In-laws: Curse or blessing?


ALL over communities you hear of a lot of stories about in-laws fighting with their daughters-in-law.

It’s very rare to hear of in-laws who enjoy a blessing relationship with their sons’ wives, otherwise the majority are at war. I always wonder why it is so and I must say that this is an unfortunate thing that all of us must address and try and defeat.

Daughters’ in-law are not a curse or an enemy and so are mothers, fathers and sisters in-law. So what could be the cause of this cat and mouse relationship that has caused so much pain to a lot of innocent young lovers and ruined so many relationships? Some mothers in-law never let go their sons and they want to remain in charge of affairs of a married son telling him what to do and how to treat his wife.

Some of these sons will listen and obey their mothers more than their wives resulting in strife and fighting in the marriage. Some mothers follow their daughters in their marriage and control and manipulate them and train them in very bad ways resulting in confusion and even in divorce.

Some in-laws want to stay together with their married sons or daughters and cause a lot of havoc in young marriages. Then there is the sisters’ scourge to deal with.

The husbands’ sisters never let go their brother and want to be police, judges and everything in the marriage. These too have caused a great deal of suffering to innocent young girls who married their husbands out of love and nothing else.

Where is all this spirit of manipulation coming from? Where is all this jealousy coming from? Marriage is not a community project. It is not a family or clan project. No one marries for others. Marriage has no third part. The only “third” part is God who actually is the “all part”.

Marriage is between two consenting adults, male and female, who want to share their lives with each other and fulfil the will of God together as husband and wife. No one else has a right to come in and destroy this. “What God has joined together let no man separate.” Matthew 19:6.

Marriage is of God and He is the one who brings the two, husband and wife together and joins them together and therefore no one on earth or underneath the earth or in the heavens has a right to separate or come in between these.

And yet many of our in-laws are found guilty of violating this standard and principle of marriage. In-laws are supposed to advise and encourage and not manipulate and control and run their children’s marriages.

Right at the beginning of marriage is “leaving and cleaving”. “For this reason a husband shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh”. (Genesis 2:24, Mathew 19:5 and Ephesians 5:31). This means it is important in that the Bible says it three times without changing the wording and emphasis.

A husband leaves his father and mother and joins to his wife so they can become what God wants them to become, one flesh. The challenge with many marriages is that the husbands have not left and are not willing to leave. Some think that they are marrying for their parents.

Some think that their wives must work for and look after their parents. They are not married to wives, but to “maids” for their people. This is a violation of the marriage institution.

Imagine being a maid by marriage! What a deception? Whether we like it or not, marriage begins with a leaving and it is the husband who does so. This leaving does not mean you cut ties with your parents. You will have to support them.

You remain in relationship, but you now have a bigger relational duty of “pursuing” your wife, which is cleaving. For you and your wife to become one, that is “two in one, you must leave and cleave. If there is no leaving there is no cleaving and when there is no cleaving there is no becoming one.

Many marriages are not yet enjoying this level of unity and intimacy because there are still many third parties with shares in them and they are unwilling to move. You see, if you do not move, your people will run your marriage and you will have an angry and confused wife always and at the end of the day you are also suffering trying to impress “intruders” in your marriage.

To all of us fathers, mothers and sisters, can we please leave our children alone to enjoy their marriages without our intrusion and jealousy. To all husbands still “sticking around home” please leave and join with your wife and enjoy what God intends for your marriage. Remember you can only enjoy marriage in this life only and not after death. It is not there.

 Kilton Moyo is a pastor, guidance and counselling consultant and author of Responding to Personal Crisis. You can call or WhatsApp on +263 775 337 207/ 0712 384 841.