Last weekend, we had an interesting talk show on the in-law conflict that engulfs many marriages.
BY Kilton Moyo
It was refreshing to hear that many people desire an end to this conflict, which does not benefit anyone, but only brings stress and strife in marriages and families.
One wonders what the real reason for this is. Well, I tried to answer questions on the talk show and let me share a few thoughts on this feud.
It seems like our mothers and wives are on an eternal warpath, although I admit that there are many in-laws, who coexist in great love and are building sound families.
However, there are others, who hate either their daughters-in-law or mothers-in-law. These are the ones I am addressing today. What could be the cause for the conflict? Let me give my thoughts on this.
Most people have resigned themselves to thinking mothers-in-law are a problem, while many mothers have told themselves daughters-in-law are a pain.
This has become a mindset and the moment the son marries, the mother expects conflict, even when there is none.
The same applies to the daughter-in-law. Before the two even know each other, they are preparing for a fight on the flimsiest of reasons.
Unfortunately, this mindset has been transferred from one generation to the next and there seems to be no solution in sight. How best can we liberate ourselves from this deadly mindset?
Women, by creation, are relational people. They develop a lot deeper attachment to what they have nurtured and given life to. Most mothers are very fond of their sons and, as a result, struggle with release when time comes.
Instead of seeing the daughter-in-law in the context of the son’s dearest friend, she sees her as an intruder, who is disturbing her relationship with her child.
Jealousy then takes over and before you know it, there is war. To me, this attachment is not a problem, as it is natural, but must be managed appropriately.
Maybe daughters-in-law need to help their in-laws with smooth transitioning than returning fire with fire. I believe these are the two most profound reasons for the conflicts.
I am aware that there are some, who are bent on doing evil to their daughters-in-law and this group is in desperate need for salvation.
All I am saying is that this conflict can be managed if people want and know how to. Let me suggest a few thoughts here on how to manage this conflict.
Sons or husbands need to be firm in supporting their wives
The conflict gets worse when the husband foolishly takes the mother’s side in this kind of conflict. There are some men, who do not understand what being a husband is all about.
This kind of ignorance has hurt many innocent wives.
You are a son to your mother, but a husband to your wife, which are two distinct roles, which demand a balancing act.
As a son, the Bible says you should honour your father and mother.
This is good and God desires this. To honour is to show respect and all that goes with it. To honour does not mean agreeing with all the wrongs parents do. Very few sons would dare challenge their mothers when they rubbish their wives.
They agree with them and think this is honour, but I think this is foolishness. When you honour your mother, you will correct her when she is wrong, not honour her with deception. Note that the bible that says honour your mother, says you should love your wife as Christ loved the church. You see the difference in commitment.
How did Christ love the church? He sacrificed to a point that he died on the cross. Are you prepared, as a husband, to do the same for your wife? This is a deeper calling my brothers.
Honour, yes, but protect, fight for and sacrifice for the wife. Would I be wrong when I say that our cowardice as sons to confront our parents in defence of our wives has made us weak husbands and contributed to this in-law conflict that dehumanises women?
This conflict can be minimised if husbands stick to the three principles of the office of the husband that God gave.
I have mentioned two, but let me summarise them all here.
A man shall leave his home and cling to his wife. (Genesis 2:24) This is repeated at three levels in the Bible. You do not fight what you are clinging on. Do you?
A husband rejoices in his wife. (Proverbs 5:18) There is no woman on earth, who can take the place of a wife in a husband’s heart. I always say remember that your mother has a husband rejoicing over her, your father. She must let you rejoice over your own wife.
Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5:25). This is given. Study it and do likewise. Jesus will even defend his bride, the church, before His Father.
Beloved, these three principles are foundational, if we are going to treat these two important women in our lives accordingly.
Walk in love
Another way of ending this seemingly senseless war or conflict is for us to walk in love towards each other.
There is no reason why a mother-in-law, who is a Christian, is fighting an in-law, who is also Christian. Where is your Christianity then?
There is no reason for a daughter-in-law, who is a Christian, to fight an in-law, who is not a Christian. Where is your Christianity? When shall you walk in love and show you are a cut above?
I think that we are failing ourselves when we keep fighting such kinds of embarrassing wars. I think it’s time we loved one another in spite of our differences.
Love overpowers forces from hell, it will disarm. Well, we can do it if we choose to. We are there also to help you in resolving your conflicts.
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