and constructively, not destructively! It doesn’t have to be a he said/she said/you said situation. Tiptoeing around the problems and acting like they don’t exist doesn’t help anyone, it only hurts everyone in the long run. Ask your daughter-in-law to let you know if/when you offend her. Remember that Shaytan wants to destroy your relationship.
  5. Your son isn’t perfect, not before marriage and certainly not after. Remember that your son has always had faults. Your child was not perfect before she married him. You love your son, so does your daughter-in-law. Every change that you see in your son is not her doing. Every change that you see in your son is not her doing.

 

A good mother-in-law doesn’t make the wife feel like she doesn’t measure up, or give the impression that she wishes her son would have made a ‘better’ choice.  A good mother-in-law encourages, accepts, and loves unconditionally. Allow your daughter-in-law to disagree and know that it isn’t something personal.  Don’t be offended if a daughter-in-law does not share your tastes, dreams, and values. Tell her about decisions you faced as a mother of infants, toddlers, teenagers, young adults, etc. Talk about more than superficial things. Get to know her for the person Allah created her to be. Then, come alongside her to mentor, encourage, and build a relationship so that if/when you need to give loving input or direction, it is not taken as meddling. Express your gratitude towards her: “You truly are the wind beneath my son’s sails and I really appreciate and love you. You understand my son far better than I do, and I thank Allah for you.” “I’ve got the best daughter-in-law God could give. I am so blessed.” Finally, offer to take care of the grandkids so your daughter-in-law can have a day to herself.

Okay, mothers-in-law, there’s the list. What are we going to do about it?

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The second year of my son’s marriage, he and his wife had Thanksgiving with us. My daughter-in-law made a delicious sweet potato casserole. My mother and I complemented her on it and asked for the recipe. “It’s a family recipe,” my daughter-in-law said. “So I don’t give it out.”   —Anonymous mother-in-law

Whoa! I had thought that daughters-in-law were the ones with the in-law stories. Well, apparently mothers-in-law have their share of stories, too.

One mother-in-law wrote something that brought back memories. “That little boy that brought me dandelions and messy hugs,” she said, “is now a grown man with a family of his own. I need to fully release him so he is allowed to change and adapt to his wife and adult life.  I don’t want to be a parent who says or does things that grate in the mind of my daughter-in-law. She is the one who knows my son best now.”

Yes, a mom relinquishes her title of “first lady” in her son’s life on his wedding day. Perhaps that’s why some have described the relationship between a mother- and daughter-in-law as fragile or tense. Allah certainly didn’t intend it to be that way.

Advice for daughter-in-laws:

  1. She is still his mother, she gave birth to him. Even though you are the woman in her son’s life now, be considerate of the fact that she used to be the woman in his life. The most important thing that you can do for your mother-in-law is to love her son unconditionally…You’ve now taken the spot as her son’s biggest
  2. Respect her for who she is, think of her as your own mother. Don’t try to change your mother -in-law. Accept her eccentricities. Realise that she may do things differently in her home, try to understand her ways. Especially, if you live with them. Bear in mind her age, think of your elderly parents.

 

  1. Do not assume things, rather ask and clarify. If I have offended you, I may not know this. You have the freedom to say to me, nicely, ‘Remember when you said ______. Did you mean _____?’ I am not perfect. Let’s both assume that the other is doing the best she can. Don’t judge, there are two sides to any story.
  2. Remember, you are family and not foes! Ring your mother-in-law off your phone not your son’s phone. Take her out, just the two of you. Go shopping! Discover what you have in common. Keep your in-laws informed of their grandchildren, don’t deprive them.
  3. Express gratitude, not a bad attitude! Post on your Facebook page: ‘I am thankful for my mother-in-law! I am so grateful for our great relationship. It is so important! And ever since I got married our relationship has become so natural and I love spending time with her!’ Please take time to express your appreciation for a gift by writing a note or calling just to say, ‘Thanks!’ If she or any of your in-laws visit you welcome them in with a smile, prepare something special for them. Show your happiness, don’t block yourself from them.

Some mothers- and daughters-in-law form close friendships very quickly. For others, this may take years. But most mothers- and daughters-in-law do want to connect with each other. They want to find common ground. They want to know each other as individual women with feelings, beliefs, and ideas. Do not fight your mother-in-law over your husband and same to the mother-in-law over your son. If the daughter-in-law cooks something or buys something for her husband, please do not compete with her for praises.

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Finding Peace and Contentment

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Besides the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā there is no other way for the heart to find peace, contentment or tranquillity. The patient suffering from eczema may attain a transient pleasure by scratching, but when he stops scratching, the discomfort returns and the future bodes nothing but difficulty. Likewise, temporary pleasure may be attained by one who disobeys Allāh ta‘ālā, but as soon as he concludes the impermissible activity he is involved in, his heart once again becomes discontent and restless.

No one in the world has a cure for restlessness of the heart. Allāh ta‘ālā has complete control over this condition and has kept its cure solely with Himself. If contentment of heart is lost, the combined efforts of all the world’s doctors, mashā’ikh and resources will be of no avail. Peace and contentment come from one place and one place only – they descend upon the hearts of man directly from the Court of Allāh ta‘ālā; no one else has been allowed power over them.

It is He who sent down peace upon the hearts of the believers… (48:4)

Allāh ta‘ālā is the one who causes peace, tranquillity and happiness to descend, and furthermore, they only descend upon hearts that are capable of accommodating them.

The Airport of the Heart

This concept can be understood by the following analogy. Aeroplanes of different designs do not indiscriminately land at any available airport. Airports are assessed to see what types of aircraft they are suitable for. If the airport is large, of sophisticated design and having a large runway of the best quality then the largest and most advanced aeroplanes will be able to land there. If the airport is not so well equipped then lighter aircraft will use it. If the airport is decrepit, with a runway full of potholes, then even the lightest aircraft will not be able to make use of it.

Our hearts are also airports, with a runway upon which the aeroplane of sakīnah (tranquillity) from Allāh ta‘ālā is designed to touch down. If the airport of our heart is small or if its runway is full of holes and cracks, then the aeroplane of sakīnah from Allāh ta‘ālā will not land. We will need to exert every effort to remove the cracks on the tarmac that have appeared due to our sins. We will need to refrain from sins to stop more cracks appearing. We will need to repent and submit to the commands of Allāh ta‘ālā, for it is with the tarmac of repentance and submission that the cracks of the runway are sealed.

Only after this effort will the aeroplane of tranquillity descend upon the heart. Then, for as long as an individual continues to maintain and rectify the airport of the heart, the aeroplane of sakīnah will continue to land. Its schedule will become fixed and its landings will be continuous.

Those who say: ‘Allāh is our Lord,’ and then remain steadfast, angels will descend upon them and say: ‘Do not fear nor grieve, and be happy with the good news of Jannah that you have been promised.’ (41:30)

At the time of death, Allāh ta‘ālā will send angels with sakīnah to the believers and as a result, they will not fear or grieve. Some mufassirīn state that those believers who strive throughout their lives to keep their hearts pure and clean and shun sin and repent if they slip are visited by angels bringing peace every day. Mufti Shafī‘rahimahullāh has quoted Abū Hayyān rahimahullāh as saying that angels descend upon the believers every day, the effects of which are manifested in their good deeds. The only difference is that until the moment of death, a believer is unable to see or hear the angels as they descend.

This is an extract from the booklet ‘Real Pleasure’ published by
the Islāmic Da’wah Academy.


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