Your mother-in-law is not going anywhere, get along with her...

Every day I wake up I ask myself when the painful grieving process will be over, (if it will ever be), and how long it will take to adjust the ‘new normal’.

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What you need to know:

  • Considering how long you have been together, one would expect that by now the two of you should have a mature and grounded relationship
  • In-laws are a vital part of our lives, therefore there is need for you to find a solution to what you are going through.
  • Determine the kind of help you need to give your husband to connect with him in a much better way.

Dear Pastor Kitoto,

My husband and I have been together for 10 years, including the two that we have been married. I love him a lot but since we got married, he stopped caring about me and started to take me for granted. Even when I’m ill, he expects me to take care of him. Also, he often borrows money from me and doesn’t return it. I feel really used and unappreciated. Another source of our conflict is his mother, who lives with us. She comes up with a new drama every day to frustrate me, even tampering with our food to make it inedible. Also, she's very dirty hygiene-wise and extremely disrespectful towards my parents. Besides this, she is very greedy when it comes to money and will cause a scene if her pocket money is slightly delayed. Worst of all, she tries hard to create disharmony between my husband and I. My husband does not admonish her bad behaviour, and the few times that he has done so was due to my constant pestering. I am considering leaving him. Please help me.


Ten years is a long time to throw away. Also, considering how long you have been together, one would expect that by now the two of you should have a mature and grounded relationship.

It is obvious that there is something amiss in the way the two of you relate - I sense a lack of honesty and transparency in your relationship, as well as poor communication. Feelings of being taken for granted, unappreciated and used are common in relationships where one or both spouses do not value the relationship.

The concerns you raise about your mother-in-law are shocking, it is hard to believe that someone can be this petty. That said, dealing with a meddling in-law must be a concerted effort between husband and wife, if it is one-sided, it cannot work. The situation becomes worse when one picks sides.

In-laws are a vital part of our lives, therefore there is need for you to find a solution to what you are going through. The fact is that our parents have a dependence that we cannot run away from. It is important to find out what our mandate towards them is and fulfill it.

Maybe this is what is lacking in the relationship you and your husband have with his mother. As you think about this, it is important to show love and respect to your mother-in-law even where none is given. Aging is a journey with its own fears, and it would be sad to ignore our parents’ uncertainties and instead see them as a burden.

I sense your helplessness, and deduce that what you feel about your mother in-law is connected to what you feel about your husband. You may need to separate the two. As you seek a way to make your relationship with your mother-in-law better, I suggest that you get your husband on board first because this is the only way to win over his mother. Here are steps that you can take to resolve your dilemma:

Show her that you care about her and her son and what they feel. If you can’t do this, it may be difficult to win this war.

Determine the kind of help you need to give your husband to connect with him in a much better way. This will give you the moral support you need as you draw your mother-in-law into the fold.

Don’t be too harsh and judgmental. Welcome and receive their input and correction without becoming too defensive – taking a combative approach will only make your relationship worse.

Manage your differences with civility without turning everything said and done into a war of hate against you. Even if you differ, do it with respect.

Love breaks barriers. Love your husband unconditionally, however, authentic relationships speak the truth, but in love.

Be accountable and responsible of your actions. Try and move from the space of finger-pointing to that of winning your husband over. You need his support to move forward.

Instead of grumbling, I suggest that you start to show love and respect towards your mother in-law. This will improve the way you see each other and value each other – maybe your husband feels that you do not respect or appreciate his mother, hence his unsupportive attitude.

In summary, your first goal should be to bridge the gap between you and your spouse. Until both of you are in agreement, it will be difficult to agree on anything concerning how to deal with your mother-in-law.

How do I salvage my relationship with my daughter?

Hello Pastor Kitoto,

l am a single mother – I have a very bad relationship with my daughter. When she got pregnant, she insisted on getting married immediately, but this wasn’t possible. She recently gave birth, and while she still lives in me, she has refused to consult me on anything. Who should name the baby since the child was born in my home? I am willing to take care of the baby, but will I have any legal right over the baby since I have no idea who she intends to name the baby after? I feel hurt and disappointed.

Hello there,

Obviously, you and daughter have a very poor way of communicating, hence your distressing relationship and inability to resolve conflict.

I feel that your first area of conflict in this matter was when your daughter demanded to get married immediately after she learnt that she was pregnant. How did you approach this issue?

 Did both of you feel included in the final decision? How about the father of the child? Did he have a say in the matter or not? To repair your relationship with your daughter, I believe that you first need to deal with the disappointment associated with your daughter getting pregnant. How did you felt when you learnt that she was pregnant and how did you respond to the news?

I also need to understand what your relationship was like before the pregnancy. Once you answer these two questions honestly, have a heart-to-heart talk with your daughter and let her know that you love her. Affirmation of your love for her is important right now.

Second, seek to know where she was coming from when she insisted on a wedding. For instance, was the father of her child ready to marry her and take responsibility for the child? If this is the case, why would you be opposed to your daughter getting married? Whatever the motivation was, it is important that you hear her out. You say that you are willing to take responsibility of your daughter’s child, while this is noble, I don’t believe that parents should shoulder their children’s responsibilities.

She needs to bear the consequences of her actions. That said, this is an important time to be a mum and a close confidant to your daughter. What she most needs from you is your support and blessing so that she can make it, but this can only happen when you retrace your steps to the point where you and your daughter lost contact and find a way to reconnect.

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