If you’ve watched the the Crazy Rich Asians trailer, it shows Chinese-American economics professor Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu) who follows her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) back to his hometown of Singapore only to find out he belongs to one of the top ten wealthiest families in Asia. And then meets his controlling and prestige-obsessed mother who plans to sabotage their relationship.
If you have been wondering if it’s possible to have a great marriage even though you have difficult in-laws? The answer is always a resounding, yes. Here are six ways to have a strong marriage in the face of a mother-in-law who dislikes/hates you.
Be a united front as a couple.
They best way would be to stay united as husband and wife, suggests experts. Do not allow your in-law problems to come between you and your spouse. Do not listen to your mother-in-law bad mouthing you and do not complain to your spouse about his mother. Communication is key. Make him a priority, always reach a loving compromise and present a united front.
It’s not personal.
The problem is usually not with you but your spouse, say experts. It could be that he used to bring them out for weekend dinners or movies, but now with you in the picture, that does not happen anymore. Your mum-in-law may resent you for that, especially so if he’s the only son. Basically, no one will be good enough for her son. Understand this and don’t take this is as personal.
Set clear boundaries.
Experts encourage you to be firm, but remain respectful as she is your husband’s mother after all. If your mother-in-law tends to invite herself or the rest of the family over more often than you are comfortable with, say, “We will be out this weekend, but you are more than welcome to drop by next Saturday.” Similarly, let the answering machine pick up her calls if it’s inconvenient for you to answer. If she offers unwanted advice about how to raise your child, politely tell her that you understand that she is trying to help, but it’s your and your husband’s decision.
Do not let yourself be manipulated.
When you’ve put the boundaries in place, your mother-in-law may attempt to use guilt to get her way. They may hang up on you or even storm out of the house! Jenna D. Barry, the author of A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents, says that it’s important to stand your ground even if they feign to be offended by you. Be understanding about her plight, but insist that you are not willing to discuss it anymore.
Your spouse is not to be blamed for his mother’s behaviour.
When your in-laws behaviour towards you is unacceptable, it’s not your husband’s fault. Your mother-in-law is an adult and she should be accountable for her attitude.
Ultimatums should be avoided at all cost.
Deanna Brann PhD, author of Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law, says to never ever ask your spouse to choose between you and his family – even if you are married. It will only lead to resentment.
This story was originally published in www.womensweekly.com.sg. Additional text: Michelle Lee