Islamic marriage advice and family advice

How to balance between a controlling mother and wife

Angry woman

Assalmualikum dear bothers and sisters in Islam.

I am under extreme mental stress and I am about to break down from it. I have recently booked appointments with a therapist to help make sure I am still mentally able and stable after the events of the past few years.

I got married a few years ago with a girl of my mother's choosing. However, before the nikkah, issues started to crop up between my wife's family and my mother. I would say it was due to mistakes on both sides. I requested my mother to let it slide and pardon them. Fast forward a few years, even though me and my wife live abroad, there is a raft of problems.

The issues started during first weeks of my marriage. My wife unfortunately didn't start well. She didn't considered my needs as I would have expected, and routinely overuled me about small decisions. To elaborate further, after getting married I expected that she would prepare breakfast for me in the morning, however, this never happed and usually I had to go to work over a cup of milk. Similarly, her housekeeping skills left a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, being as naïve as I am, I didn't speak up about the things that were bothering me until the point that I could handle it no more, and that resulted in a fight.

The second mistake I made was to tell my mother about all these issues I was facing with my wife, and she got angry at my wife and a fight ensued. My mother thinks that she was disrespected by my wife and pushed me very hard to part ways with her. Even though me and my wife had our differences, I didn't want to leave her. So I stood my ground and tried tell my mother that she needs to see that I must make my own decisions in this grave matter. She took this as an insult, too. Both my wife and my mother have had no contact since this event (we live in a different country than my mother). However, now me and my wife have calmed down significantly, made compromises, learnt a lot about each other and are quite happy with each other.

However, my mother-in-law recently bad-mouthed my mother, which she found out about. Now she laments that her sons don't stand up for her and she has no one to make people respect her. When I tried to explain that I have very little control over my in-laws, she suggested to send my wife back to her home to 'teach my in-laws a lesson'. I kept quiet and didn't agree. Since I didn't agree with her, all hell broke loose and she said to me the most heartbreaking things a son could hear from his mother. She broke all contact with me. My siblings, upon hearing her sad story, have also called me names and verbally abused me. I have tried to tell them that I am not supporting what my in-laws did, and as always I am on my mothers side. But no body believes me.

A little background: I am the eldest son, and my dad retired in my early 20s. I have been supporting my whole family since then (more than 10 years). I have paid for my all the monthly expenses, marriages of my sisters, tuition fees etc. As I managed to get up the economic ladder, I have tried to provide my mother more worldly comforts, a bigger house, cars, drivers etc. I have left no stone unturned to make my mother happy and my siblings more successful in life.

My mother and father didn't have a happy marriage. He was a lot older than her and she always felt that she perhaps deserved better. They had minimal contact during the last 10 years of marriage.


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3 Responses »

  1. Assalamualaikum brother..
    I must say ur story is mine too.. My husbnd n I too never started on a good note..he expected me to do household stuff but i dint want to as I had never done it before marriage..hence leadin to arguments .. Even my husband initially kept things between us but when he thought he can't control his feelings he started to tell about our fight to his parents and siblings which eventually made them my enemies.. They started bad mouthing me..
    Talking about the fights between a husband and a wife is the biggest mistake u men make without realising that fights are temporary and you guys will eventually forget what happend and move on..but your family will never forget it and taunt the wife for her disrespectful character for her whole life even if there are no fights between both.
    Me and my husband too have realised things and compromised on many things together..alhumdulilla we are happy and not willing to leave each other even when there is a fight we have realised to figure things out on our own without involving anybody from either families.
    Your mom and siblings have created a hateful attitude for your wife because you went n told them bout ur wife..n now they want to see you punish her no matter what.. Its nothing but their ego..
    U need to understand that u n ur wife are goin to live ur lives together through all the ups and diwn..neither will ur mother nor will yr siblings come n live with u leaving their own families.. They just want to show a dominance on ur wife..
    U need to make it very clear to them that u r very happy with her and would not want any interferences in ur lives as u love her and would expect similar love n respect from them..
    Initially it might be a liitle hard for u to explain thm how imp she is to u..but believe me once u make it very very clear to them that u will not listen a word against her they will eventually stop their negative behaviour..
    Ur siblings are definity goin to abuse u coz its their pride if you dont listen to them..but brother they have no right to say anythin to ur wife and interfere in ur lives..
    Make it very clear thst ur wife is ur priority..ask them to live with it..
    Inshallah once they see such attitude of urs towards your wife im sure they will keeo calm n even u might not need a councellor

  2. Why are woman not taking part of the household cleaning. I am a woman. Cleanses is part of the sunnah. Why would you have arguments with your husband about keeping the house cleaned. Roles should have been discussed before marriage.

    About the mother. It’s a Aouth Asian thing for a mother and siblings to cry over when their biggest financial supporter can be there for them anymore. They don’t care about you and your wife’s happiness so much. It’s all about them. One thing it’s how you say things to your wife can impact your relationship. She is bitter now about 2 in laws not getting along, you sharing your problem your mother. There’s trust issues. You both need to work out your relationship without getting parents and siblings involved. I am not saying ignore all the things your family is saying but try to make sense of reality. You can’t please everyone. It’s you and your wife that needs to work out the problem.

  3. Al salaamu Alaykum,

    There are a lot of dimensions to your post. First of all, it sounds like you have already started to resolve the issues you had with your wife. You said you both are happy now, alhamdulillah. As you've probably learned, issues about cleaning and cooking are not really hard to resolve unless someone is being unreasonably stubborn.

    Next point, if you feel your mental health is being too stressed, then yes, definitely you should seek professional help and support. Generally, family issues -particularly in-law dynamics- don't resolve quickly or easily, so if you find yourself being run down by the constant friction, it's better to see and deal with that realistically than trying to carry it all or think you won't be affected by the grueling nature of it.

    On to the situation with you and your mother. It was a bit of a mistake to invite her into your marital problems, then block your mom's opinions and advice when she wanted to say what you should do. It doesn't matter if her advice was good or not, the bottom line is when you complain to someone about your situation, you're giving them a space to speak into your life. If you ultimately don't want that, then don't share things. I'm sure your mom feels extra entitled to say how she sees things should go if she is the one who chose your wife, so already you've set a precedent for her to make decisions for you that will be hard to reverse without being consistent with your boundaries.

    Finally, while you said you don't agree about your in-laws bad-mouthing your mother, what did you actually do? Granted, you don't have to send your wife back to them as the solution. But not doing anything isn't right, either. Your mom does have a reasonable expectation upon you that when someone says something bad about her, that you rebuke them. Even in the Quran it says, "And why, when you heard it, did you not say: 'It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah]; this is a great slander?'" [Quran 24:16]. When we hear people saying clearly false things about others, we are supposed to confront them bluntly. Considering the position and status Allah has bestowed mothers, your mom has that much more of a right on you that you defend her honor when others speak ill of her.

    Long story short, if you consistently protect your mom's dignity before your in-laws, and protect your wife's dignity before your mother, and protect your own mental health and continue to work on your marital harmony, you'll find everything working with more balance, in shaa Allah.

    -Amy Editor

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