In-laws result from marriage. They include the mother, father, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins etc. Of your marriage partner.

The moment you decide who should be your spouse,your in laws are automatically determined.

In Africa and Nigeria specifically,the extended family makes the impact of in-laws on the nuclear famil. The demands of this socio cultural custom vary from one culture to another. 

Obviously,there are some norms or expectations that contradict biblical principles on marriage. For example,it is only the woman that leaves while the man remains with his family,etc.

There are many which serve as pillars that absorb the shocks and storms of marriage.

The Bible encourages us as Christians tonlibe at peace with all men. Therefore,a good understanding of peaceful and godly interaction with IN-LAWS in marriage is a necessity.

There are TYPES OF INTERACTION OR RELATIONSHIP between the IN-LAWS and the wife or the husband

There are two major groups of in-laws interaction in marriage. These include:

i. Unhealthy relationship or interaction
ii. Healthy relationship or interaction



  UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
 1. It could develop in an attempt by in laws to interfere,hijack or exert undue influences in a nuclear family
2. This is usually borne out of the cultural factor that sees the nuclear family as an extension of the husband's extended family structure {Matthew 19:4-6}.
 3. Secondly,in African culture,the wife is seen as an acquired property of the husband's extended family,hence,she is expected to be subject to all,even to the least person in the husbands extended family. Infact ,in yoruba cultures,WIVES are referred to as slaves of the family. Moreover,they have no cultural right over any of the husband's relations that usually leave nothing for her and the children.
4. The age long history of cultural deprivation and low esteem of women in matrimony makes many women to enter marriage with a highly critical and suspicious spirit coupled with bitter resentment of their in-laws.
5. The husband's relations see the wife as a bird that is coming to feast where she never showed.

The relationship is usually tense, apprehensive and could sometimes be explosive. Above all,in laws problem in marriage is usually a wildfire that traps the children and generations yet unborn once those that started the inferno are unable to settle the problem before either of them dies.

The following are other attitudes that could lead to unhealthy relationship with in - laws.
 {a} parental possessiveness and overprotection 
i. There is reluctance and unwillingness on the part of many parents to let off their children {Gen 2:24}.
ii. They believe that the child cannot get by without their unsolicited help,e.g laban and Jacob{Gen 31:26-29}.
iii. They are afraid that no one else could properly take care of
iv. They manifest these attitudes by visiting the new couple frequently. Some use gifts,money, business opportunities etc. to monitor and control the new home while some outrightly dictate instructions,rules and regulations that should be adhered to in their children's home.
Occasionally,some try to plant informants as dependent relations or house helps who spy on the inadequacies and weaknesses of the couple.

 {B} mutual suspicion
i. There is an age long myth of thr difficulties mothers in law create for daughters in law in marriage.
ii. The mother is suspicious that the wife is there to siphon and possess her son's wealth,whereas the wife is suspicious that the mother would not allow her to stay in matrimony.
iii. There is mutual suspicion of each others actions and gestures even when it is well motivated or with good intention.
iv. There is usually cautious interaction instead of courteous interaction.
v. Parents are naturally selfish,hence, usually blame every misfortune and unacceptable action of their child on his or her marriage partner.
vi. The unhealthy rivalry sometimes results into direct face off or verbal clashes as they openly accuse each other of evil intentions.
vii. The suspicious spirit spreads like wildfire as each party tries to solicit for support from other members of the extended family.
viii. Couples sometimes create opportunities for in-laws when they cannot resolve their differences personally and privately but expose their spouse's weakness to their parents or relations.

