Overcoming in-laws' interference

When family comes between you and your spouse, love prevails

Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti | Posted on 15 Sep 2016
Overcoming In Laws Interfering In My Relationship

When I look back eight years, I wonder how things changed for me. We have been through so many ups and downs and still managed to maintain our relationship.

April 28, 2008: My wedding day. I was nervous; I was happy, and the effect of mixed feelings was etched on my expressive face. Yes, I was about to start a new life. A life that began with so many hurdles. There were people who made every possible effort to make my wedding the worst event of my life. An event that I never feel comfortable discussing with people.

I am married to my aunt's sister-in-law's son. His people created a ruckus about the wedding food arrangements and magnified the matter rather than playing it down. They had always treated me like a daughter, but they marred my wedding day. I could see the pain on my father’s face, but could never understand why food was so important. My father was a saintly man who would never speak ill of people and hardly cared what food was served to him. I will never be able to get over the fact that my wedding day brought him such humiliation. It was just the beginning, and I had to go through several other trials.

Every Indian girl is expected to make adjustments and compromises
after getting married; I was no different. But, the events that spoiled
my wedding day had a deeper impact on my personal life.

I was always the target of my mother-in-law’s complaints and was constantly on the recieving end of sarcastic comments. She pointed out that I was not a suitable bride for her son, and they could have found a better match for him, where they would have received the best treatment and respect. For her, I was neither beautiful nor talented in any way, although my husband always said that he couldn’t have found a better match than me.

Things started badly and were getting worse with undue interference of third parties in my marriage. My husband was always better disposed towards his mom since she was a single parent, and avoided chiding her even when I complained. My sister-in-law, too, always 'has an opinion' in our personal matters and created a mountain out of a mole hill. My husband watched silently. This affected my relationship with him. Those rare times when he spoke up for me, he was labelled an irresponsible son and a bad brother.

My husband never blamed me for what happened at the wedding, but felt that he was deprived of the respect that one would traditionally get as a ‘damaad’ of the family. My brother had cut all ties with my aunt’s family. But whenever my husband and my mother-in-law visited my parents’ home, they would ask my mother-in-law's brother’s family to accompany them. Their presence made things awkward, as nobody shared the old bond anymore. My mother-in-law wanted them to be respected and my brother didn't even want to see them. It affected the status of my husband in my parents’ house and I feel sorry for this.

We both understood each other’s mental state but were helpless. Both of us suffered and often clashed. We reached a point where we felt that things were not working and separation was the only answer. It was solely for the sake of our unborn child that we continued living together. Yes, I was pregnant. 

Slowly and steadily, things started to settle down and my position in the family improved with each passing day. The birth of my child changed the atmosphere of my house. Suddently, we all had a common goal: to see Angad smile, to watch his cute antics, to see him learn new things. The topic discussion shifted from grievances and complaints to our little bundle of joy. My mother-in-law began accepting me as an integral part of the family rather than an outsider. My husband, Angad, and I became a unit within a bigger unit.

It took both of us 3 to 4 years to understand that interference
will always be a part of the joint family system, and it is the
understanding that a couple comes to vis-a-via the other family
members in their lives that helps them overcome marital issues
and all the obstacles in their relationship.

No matter how difficult the situation is, if a couple stands by each other during a crisis, things automatically start to ease.


Comments : 7

Sukhneet Nagi: I felt Swapna that my husband's image got jeopardised with the statement. So thought of clearing the point. Anyways thank you so much for the comments. I appreciate that you read it and wrote what you felt.

Swapna: These stories always resonate with so many of us.

Sukhneet Nagi: If I wrote that my husband avoided telling anything to his mom because of being a single parent, it doesn't mean that he supported her silently. He kept quiet because she is our elder and being the part of the controversy meant showing disregard towards the elder most member of the family. I feel his silence is something that helped us to stay together. If hef never said anything to his mom in front of me, he never said anything to me also in front of his mom. He was neutral. I respect him for that and will not tolerate comments against him in a social site like this. If my day of marriage was spoiled, his day was spoiled too. He was equally suffering.

Swapna: Ah. I was thinking that since you said "he was better disposed towards my mother-in-law..." that maybe you felt you didn't have his support. But clearly you don't think so. My mistake.

Swapna: Jae, how refreshing to read from a man the acceptance that simply standing by in a conflict is as bad as actively abusing or adding to the abuse! Usually it is like "Oh, how can I say anything to my mother, the poor lady! We will settle this in our bedroom behind closed doors. You just listen to whatever she says, and maybe try to obey..."


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