- Marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo says husbands cannot be on the sidelines when the women they brought together don't get along.
- Lehlohonolo says sometimes husbands are the reason their wives call their mothers monsters-in-law. As a husband, you know both women better.
- This puts you in a position to help them relate to each other from a place of understanding, not apprehension.
Little is said about a husband's role in ensuring that his mother and wife get along. But there is a lot of focus and pressure on the two women to get along.
Marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo says husbands cannot be on the sidelines when the women they brought together are not getting along. "They have to get involved and function as peacemakers.
"Unfortunately, many husbands are in the habit of complaining about their mothers to their wives and badmouthing their wives to their mothers. Then they cry foul when the two women cannot stand each other, whereas they are the ones who taught them to be comfortable hating each other," he explains.
Lehlohonolo says sometimes husbands are the reason why their wives call their mothers monsters-in-law. When the conflict arises, it is not about taking sides; it is about setting healthy boundaries so that both the women you love can get along. This, however, should not happen when there is already conflict.
It should be done from the first day the man introduces the woman to his mother. "A son can stand up to his mother much better than a wife can stand up to her mother-in-law. But most often, husbands fail to stand up for their wives. And as a result, their wives are left to stand alone against their mothers-in-law.
"As a husband, you know both women better. This puts you in a position to help them know each other better, which will help them relate from a place of understanding and not apprehension," Lehlohonolo adds.
Husbands should not be sitting on the sidelines. He says, "When your wife and mother find themselves having to relate with each other, it is because of you that this relationship can grow or fail."
Reasons this relationship may not work out are layered and differ. Still, Lehlohonolo says, mothers-in-law struggle with accepting that their sons have another woman in their lives. "Love the woman he chooses to spend his life with; love your son enough to spare him the pain of choosing between you and the love of his life."
Furthermore, the husband needs to step in because when his wife does it alone, she may be labelled 'disrespectful towards her elders'. "This is where the husband should step in and come to his wife's defence. If the husband fails to defend her, she will have to defend herself, which may lead to all the blame being placed on her," he adds.