Christ's Glory, Not Mine

by science fiction author Andrea J. Graham

For this Cause Shall a Man Leave His Mother….

Andrea,

I was married three years ago to a christian man. He had built a new house five years prior with his mother. She didn’t live up to her end of the deal so he had her name removed from the house but still let her live there for free. She owned a house that she was renting. Well we met and deceided to get married thats when she started hating me. He told her she needed to move out and she could live in my house until her renters lease came up.

She came to my house and jumped on me for taking her easy street away from her. On our wedding day she pouted all day she left the wedding early. We go visit her she won’t speak to me. She talks smart to me when she does talk to me. I’ve had her over for dinner she runs my cooking down. She use to go to the same church as us ( but she got mad at the preacher he wouldn’t let her read a poem up front unless she would wear a dress) She would sit and want my husband to sit next to her then there wouldn’t be room for me she would want him to sit there with his arm around her because she was cold….

We have a little boy now she got mad when he was first born because she said I was feeding him to much…. She was over one day and wouldn’t feed him she said he had gas so I told her if she wasn’t going to feed him to give him to me and I would my husband took me in the other room and jumped on me and told me I don’t talk to his mother like that. But she can sit there and tell what a bad mother I am and that I don’t fool with him and he needs to stay with somebody that would. He will not say a would to her but I’m not allowed to say anything back to her or he jumps on me in front of her which she enjoys.

…She told him he had a choice to pick me or her and if he picked me he wasn’t her son no more he picked me. She hasn’t called here since but she sends me cards and signs them Marks mother underlines mother and she puts salvation tracks in them. She won’t have holiday meals anymore because she says her house is to small.

…My mother and I are very close and [my mother-in-law] is very jealous of that relationship. When we got married she told me she was my mother now and for me to quit having anything to do with my family. I haven’t all the other in laws have. She tells people all kinds of stories to make me look bad. All his siblings will not talk to him…

We are expecting another child. I would love to get this realtionship healed before it is born. Please help me. I’m awful worried I would love to have a good realtionship with her but I don’t know how. she is not a nice person.

Worried in ohio

Dear Worried,

I don’t think I need to tell you your mother-in-law is a control freak, to put it nicely. I’m starting to think there’s one of those in every family.

Now, they say there is two sides to every story, and unless you’re a saint in the catholic sense, or too cowed by her, at one point or another, you’ve returned fire. While the bible does say, “honor your mother,” it also says, in about four different places, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31) So, regardless of your contribution, your husband has been breaking a cardinal rule of marriage: Don’t let your parents bad-mouth your spouse. Instead of riding you all the time, he should be saying, “Mom, I love you, but don’t talk to my wife like that.” At least he figured out he should pick his wife over his mother on that one occassion, but that doesn’t excuse the rest of it.

As to what you could do to heal the relationship, you could go to her, take responsiblity for returning fire, and ask for her forgiveness. However, even if she granted it, without a heart-change, she’s just going to continue behavior that is destructive to your marriage and even has some classic signs of abuse. It might be in your family’s best interest to sever the ties with her (and first telling her why, a letter might work best) and pray, pray, pray for God to give her a new heart.

Love in Christ,
Andrea

P.S. if you do feel your mother-in-law is emotionally abusive, I urge you to seek professional medical help, your pastor should be able to make a recommendation.


10 comments

  1. Mary

    Dear Worried,
    I also have a controlling mother-in-law. Mother-in-laws can set the pace for the rest of the in-law family. I am always nice to her but but her passive aggressive nature can test my patience. I do discuss problems with her to a counselor and pray to God for help. I never complain about her to the family. Sometimes I ask my husband for help on reoccurring issues. He does try to help but he is busy guy and he sometimes forgets. Good luck. My husband and I are happiest when I can put those issues aside and enthusiastically live life to the fullest.

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  3. Called to Evangelise

    My advice

    There are two sides to every story but giving my intake on the situation from what’s posted:

    You did not marry your mother-in-law. You married her son which is NOW your husband. Since the husband is the head, he would have the majority of the responsiblity of keeping meddlers out of their realationship especially since it’s coming from his side of the family. I don’t think that it’s okay for him to take sides in this issue, but to be responsible and maintain the peace in the matter. This mother have a serious issue and it revolves around not being able to let her son be a grown man and harbor a family on his own without her interference. It’s sad that grown adults that are married with thier own familes are living in bondage because of their own mother or parents! Some of them still feel they have to answer to their parents and let them govern their lives although they are capable of making thier own decisions.

    By no means am I suggesting that you disrespect your mother-in-law but you do have a right to stick up for herself and your marriage. It’s sad that Christians who supposed to be the light of the world can’t live in the freedom that Christ have paid for us because of controlling and manipulative people. We worry about what people think and say about us. We worry about what others will think of a new relationship we have and the list goes on. Marriage God’s way requires us to be obedient to God and leaving everyone else out of our relationships! It’s God that governs and not a controlling and manipulative mother-in-law.

