What To Do When Your Mother-In-Law Is Ruining Your Wedding

The in-laws are a touchy subject, but we don’t shy away from anything here. I’ve said mother-in-law in the title but if it’s a different member of the klan then the same advice applies. I will say that this post does not just apply to people who are getting married. If you’re married and you’re at odds with your in-laws or you’re just dating but already dislike your partner’s parents then please read on and I hope you find it useful.

The truth is: nothing’s going to change. Sorry to be blunt, but your in-laws aren’t getting on your nerves because of the wedding, as much as you might convince yourself that’s the reason. Nope, you’ve just found out who they really are, in a time where everyone is too busy to put on their best possible face, and you don’t like what you see. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad people and neither are you; you’re just different. And fundamentally, if you and your partner weren’t loved up you would never spend any time with them. And you know what? That’s absolutely fine.

We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves and our partners, when we’re in a relationship, to embrace each other’s families and fit seamlessly in without an issue, and it’s just unrealistic to be quite frank. Let’s say the average person gets married at the age of 28. For 28 years, your family has probably lived very differently, in some way or another, to your boyfriend / fiance / husband’s family. And now you’re supposed to slot into their family, with your own quirks and delights, and not cause some kind of a stir? Nuh-uh. This is not to say that his family won’t then embrace you and love your quirks but there is a natural period of adaptation that needs to occur, as with any change in life. And some people find it harder than others to adapt.

If you feel that this issue is specifically to do with your partner’s mother then it’s time for a bit of a psychology lesson. Not quite Freudian, but it’s on the spectrum somewhere. So, first picture your partner as a young kid (don’t laugh, I’m sure he was very cute). Now who is that woman standing next to him, teaching him how to tie his shoes, rubbing his knee when he falls over, and reading to him before bedtime? Yep, that’s his mum. The person who has dedicated her life, for the past X amount of years to raising him, teaching him and loving him. And that’s a long bloody time to be attached to someone. And before that he was physically attached to her #umbilicalcord. So imagine how hard it is for her to feel like he has moved on in life with another woman, and she has been replaced. Not that she has been, but people are sensitive when love is involved.

ot that this is any excuse for her to be rude to you, or treat you in anyway that’s less than pleasant. At the end of the day, I’m sure she raised him in the hope he would marry a beautiful, lovely young woman and now here you are! She should be thrilled that he’s reached this point. And at the end of the day, nobody should punish you for living your life whatever their feelings may be. Sadly, this is not always the case and you may feel some rather cold vibes coming from the smother-in-law *cough* sorry mother-in-law. That’s when you decide that you have the power to determine how you want to handle this.

Another brief psychology lesson / therapy session - we are always in control of our own thoughts, and that thought alone is very powerful. Whatever is happening in life, you have the control to think what you want and act accordingly. The only thing that will stop you is other people’s judgements and opinions, and who gives a toss about those? For example, if you feel like your mother-in-law disapproves of you and you thus alter your behaviour to be very quiet around her in the hope she won’t criticise you; you are not in control of that situation. Whereas, if you think to yourself, ‘she may not like me, but I’m not here to impress her anyway. I’m here because it means a lot to [insert partner’s name here]’ then you’re going to feel a lot better, and like the strong bad-ass woman you are.

So if your MIL is bitching about your wedding theme, or your dress, or your venue choice then choose not to care. Are you getting married to her? Or for her? No. You’re doing it for yourself and that means you are get to decide what you want (within reason obvs). Be polite about it though; you don’t want to give her a tangible reason to complain to your fiance about you, because she will. And boys are protective of their mothers, so you’ll be the one in the doghouse. And you can’t plan a bombtastic wedding from a kennel.

If you feel like it’s gotten to the point where you can’t just grin and bear it any longer then it is fully within your right to say something. There are two ways to go about this: 1) you can get your partner to have a quiet word with his mum, or 2) you do it yourself.

Now I don’t know how much of a surprise this will be, but I’m going to advocate number 2. Here’s why: getting your partner to say it is certainly less stressful and awkward but also opens the door for your MIL to slag you off, and she will. Oh the pettiness of a woman scorned. It’s not exactly your partner’s responsibility to sort out a problem with you and his mum either; you’re both grown ups and you don’t need to involve him and make the issue bigger than it already is. My advice is, woman up and go have a word yourself. Sure, it’s going to be awkward as hell but she may not even realise that she is being difficult, and a polite word might be all it takes to right a very big wrong. Hell, she’ll probably respect you in the long-run for having the courage to say something.

All it takes is a invite for a cup of tea (she’ll be honoured that you want to spend time one-on-one with her) and the polite mention of “you seem to be unhappy with some of the things I’ve chosen for the wedding, and I really want you to enjoy the day as much as us. Is there anything you feel would be a good touch that you would like to add in?” It’s none accusatory but definitely gets the message across in the nicest way possible. Chances are, the reason she’s being sniffy about things you’ve chosen is because she wants to be involved herself, so give her the opportunity to suggest a feature. It will appease her, make her feel involved and should go a long way to making things a little easier between the two of you. And your partner will be definitely grateful for the lack of aggro!

So, as unpleasant as it can be to not get along with your in-laws, whatever the stage of your relationship, just remember that you are always in control of your thoughts and thus how you handle a situation. There are a number of issues and reasons behind the odd behaviour of in-laws and you don’t have to always understand them. All you need to do is respect that they are your partner’s family and are a huge part of the reason he is the man you love. N’aww.