Dear Aunt Silvia,
I am a 28-year old lady in a six-year-old relationship with my boyfriend. We are about to get married, but I am sometimes terrified to take that next important step because I have the feeling that the mother of my boyfriend has a strong inﬂuence on him. She might have a negative inﬂuence on our marriage. I really love my boyfriend and want to spend the rest of my life with him, but that fear persists. Please, what shall I do?
Itumeleng (Ramokgonami, Botswana).
Thank you for your mail. Congratulation on your happy relationship. I’ve just checked the meaning of your name “Itumeleng” only to discover that it ironically means “joy” in the Tswana language. I fully understand your fear, Itumeleng. No woman would like an outside intervention in her marriage. However, it seems your fear is exaggerated; although, it is important to take precautions. Have you discussed your fears with your boyfriend? If yes, what did he say? How much contact do you have with the mother – and family – of your boyfriend? One thing you need to understand is that every mother wants the best wife for her son. Call it a mother instinct, if you want. Of course, sometimes, in the process of achieving this desire, some mothers cross the border. That is where the problems start. On the other hand, it is not advisable to marry your boyfriend and alienate him from the family. Remember, his family is and will always remain part of your future life; so the warmer your relationship with his family, the better for both you and your future husband. I would suggest you discuss your fears with your boyfriend and supports them with facts. If you don’t have facts to support your fears, he might think you are castigating his family unnecessarily.
You must avoid that situation because it might well be the beginning of a foggy relationship between you and his family. Sometimes, women have unnecessarily fear of – or even prejudice about – their future mother in – law. The best way to cultivate a good relationship with her is to try to be close to her. Win her trust, love, and confidence and let her know that her son is in good hands. Winning her trust will erase her prejudice – if any – against her future daughter-in-law. Let her know you are entering the family with love, peace, and a warm heart because you want the best for the whole family. The biggest mistake most ladies make is that they give the family of their husbands that impression they want their husbands alone. This can bring unnecessary friction. Sometimes, little gestures like small gifts for the parents of your boyfriend, inquiring about their health, taking them out once in a while, can do unimaginable magic and create a positive impact in the minds of your boyfriend’s family. That will, in most cases, open the success door to your marriage. At the end of the day, you need the support and cooperation of your boyfriend to achieve much. Remember: it takes two to be one. You must work as one and present a common voice if you want to succeed as a partner. For sure, you will succeed.
If you pay attention to the above pieces of advice, I can hardly see any reason why you and your boyfriend would not have a happy married life, with your mother in law, playing supportive roles. Just as your name “Itumeleng” implies, you deserve the joy and happiness in your relationship. Good luck.