    Maybe she should go and enroll in some classes, take on a new hobby or do something productive with her time for if she occupies herself instead of being a busybody that is mentioned in Timothy, then she will have less time to interfere in her already grown son’s life. Do you think God is pleased with manipulation?

    No, he isn’t. It’s him that have authority and dominion over us, but he doesn’t force himself on us. We don’t serve him out of compulsion.

    In being bound to Satan will cause one to constantly follow and adhere to his commands for he demands servitude.

    In this case, the husband is the one that must severe this Un-Godly and Un-healthy Soul-tie with his mother for if it were healthy and if he weren’t bound, he would not be sticking up for his mother and shooting you wife down in front of her. Like I mentioned, it’s two sides to every story. I’m just giving my intake on what you have posted here.

  4. Thank you for your input, Called. I agree her husband ought to shield her from his mother and it would be better if he broke off relations with his mother if she’s going to treat his wife like this. That said, she didn’t ask me what her husband should do, she asked what she could do to heal the relationship. The most effective step she can take for that is to apologize for what she brings to the table (we all bring something, we’re not perfect yet.) In normal situations, God will often convict the other person of what they’ve done wrong and will result in a reciprocal apology. With an abuser, it usually won’t work that way, no, you’re reconciled, sure, but only to receive more abuse, and I warned her of the risks.

    Before they can have a healthy relationship, her mother-in-law needs a heart change, and all she can do about that is pray.

    Many conflicts arise out of mothers viewing their daughter-in-law as competitors and get caught up in battling with their son’s wife for his affections. It’s pure sin, your sons are supposed to leave you for their wives. Stop trying to hold onto what now belongs to his wife and embrace her as a daughter, and you’ll find “second place” isn’t such a bad position to hold in your son’s heart, after all.

    Focus on the Family has some good articles on dealing with in-laws.

  5. Aloha Andrea!
    I just read your replies to this issue of the controlling mother-in-law and i want to commend you for dispersing the wisdom of God to those in need. All i can do is pray more that God will continue to use you as His mouthpiece in solving the “little” problems in our lives which can end up “leavening”the whole batch of life’s dough; thereby making life a living hell instead of a living joy for Christains. Christ said in John 10:10 that He came that we may experience abundant (not half) life … i think the devil is as tricky enough to use the trivial matters of daily relationships to bring to nothing this great cause of our Master. May you keep representing the Lord and fighting for abundant life in Jesus’ Mighty Name! Amen.

  6. Cloverdale Church of God in Boise, Idaho. It’s affiliated with the Church of God Anderson. I’m a bit of an oddball. I was raised Baptist, actually, and got introduced to Pentecost as a teen (permanently parted ways after getting burned as a young adult) But I’d been “Baptized in the Holy Ghost,” as they would put it, already, probably at the Baptist church, ironically. I just didn’t know what it was. It is definitely true for me, that I didn’t choose Him; He chose me, and praise God! I was rejected by nearly everyone else!

    Thank you, Andin, for that word of encouragement and affirmation. I must have needed blessed today 🙂

  7. daughter-in-law

    Hi! I thank God He led me to this site. I, too, have been quietly suffering under a manipulative mother-in-law. Being a Christian myself, I thought the best approach was to just ignore her for spreading lies about my character or for being so controlling about the plans we make as a couple. I would condemn myself for well, not hating my mother-in-law, but for being frustrated about my situation. It’s been tougher now since I recently introduced my husband to Christ. We’ve been going to church regularly and I’ve seen how the Spirit has changed my husband into a more loving and patient person.
    I agree with you, Andrea, that some mothers-in-law view their son’s wives as competitors for their son’s affection. I’ve noticed, too, that not all mothers-in-law are same—the ones who lead their own enriching and fulfilling lives don’t meddle at all and are in fact the most supportive.
    I also think that women who do not have God at the very center of their lives fail miserably in their roles anyway, whether as mother, mother-in-law, spouse, sister, boss, employee, etc. Andy, Called, Mary and Andrea are right on the mark. All we can do is pray and continue to be forgiving. We mustn’t worry about what others think of us. All that matters is that we do things that are pleasing to God. With our eyes on Him, He will fight the battle for us.
    Called says: “It’s God that governs and not a controlling and manipulative mother-in-law.” Now that’s blessed assurance.
    Ladies, my advice is not to take your frustrations out on your husbands. Continue to be a loving wife. Do not let this trial take the better of you. Depend on God for strength to resist the temptation to fight back and fall into sin’s trap. Hopefully, by leading a Christian life, we may encourage our mothers-in-law to do the same.
    Andrea, thanks again for reminding us all about God’s word: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Those words offer comfort and consolation.
    I wish everyone a great day ahead! You will all be in my prayers.

  8. Thank you, Sister. There are probably nearly as many mother-in-laws as there are mothers 😉 And you are right about frustrations–the best place to take those is to the Lord. Too many of us are afraid to tell Him what we’re really feeling, like He doesn’t already know!

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