 Now let's discuss how to
HANDLE DEPENDENT RELATIVES IN MARRIAGE

Dependent relatives could either be parents or brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews etc. Of the couple. Some cultures give low esteem to the wife,hence,encourages the husband's relations,both junior and senior and most especially the males,to exert uninhibited authority over their brothers wife.. This culture is unhealthy, unscriptural and unchristian, therefore,it must be discouraged in matrimony. Let your people realise that your wife is neither a junior partner nor a slave but has equal rights, as the husband in the home.
It is the duty of the husband to educate, protect and fight on behalf of his wife where necessary.
- Discourage bringing into your home dependent relations within the first one year if marriage. They are usually the beginning of problems in any new homes.
 - The couple needs some time to discover themselves and adjust,hence,the third party is an aberration that catalyses misunderstandings that could easily be settled within couples.
- Eventually,when they come, demonstrate a united home in your assistance or support towards them.
 - Make them realise that the assistance or help you are giving is a joint effort {you and your partner}.
- Avoid revealing all your family secrets to your in-laws under the gesture of trying to satisfy them.
- Never confront any in-law openly. The wound may never heal{Eph 4:29-30}
- Never condemn,rebuke or criticise any in law openly,they would see your comments as insults.
 - When in-laws displease you, discuss with your spouse who would assume the responsibility of sorting things out with his or her relations. Never support or encourage your parents or relatives to disrespect , insult,abuse,cheat or maltreat your partner.
- Let your loyalty always be towards your home first and always shield your partner in their presence.
[5/8, 9:14 PM] Bro Remirccg: - Never run down your partner in the presence of your in-laws. If you do ,then you would have sinned.
- Note: Having Christian in-laws is not a guarantee of problem free relationship. Though theyay not encourage outright sin,the devil could explore their weak points in undermining your relationship.
- Whether Christians or not, follow peace, righteousness and Holiness in relating with your in laws.

What if u are fortunate to have NON-CHRISTIAN IN-LAWS

- once you have in-laws that are not Christians ,you would be committing a great error by judging their actions and pronouncements with your Christian principle.
- Accept that some of their ways and conducts that negate the principles of Christian marriage are executed out of ignorance and with good intention of assisting the marriage,based on the long social cultural beliefs.
- Therefore,do not be bitter or resentful in understanding their point of reasoning.
 - ask the Lord to grant you wisdom, understanding and maturity in relating with them despite your differences in believes and principles
- Display the fruit of the spirit towards them with the sole aim of winning them to Christ {gal 5:19-22}
 - Carefully avoid their idolatrous practices like performing rituals,bathing with special soaps, protective charms,etc,under the guise of genuine concern for the welfare of the family
- Each partner should politely and vehemently address relations that want to negatively influence their family

 In a case where the relationship are HEALTHY

It is absolutely wrong to conclude that in-laws have no role to play in marriage
- healthy interactions or relationship with in-laws is mutually beneficial and could be very supportive
 - Couples should create a conducive atmosphere that is devoid of sentiments or resentment
 They could give physical, financial and emotional support during wedding, birthday, childbirth,in times of sorrow's, distress, trials and old age

These are forums of healthy interaction in marriage

- They are usually the ones that would support and assist. This is one of the positive effects of the extended family system in Africa.

  The following are scriptural examples of healthy interaction with in law's in marriage:

 1. Noah sheltered his sons and daughters in law during the flood
2. Moses received a godly counsel from his father in-law {exo18:14-24}
3. Naomi and Ruth expressed a divine pattern of wife, mother in-law relationship {Ruth 1:16-17}
 * avoid secret assistance to your relations or friends {if your partner discovers, trust would be lost}
 *The husband and wife are in charge, hence anybody under your roof must comply to the acceptable norms in your home no matter their status
*Not being ready to comply means they must not be allowed to stay in your home*
 *Husband and wife should discuss and agree on what, when,how and the magnitude of the assistance to be given to either of the relations{it doesn't have to be 50\50 please}*

