Mother-in-law sticking her nose in? (002-Q1-Edmund)

Edmund wants to know, “How do I keep my mother-in-law from sticking her nose in our business? She always tries to pry into how much we’re spending on this or that, and almost everything else. It’s practically daily thing.”

Answer (From Podcast Episode 002):

Oh, grasshopper, Edmund, you are hitting close to home now, for a lot of guys. This is a common complaint. I know why it bothers you. Believe me. You think you want to be in charge of your own life, and you don’t want your precious sweet wife to be influenced against you, and your way of thinking, by her mother. All right, I’m guessing at that. But am I so far off?

You married into the family, bud. Get used to that idea. In fact, you might change your mindset and consider it a blessing. The fact is, you won’t have a mother-in-law forever. So appreciate her now, while you can. Sometimes, I know, that can be hard, but think of it this way…your mother-in-law wants the best for you. Perhaps in a roundabout way. She cares about her daughter first and foremost, then the grandchildren, then you. So you’re the last in the line, but she does care about you. I’d venture to bet anyway.

She definitely wants the best for your marriage. She’s rooting for you. She’s rooting for your marriage. As far as your wife is concerned, your wife needs to foster a good relationship with her family. Just because she married you, doesn’t mean she’s yours now, and that her parents have no claim on her at all.

Don’t put undue pressure on your wife about this issue. You wife is probably not going to turn against you just because her mother is talking in her left ear while you’re talking in her right.

Ultimately, your mother-in-law, and other in-laws too for that matter, need to respect the boundaries of your marriage. They need to let you run your marriage to the best of your abilities. So focus on doing that. Run your marriage well, and you’ll have less influence from the outside. If you’re running your marriage wisely, that’s the thing to do. If you don’t, you’ll have no end of other people chiming in to tell you there’s a better way.

In my observation, most wives can handle their mothers just fine, and so you shouldn’t lose any sleep over her trying to (as you say) “stick her nose in your business.” So overall, hang in there, Edmund. Time tends to cure the nosy mother-in-law problem. My own mother-in-law doesn’t bother me at all. After twenty years, she is letting my wife and I run our own marriage. I hope she sees that I love her daughter and care about her and that I’m doing my best. What else could a parent hope for?

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