Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
Dear Raphael and Namukolo,
I GOT married to my husband some months ago after he impregnated me whilst I was doing my Grade 11. The problem I have is that my in-laws do not seem to have accepted me as the wife to their son. They are always negatively comparing me with their other daughters-in -aw. What must I do to be accepted by my in-laws?
Parents will normally be happy to see their children settle down in marriage. When they appear to be reacting negatively to your marriage, they might be protesting against a number of things that you need to bear in mind as you seek their approval.
They might be reacting against the way you and their son got together. No serious parent will approve of their son impregnating a school girl. That was a blemish on their family reputation and their negative reaction might be springing from this.
Closely connected to this, it might also be that they had plans for their son which have been disturbed by his impregnating you and having had to settle down in marriage. Just as your parents might have wanted you to complete your education up to college level, they might still want their son to advance in his career.
Alternatively, they might be reacting to your behaviour which they might not approve of. Getting married prematurely poses the challenge of going into marriage without adequate preparations. There is sometimes a cultural or generational gap between the much younger spouses and their much older parents in law. You therefore need to know how to relate with your in laws in a way that they will find acceptable. This gap is made worse by your premature entry into marriage. They might feel you are disrespectful in the way you relate to them. Or they might feel you do not know how to take good care of your husband. This might be with reference to your cooking or housekeeping abilities. And this is where the comparing you to their other daughters in law might be coming from.
Or it might be that they had someone else in mind whom they wanted their son to marry and his impregnating you spoilt their plans for him.
In seeking their acceptance, you need to identify those things you can change and those you cannot do anything about.
You must start by carefully listening to their comments to identify their nature. This will help you to understand what exactly they are reacting against.
The things you cannot change include the way you got married. It was totally unacceptable for you to be impregnated by their son outside marriage. But this has happened and it cannot be reversed. Your husband choosing to marry you is a decision that has been made which cannot and should not be interfered with.
On the other hand, your unpreparedness for marriage, which might be resulting in poor performance, is something that you can do something about. You can arrange for some older women to take you through some training. The bible teaches that the older women must prepare the younger women for marriage. Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to too much wine, but to teach what is good. (4) Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, (5) to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Finally all the parties involved need to understand the nature of marriage as God intended it to be.
When two people get married they become one flesh. Genesis 2:22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
When two people get married they form a new entity which is autonomous. They are no longer under parental control. Their parents and in laws must respect their marriage and take on an advisory role and not interfere in how the marriage is run.
Your husband needs to play a major role in explaining to his people that marrying you was his choice and that your home is independent and that they need to accept and respect it.
Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you are always connected to your spouse and it will remind the rest of the world that you are off limits.
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