In-laws, they can make or break your relationship with your man. In my short time in marriage but almost a decade in my relationship, I have come to realise that there are several types of in-laws that you are most likely going to have in the family you are marrying into.
The relationship you have with your spouse will be highly affected by the way you choose to handle these new relatives. So here is a list of the people you might have in your life.
1. The free-loader – This is a person who will try to make the most out of the new relative that they have found. If you are a doctor, lawyer or are in any similar profession, expect for your professional advice to be asked, all the time by this person.
They will ask you to look at the weird growth on their leg, or advice on how to go about suing someone, all without payment. After all, you are family now.
Steer clear of these consultation seekers and keep conversations with them light. If they really want your professional opinion, give them an appointment and you will find that this is habit will die.
2. The ‘best friend’ – This is a person who, even though you might not have a close relationship with them, will always make it look like you have known each other for years. This mostly happens if you are successful or if they think you are.
They will know where you come from, will have worked with some of your colleagues, have attended services at your church. The interesting thing about this in-law is that the show is only in public. They will rarely call you or visit and will not try to genuinely get to know you.
3. The jealous one – If you are a woman, be warned. There are some in-laws who feel like they got the short end of the stick when they came into the family. These are usually women also married in that family, mostly the wives of your husband’s brothers or cousins. They may feel like you are undeserving of your man, or that they married the wrong brother.
An example of this is a lady I know, who we’ll call Esther. Esther is married to Kevin and they have two beautiful children together. However, their marriage has been rocked with challenges such as job loss. Mary, on the other hand, is married to Ken, Kevin’s brother. They have everything, so it seems. They drive a big car; have a big house and lots of money. Esther always criticizes Mary for their extravagant lifestyle, but never to her face. One has to wonder if she wishes she was married to Ken instead.
4. The ‘mother-in-law’ – This person does not necessarily have to be your mother-in-law. Anybody that is related to your husband but seems to be against your marriage because your presence takes his attention away from them, fits in this category.
Traditionally, mothers-in-law were against the women married into their homes because they felt that the favours and attention that they got from their sons would be diverted redirected to the wives. All the pocket money, shopping and other treats they received when the men were bachelors would now be channeled towards their own families.
Sometimes, you will come upon unwed sisters, brothers and other relatives who feel they are competing for the attention of your man with you. Dealing with these requires a lot of wisdom. Show them that you are not a threat and that you are willing to share your man with them. Make them feel at home in your house, but let your husband also know that he has to draw boundaries as to how much of him you can share in terms of finances and especially time.
5. The beggar – Have you ever met a person who never seems to have bus fare, or food or credit or school fees, despite the fact that they may be working or in business? These are very dangerous, especially to your reputation. Every time you meet, they will ask for “something small”. If you do not oblige them, tales of your black heart and tight fists will be sang in all the villages.
Just stay away from them as much as you can, they will eventually embarrass you.