In my childish days, I was one of those who wished my MIL would be dead before I get married to her son *covers face*. I was also the “I don’t want to marry a first son, or last son or only son, neither do I want an omo Pastor”. YB is the FIRST and omo Pastor. *whew*. Payback. As I grew older, it became a “ok, make she no die, but if she is the usual monster-in-law, I go just do the Lamide treatment”. Check out Lamide’s comments on Bellanaija. All I can say is the babe get mind and liver. 4/5 years ago, it was something I won’t think twice about doing.
I have heard a lot of stories about mothers and sisters-in-law. I think I fit write a book on them sef. Forget say I never marry yet. So I get where a lot of people are coming from when they made comments on Bella. However, like a friend’s mum once told us, we should never pray such prayers. In fact, the day she heard her daughter make the “I pray my MIL is dead” prayer, she just couldn’t slap her (we were out). For a woman who had 2 sons and my friend was the only daughter, you can imagine the anger she must have felt. For her, it was like B (my friend) was her future DIL praying she is dead.
Anywayz, years later, knowing YB’s mum before she died, I felt silly for even uttering such prayer at some point in life. She was one easy woman to get along with and I have no doubts she would have been a good MIL to her SIL and DILs. Days I think God just wanted to prove a point by taking her away before we got married. *sigh*.
Back to the topic. It was the Bellanaija article I read yesterday and saw some very great comments I thought I should share.
anonymous November 1, 2012 at 6:59 PM
My mum says one thing always “oko buruku se fe ano buruku o se fe” meaning you can marry a bad husband but you cannot marry bad inlaws. As I get older I am starting to realize what she means. My uncle just last week also said to us I can never allow any of my family members disrespect my wife and he looked at my sister and I and said if you date a man who never defends you to his family, run before you are in too deep because that is always what it will be. In-laws especially nigerian In-laws are just so intrusive. They have a way of making one feel obligated but truth is once you marry, your mother and everybody but your spouse is now your extended family. Your family is you, your husband and your children and/or future children. As human beings we always like to have an edge over the next person but you have to know when to put your foot down. For me and my sisters, it has started with my mum. we do not let her ask our bfs for favors e.g. take me to the airport do this do that. on occasion he may offer as we would tell them to but we made sure she never made it a habit. People do not owe you anything so don’t make them feel like they do. I tell my mum I love you but whatever is going on between me and him (and this applies to my sisters) do not make yourself a part of it until you are made a part of it. You have to trust the daughters you raised. SIMPLE.
My family friend got married and said no relatives in her house if you come and visit, come for a day in the morning and please leave at night. My mum went crazy when she heard this and my sister simply said to her calm down because that will be the case in my house and my mum was angry. My sister told her get angry all you want but I will like to start my marriage on the influence of no one but me and my husband and with relatives in the house, it is hard to do that.
The thing is with Nigerians generally, we are so afraid of coming off as rude because they have made EVERYTHING as long as it is not what the older person wants to hear RUDE. Well then so be it be rude but you also ask yourself a question, at the end of the day are you happy? and what exactly is that person going to do to you? people will only go as far as you let them so I suggest you drum that into whoever you are dating or wanting to marry’s head and let him know you come first to him and he comes first to you. If both of you are on that page, then he will ALWAYS stand up for you and as long as he does that and you do that for him, in-laws and gbo gbo e will remain in their respective places. DO NOT BE A FOOL TO CULTURE Nigerians have used this culture thing to become bullies know the difference between bullying and culture.
Thats all I have to say about that
I once told my immediate younger sister, my parents and sisters had no place in my home once we got married. No place in the “you can come spend a few days, or say you live outside the country, and you are in town, I came to sleep in my daughter/sister’s house kinda ish” but forget “oh my sister is married so I am moving into her house ish”. And I told her the same applied to my husband’s people. Within 15 mins, I was invited to a group chat my my sisters to explain myself. Omo, see me defending myself. I just had to make them realize that I didn’t want no family influence and pressure especially early on in my marriage.
Also, like I tell people, if your fiance/fiancee can’t stand up for you now, he/she would never be able to do that when you marry. I believe that as long as we have made a commitment to each other to get married, even if we are not yet legally married, you should be able to stand up for me. Except it is a clear case of the babe/guy is just being unnecessarily difficult or trying to “prove a point” and even at that, you guys should be able to resolve such issues. If you want to wait till you are married to stand supporting each other “against” family, I can assure you, it might never happen or it would be hard. The above comment said it all. Take a stand for each other in your families and let your people know how far they can go.
Other comments that touched me:
Naveah November 1, 2012 at 3:34 PM
My advice to any new fiancee or bride is (1) pay attention to how your husband interacts with his siblings and parents that will give you a good idea of what is to come. If they run him, they will subsequently run you too! If can’t say no to them, you will have to deal with the consequences of his inability to set boundaries. It isn’t up to you to set those boundaries for his family, it is up to him and vice versa. (2) SET THE TONE from the beginning! If they know you are not a door mat, if they know that you will not allow anyone but you to run your home, they will get the hint and watch themselves. But if you come into the family acting like you will do anything to please them, you have failed from the beginning and they will take advantage of you. Be respectful but be firm about what you will compromise on and what you will not compromise. I definitely think having privacy in your home is something that should not be compromised!
