What would you do if you were married to a man that constantly disrespects your family any opportunity he gets? Speaks in a condescending manner when referring to them in a conversation and could not be bothered when you call his attention to it…….strange. Right? A situation I’m sure you and I don’t want to be in. Unfortunately, and realistically, some of us live this every day and are just stuck thinking of a way out of it. The story we hear most of the time is how in-laws intrude on married couples’ lives despite obvious boundaries. Especially mothers-in-law. But to actually have a man disrespect his in-laws is not as common as the former, especially considering where I am from. You dare not raise your voice or speak ill of your in-laws. At least not in their presence. Be it a child or an adult. The Nigerian culture (Yoruba specifically) even takes respecting in-laws a step further by mandating wives to call husband’s family “brother/sister” even if they are younger than the wives. I don’t believe in this and I hope this cultural act should be abolished (gist for another day 😡 ). Back to disrespecting in-laws, what can I say, “some people do have them” and we must find a way to manage this without putting a dent in the marriage.
For this to be tackled, certain questions need to be answered. What is the root cause? When did things go wrong? When did this start? I know of a woman who got very offended at her sister-in-law after overhearing her call her a bad name. The husband also knew about this and because the husband did not do anything about it, the wife lost respect for her sister-in-law.
Suggestions for handling this
When did things go wrong- When did things start going down the hill. Find out what could have triggered the disrespect. Could it be an action on your parents’ part? Could it be a time in your lives when your spouse thought your parents did not live up to expectation when they were supposed to. If this is the case, it is your responsibility to straighten things out with him explaining the situation to him and try to redeem your family’s name. In addition, I think it is wrong for one’s spouse to talk down to parent-in-laws no matter what they have done. It is better to allow their child speak to them and straighten the issue at hand out.
Do you speak ill of your family to your spouse or do you divulge your family secrets to your spouse? Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you indulge in this, please stop. It doesn’t make you look better before your spouse. Neither will it bring you closer to him or her. Rather, you are belittling your family before your spouse. Anytime you speak ill of your family or you wash your family’s dirty laundry in front of your spouse, you give him or her a platform and the right to do the same about your family. Just because your brother said something nasty to your mom at the last family meeting and the whole family meeting had to be postponed because of your brother’s unruly nature does not mean you have to give your husband the gory details of your brother’s misbehavior. Paint it lighter and you can simply say something like “my brother did not agree with a lot of things that were discussed hence the meeting was postponed”. You didn’t lie, neither did you give the gory details to your husband. In this way, you have protected your extended family’s integrity. If you don’t learn this act, your husband will disrespect your family. Every family has its tiny little secrets, but couples should not engage in telling each other secrets that are meant to be kept within the family.
Speak to your spouse and find out why he’s behaving the way he is. It’s either he was offended by a member of your family or he is used to hearing you speak ill of your family in his presence hence has gotten accustomed to speaking same or lastly, he is just simply a disrespectful person which you should have noticed in his behavior from the onset of your relationship because a disrespectful person will not only be disrespectful to the other party’s parents but also to everyone around him.
If someone in your family offended him, try to apologize on behalf of the person. Anytime the person’s name come up, say something nice about the person in question. Act like an intermediary. One thing I want to point here is that please do not try to castigate him. This will put him on the defensive side and his response might trigger an argument between you two. And your response should never be “what about your own family” and you start mentioning names? This will only make matters worse because you will be touching the provocation cord which I can assure you will end up in a fight and this is where you do not want to be because one cannonball thrown will lead to another and another until war ensues.
And lastly………… please
Do not join him in speaking ill of his own family– If your spouse speaks ill of his own family, do not join him. Let him speak as much as he likes, and you just listen. Even though he is the one speaking ill of his own family, when it comes from you, it sounds rude and disrespectful. Be the listener and keep your advice to yourself.
My prayer is that God should continue to provide wisdom to us all, so we can navigate our marital journey as ordained by God.
So over to you beautiful iyawo olele reading this. What do you think? Ever had an issue with your in-laws? Trust me we’ve all gone through it. I know they can be a pain at times. But there are good ones you know. Please share your thoughts below. “Oya” gist us. 🙂
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