 RECOMMENDATIONS

*1. Determine to have a very cordial relationship with your in-laws. Pray earnestly about this even before marriage*
 *2. Have a positive assumption about your in-laws. Don't entertain any fear instead demonstrate love as love covers a multitude of sins*
*3. Disclose to your spouse during courtship your key IN-LAWS and their dispositions. This would assist your partner in avoiding conflicts even before he or she comes to understand them*
*4. Never disagree vehemently in the presence of your in-laws. They would capitalise on your weakness*
*5. Never display or relate your conflicts before in-laws. Resolve them yourselves privately*
*6. You and your partner are one. Therefore, maintain a united position and a single voice in the presence of your in-laws*
*7. Plan for as many children as you can give decent upbringing. Avoid asking in-laws to be responsible for bringing up your children {most of them get spoilt}*
 *8. Make full disclosure to your spouse of the extent of your material and financial commitment to dependent relatives*
 *9. Discuss and adjust where necessary so that full priority would be given to the needs of your nuclear family in marriage*
*10. Dependent relatives should not stay with newly wed couple so that they could discover themselves without interference or third party*

Now let's briefly moved on to some common in-laws problems and how to handle it.  Sometimes, being married to someone also means
you're marrying each other's family. So, not only
that you would have to adjust yourself with your
new spouse, but you should also try to build a
good relationship with his parents at least. But
what if you find yourself clashed with both or
one of your in-laws?
Don't give up yet, because
tonight I am going to help you identify the in-
laws' problem you might be having and share
tips on handling it in a positive and healthy way.
Hopefully, you'll find the solution to these
domestic problems and able to make peace with
them.

#1: My in-law is too controlling
Do you feel like your mother-in-law is the one in
charge of your marriage, instead of you and your
husband? Does she constantly tell you what to do
and not do, where to live, how to raise your kids,
and get upset if you do not comply with her
instructions?. If so, then you might be facing the
classic controlling in-law case. It's one thing if
you and your spouse are on the same page about
how to handle the overbearing figure, but if he's
actually following her every command and
feeling guilty if you don't then you need to solve
it quickly before it puts more pressure and stress
to your relationship and marriage.  To deal with the struggling power play within the
family, take time to find the roots of the problem.
 Is your in-law such a control freak because she's
afraid of losing her dominance in her now-
married son's life?
Why does your husband feel
so powerless against his mother?
 Is it a hard-to-
break habit that stemmed from his childhood?

When you have figured out the reasons behind
these behaviors, discuss with your husband and
help him understand that the two of you should
lead your marriage together. Create a united
front with your spouse and forget about having
her approval on every little thing, so hopefully,
your in-laws can see who's in control in this
marriage.

Problem #2: My in-law is rude or unfriendly

Surely, you'd love to see your in-laws as an extra
set of loving parents in your life, but it will be
hard if they aren't as welcoming as you thought
they would be. For some reason, you might feel
like they are cold, unfriendly, and even rude to
you. You might also hear them saying hurtful
things like comparing you to your husband's ex-
girlfriend or badmouthing you to other family
members. So, what to do in this unpleasant
situation?
 First of all, let your husband know that his
parent's behavior is hurting your feeling and
making you uncomfortable. Let him be the one to
ask his parents to be nicer or be more proactive
in standing up for you.
You can also stand up for
yourself and ask them the reason behind their
hostile treatment. But remember to hold your
tongue and anger, so that you wouldn't lose your
temper and say things you might regret. Just
don't fight fire with fire. Simply tell them that
you're not okay with all the negativity they've
been projecting this whole time and ask them to
respect your new status as their son's wife (firm,
but nicely!).
If the problem persists, limit yourself from
their environment and have your personal space
so that you wouldn't have to interact with them
on a daily basis. Yes, you should respect them
anyway, but you shouldn't force yourself to be
best friend with your in-laws if you're just not
connecting well with them.
Problem
#3: My in-law is (still!) treating my spouse like
a child. For some parents, their kids will forever be their
baby no matter how grown up they are now. It
can be cute to see how his mom still cooks his
favorite meal every time the two of you are
visiting, or his dad insists on going camping or
fishing with him during the holiday season just
like the old days, but it would surely get
annoying if they are worrying and babying him
too much. For example, if your in-laws are overly
fussing about the cold he's having, implying that
you are not taking better care of him like they
did, unnecessarily sending over food to your
house, or not trusting him with making major life
decision with you. As long as it's harmless and not affecting your
relationship or marriage, keep your cool and
accept the fact that loving parents will always
shower their kids with affections, in their own
unique ways. But if those endearing gestures
have turned into an annoyance for you, you
better draw the line immediately. Though it
might seem harsh, it's essential for you to let
them know the limit.

