The Counsellor's thoughts...

Dear Beth

A good wife knows her husband well and cares more about the relationship than what her husband’s relative’s demand for, and that is her greatest source of protection. Your in-laws can turn toxic to this marriage if you and your husband don’t set boundaries for them. When two people decide to unite as husband and wife, they vow to support each other for better or worse. You expect your partner to stick up for you when someone else threatens you, criticises or makes you feel insecure. The last thing you expect is to have your spouse side with his relatives over you. Revise rational strategies collectively as a couple to strike equilibrium between you and family. Balancing loyalties, setting boundaries for relatives, and resisting self-protective biases that blind us to our own unfairness are all essential to prevent conflict from overwhelming a marriage and to silence the cries of “whose side are you on”. It’s about being mindful of what issues are worth tackling versus those that just need to be blown over.

“You’re the one and you come first” should be your marriage mantra. Your partner should be on your side whenever the going gets rough but be sure to stay completely trouble-free and avoid going astray so that he protects someone who is worth it. Put together whatever is truly right for your marriage to flourish. If your husband knows you’re a good person, he may come to your defense from time to time when things get rough. Find long-term solutions that guarantee privacy and independence. It all begins with strengthening the relationship with your man and finding a solution as a couple. Your in-laws should be asked to respect your home using a humble approach, but this can only work out if your husband understands the importance of protecting you. The marriage will work if you respect and support each other.

Always remember to put your relationship with your husband above everything else. Their presence is not permanent and you will soon hold your marriage singlehandedly. You should remember that many marriages go through such battles but you’ll be a winning team once you remember to love and respect each other first.