A4P Guest: I’m married and have a one-year old son. I used to consider myself blessed to have the most peaceful marriage ever until my husband’s mother came from Ethiopia a year ago to help us with our first child.

A4P: What happened?

A4P Guest: My mother-in-law is a Christian, she loves God, prays a lot and all. But she pretty much wants to be the woman of the house. She criticizes my cooking, the way I handle my son and more. Her intention might be good but her action irritates me so much that I sometimes lock myself up in my bedroom for the whole day. I feel like leaving or ask her to leave the house.

A4P: Did you talk to your husband about this?

A4P Guest: I tried once and he tearfully said that I had to find a way to live with her.

A4P: What does that mean?

A4P Guest: I think he is trying to get a permanent resident visa to his mom. I think she is going to live with us for more time than I anticipated and I am scared and feel bad about it.

A4P: Feel bad about it? Why?

A4P Guest: You know, she is his mom but I don’t want her to live with us. I felt like I am saying this because I am not a strong Christian like her.

A4P: Oh! Oh! This is absolutely not a right conclusion. I mean, you definitely want to grow and mature in Christ, in the word of God and all but what you’re feeling right now about your mother-in-law has nothing to do with your spiritual maturity; it has everything to do with what you want your marriage to be. And truth be told, no marriage counselor will advise you to live with your mother-in-law.

A4P Guest: Oh?

A4P: Yes! It’s just tricky! And I think that is why the Bible says, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 NASB – And “leaving” includes mental, emotional, physical leaving! And think about it: A man in the middle of two women who love him to death! Are you serious! I don’t want to be that mother nor that wife. It is a very hard and tricky place to be because it is impossible to play it right all the time. And what you’re feeling right now is justifiable! You want your husband without any competition. If your mother-in-law is sick and needs help, please by all means, be there for her, on behalf of your husband and do everything you can to help her. But everything you guys are planning to do, you two, husband and wife, have to sit and discuss about it. Sometimes a couple agrees to go through tough times, at least for limited time, to help and benefit a family member. That is a good thing to do. But when unknown or indefinite times are considered, fight and conflict will be the order every day.

I mean, talk to him. I can tell that he is sensitive when it comes to his mom. Understandable! You just came into his life recently. His mom brought him to this world and God knows, especially in our country situation, what she went through to raise him. So, it is very hard to put him on defense regarding his mom. And to tell you the truth, it is not fair to do so. But you two have to agree to sit and discuss. He cannot just decide by himself. He is not a single man anymore. What he decides to do affects you directly. And he has to consider your feelings and emotions.

If his mom has to live here, impossible to leave her back home, see if you can rent an apartment for her. If she is scared to live by herself, see if you can find her a roommate of her age.

A4P Guest: His dad is still around.

A4P: I apologize for assuming! My! Then is he planning to bring his dad too?

A4P Guest: Yes.

A4P: Okay. Then as a couple, they will be okay to live by themselves. But either way, you need to sit and discuss and agree with your plans. I do not advise you to live with your in-laws. ///