Tell them you appreciate all
of their help and advice, but you and your spouse
are trying to find your own ways to navigate this
marriage together so the two of you can grow
and be an independent, self-sufficient couple.
 Problem
#4: My in-law is too involved in my married
life. The moment you're having an occasional
argument with your spouse, just like any normal
married couple would, but your in-laws are being
nosy and butting in or if they expect you to
consult them first whenever you're trying to
make a career or housing decision, that's when
you know you have a meddling parent-in-law. To
have a solid support system is nice, but not if
they turned out to be intruding and interfering in
your personal issue that was none of their
concern. What should you do? You might ask. Well, you
and your husband should try to keep any
personal issue out of your in-law's knowledge if
you don't want them to meddle in it.

Don't fight
or flaunt your problems in front of them. Also,
don't snitch or complain about your spouse
annoying habits to them. Contain and try to solve
it by yourself. When you feel like they're giving
you unsolicited advice, you can say thanks, but
no thanks, or simply nod and tell them you'll
consider it to keep the peace.  At the end of the
day, every big decision should be made by you
together with your spouse.
Problem #5:My in-laws judge and criticize my every move.
We all know that every parent wants nothing but
the best for their kid, including in terms of
finding a life companion. But, we're only human
and it's natural to make mistake when you're
trying to adapt with the newly-ventured married
life. Imagine how stressful it would be to have
someone watching your every move and then
judge or criticize it, especially because they feel
like you don't fit their expectation. This is also
one of the classic cases of toxic in-laws, where
you feel like you can't do anything right. If you're
working, then you're not prioritizing your family.
But if you stay at home, then they would say
you're lazy.  They would rush you to have a baby
and reprimand you and your husband's decision
to postpone a pregnancy. And don't even start
with parenting stage, because they feel like they
have more experience, it feels like you don't have
any say about how to raise your own kids. Even though you might be tempted to explode
into rage and tell them off, we are suggesting you
take a more diplomatic route in order to achieve
long-term peace. Don't take it to personal if you
feel like they're attacking you and make your
spouse your ally. That way, he can help you build
a defense by saying that every decision in your
marriage are being made together, so it would be
unfair for them to blame only you. You can also
say something like, "Thank you for the input, but
I this works better for me," or "I appreciate your
opinion, I prefer to do it this way."

 Just as we
said on how to handle similar problems above,
you don't need to have other peoples' approval
on everything you're doing. Keep doing what
you're doing positively and hopefully, they can
finally see your best intentions.

Problem #6: My in-law is clingy and overly attached to my spouse.  
In contrast to problem #3 where your parent-in-
law treats you or your husband as an infant, in
this case, they are the ones acting like a child. It's
like they're afraid of losing the attention of their
son, so they become clingy, needy and attached
to him, even to the point of competing for his
love with you. If they are constantly calling him
for help to handle small and trivial things,
following the two of you around despite the fact
that you're going on a romantic trip, or telling
him stuff like how he doesn't love his parents
anymore since he was married, then you're
facing this particular in-law problem. Handle this problem delicately, because they are
his parents and they deserve to be loved and
respected.

 If they're afraid of being left behind or
feeling lonely at their own home, you should
always ensure them that you will be there for
them. Don't dismiss or hate them for it. Instead,
be open and include them in your family
activities, like birthdays and holidays. By doing
this, they would be reassured that they won't
lose a son, but instead gain a loving daughter as
well.