I am blessed with a husband who is not (1) African (2) a mama’s boy. I am blessed with mother-in-law who could be nosy and intrusive but she also knows the type of son she has so she doesn’t even try it. She phrases her questions in a way that leaves it up to us to answer or not. I LOVE my mother in law, she is a sweet, generous, loving and fiercely independent woman. I don’t have to worry about her and the rest of the family wanting to stay over because it isn’t really part of their culture to feel entitled to part ownership in their “son’s house”. She treats me like I am her own and I treat her like she was mine. I am accorded my respect by everyone in his family as he is in mine. My husband and I have worked it out that if any situation arises, I deal with my family and he deals with his. If that doesn’t work, we have a sit down with the offending party. This has worked so far so good.
NakedSha November 1, 2012 at 4:43 PM
Before you condemn in-laws, ask yourself the role you have played in your brother’s, cousin’s, best-friend’s, sister’s, or close-family friend’s marriage. Many people are the dreaded in-laws that someone else is suffering from.
If the boat is drowning, yes, the husband SHOULD pick his wife over you (his mother) or you (his sister), or you (his best friend from kindergarten). Many women who complain about in-laws have / will contribute pain to their own in-laws too.
Like someone above said, lay your foundation from the beginning. Marriage is not a war-zone of civil rights but you do not need to compromise peace and tranquility for a ring on your finger or another person’s name.
If you think you can be kinder to a man or love a man more than someone who he is married to, you will eventually display this and become a toothpick in the bum bum of his wife. If you actually have something constructive doing with your life, you will NOT HAVE TIME to be all in the business of your brother’s or uncle’s or bla bla’s marriage.
Make sure you have not ever caused wahala in someone’s marriage before you start to pray for the demise of an in-law you probably haven’t even met. Your in-laws will either love you or they won’t. Please, find out BEFORE the marriage. If your in-laws are Igbo or Bini or southern, you’ll probably be fortunate enough to know ahead of time that you’re not favored because these cultures typically do not encourage pretense. It could be mean but you’re more fortunate than someone whose in-laws are Yoruba. Yoruba culture is very respect based and so whether we accept it or not, it encourages eye-service. The chances of knowing (from your meetings with them) that Yoruba in-laws dislike you BEFORE THE MARRIAGE are slimmer than those of non-Yoruba in-laws.
The reason for this example: do not ignore upfront confrontation from your in-laws before the marriage; it could save you from a lifetime of suffering. At the same time, do not ignore eye-service and over niceness from your in-laws because it could just be that they are not comfortable with making it known that they do not like you. Sooner than later, it will come out. And if you’re married to a man (or woman) whose family is just as much in your marriage as he / she is, I have you constantly in my prayers.
So, my point is that as much as we have a right to be concerned about our in-laws feelings towards us, we should be more concerned about how we are treating our own in-laws. Think about it. Think about everything you have done to your in-laws, whether or not the motive was good, and how they felt about it. A woman going through pain in a marriage usually is not making it up. Most likely.
And, be that person who is hardly seen around. Chances are you won’t over-stay your welcome if you’re hardly staying at all. You don’t have to be around all the time to maintain a healthy relationship with your birth family.
Purpleicious Babe November 1, 2012 at 5:20 PM
I am cool with having my MIL around….. Am @ peace I will get along with her.
Humans regardless of your inlaws are protective over their own. I believe moderation and balance is KEY at all aspect. Everyone respects yourself and don’t over do it in any form.
I myself am brought to be traditionally respectful, supportive and kind. Obviously in the yoruba culture it is expected you go out of your way to please your in laws.
Me its nothing to do with pleasing its just my upbringing and now my lifestyle, i help because i think its a great thing to do and has it rewards(dont do it for the rewards cos some ppel are mean regardless). Although, some might take the gesture for granted or even expect more but such is life “if you show kindness, some people automatically think its their right to access it”. Fortunately for me, I have come to understand the human mindset to an extent , so technically, I have no expectation and play by no rules, I do me and what JESUS would do (i know am not MUMU and they think people aware of that the way your carry yourself and approach things).
In a case of the extreme in laws I will say apply wisdom and use the opportunity to develop characters and qualities. Life is a learning process and people that show themselves to be above us are teaching us something not necessarily (killing us even though it sometimes feels like it or that their intent). Being positive really helps me to get by.
I generally like nice and helpful people and I tend to attract such people so therefore, I tend to draw a THICK line between people that are horrible, inconsiderate, selfish and immature.
I believe in respect, fairness and courtesy. As someone pointed out “observe the dude and his interaction with his family”.
Needless to say we should pray to have a great in laws and be sure that your own family are great too cos some of us can sabi badmouth other families whilst ours are crappy too.
Yeah I don’t want my MIL to die, whether she has issues or not (i pray she doesn’t), it is what is it.
iyabo November 1, 2012 at 5:36 PM
discuss the boundaries before you marry. Unfortunately, many mothers did not raise men strong enough to put them in their place. that must be deliberate. another thing, learn the lesson and raise your boys right. let them have a mind of their own and be able to stand up for themselves. stop looking for repayment for the sacrifices you made which were your choice anyway.
Fellow bloggers have done articles on such which I would like to share; justjoxy
We should first be careful what we wish for and also ensure that on our own. we aint terrible SILs or DILs or sons-inlaw or MILs, and pray for good families to be married into. Above all, choose your battles wisely.
FYI: SIL: sister-in-law