Problem #7: My in-laws have no respect for myprivacy.  
Are you having difficulties with your in-laws who
love to come to your house unannounced, snoop
on your private conversation or even
nonchalantly taking a peek into confidential
emails or letters? Even if you're sharing a living
space with them, it doesn't mean that they can
walk in and out of your territory, without
considering your privacy. Being close-knit and
transparent is one thing, but obviously, you don't
need to share every personal or intimate detail in
your marriage to your in-laws, or other people
you don't feel comfortable with. The moment you realize that your in-laws are
being insensitive to this particular need, you and
your spouse have to work together to build some
sort of boundaries and strategy to break off this
habit.

 First, don't overshare your problems with
them. They don't need to know that you're
arguing with your husband over small stuff.
Second, create a safe space for you and your
husband to be alone, undisturbed. It could be
asking the in-laws to call before coming to your
house or simply a lock on the door or drawers to
keep your private stuff out of their reach.

Lastly,
respect their privacy in return. Set an example
by not butting in when they're having an
argument with other family members or express
your hesitation to look at their phones or private
documents, even when they're asking you to do
it.

Problem#8: My in-law is dramatic and too sensitive.
Be prepared if your in-law has the
tendencies for being melodramatic, making
exaggerated stories or constantly being offended
by every little thing that you do or say, you might
just land a role in this new episode of family
drama. When faced with the problematic in-laws who
has the knack for acting emotionally and turning
you into the antagonist, you better pick your
battles.  If you react with the same hysterical note
as they did, you will be dealing with this kind of
problem for the rest of your marriage, because
you're actually giving them the reaction that they
expected. If the topic of their drama is simply
fabricated or irrelevant, simply walk away,
ignore them or respond honestly. There's no need
to be rude but convey your feeling in a clear and
neutral way. It could also be pointless to make
everyone see how wrong your in-law is, even if
it's obvious because sometimes is not about being
right but being happy. So, for your sake, take the
high ground, try to compromise as much as you
can, and don't let their negativity poison you or
your marriage.

Problem #9: My in-laws try to turn me and my spouse against each other.
This is the worst kind of toxic in-law because
instead of being supportive of your marriage
they're trying to make you and your spouse
turning against each other. As much as we hoped
that none of you is facing this problem, we have
to break the news that for whatever reason, some
in law actually plot and manipulating their way
into their kids' marriage! Some might ask their
kids to pick a side, between their parents or their
spouse, which was totally unfair. Some might
also badmouth their kid's spouse in front of
others and always try to be the good guys.
 
One advice for couples who are having this
problem is: Don't take the bait. We hope you
know your spouse well enough so you're not
going to fall into these domestic traps. Recognize
the pattern, listen to your instinct, and avoid
trusting their words instantly, for example, if
your in-law is trying to upset you by telling how
wonderful your spouse's former lover is
compared to you, brush it off and don't take it
personally. You should let your spouse know
about his parents' behavior but pick your battles. He may not always be in the mood to hear all
your complaints about his awful parents, so it's
essential for you to have a solid support group
outside the house.

Try to turn to your best
friends, siblings, or even therapist and support
groups to get things out of your chest. Work out
your way so that this problem won't cause a
strain in your marriage and relationship. At the end of the day, just as you accept your
husband for all of his flaws and qualities, you
should also admit that his parents are probably
not going to change.

The important thing is you
have tried to make things better, find the
solutions, mend the relationship, and improve
yourself. If all else fails, look at the fact that this
is the way things are and move on.

CONCLUSION: 
You are fully responsible for your own home {i.e husband and wife}. Never compromise or condescend to take side with in-laws to the detriment of your family. Nobody is an island. You are an in-law somehow,to someone. As you wish others to treat you,do likewise to your in-laws. Whatever you sow you will reap.

Thank you for your patience to read through.

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