The MIL factor

Jennifer Lopez tried it and may be you are also thinking of the same tricks. If you have grown on a diet of 'saas bahu' sagas, there are chances that you are going to be read this story with an ounce of skepticism.

All of us have heard at some point of time the phrase that when you marry a person, you also marry their family. So if you get along great with your mother-in-law, then you are lucky.

For the less fortunate ones, pay attention to the advice from clinical psychologist, Manisha Pravin Tembhekar on how to deal with the other important woman in your husband's life.

Respect each other: The first requirement of this relationship is respect. Treating each other with respect forms the basis of a strong relationship. Realize that each of you have different expectations about your relationship. She may want you to be the daughter she never had, yet you feel smothered by her constant phone calls and visits. Find a middle ground.

Mirror your actions: Treat your mother-in-law the way you'd want your husband to treat your mother. If your husband wanted to draw a boundary with your own mother, how would you want him to treat her? Would you want him to be arrogant and insulting?? If you treat your husband's mom the way you'd want him to treat your mom, then there's an added bonus of gaining the respect of your husband.

Break the pattern: When your mother-in-law criticizes you for something, don't retaliate. No, you don't have to put up with an abusive in-law but listen calmly for a few minutes before answering. Let your anger cool down and then think if it is worth carrying on the fight. More often than not, you will realize it is not worth the fight.

Communicate:  Before you resort to name calling or make her your favourite topic with friends, talk to her. Rather than complaining to your husband or your own mom, speak directly with your mother-in-law to work out disagreements. Don't blow your top but talk to her logically. It may be a good idea to have few pointers in mind before talking to her. That way you have a better chance of remaining in control of your emotions rather than throwing eggs at her.

Kitchen Politics: This is the bane of most collisions in a household. If you have a tough professional life and your mother-in —law expects you to come home and cook, talk to her and resolve it without friction. Divide household chores so that both of you don't feel overworked.

'Our' time: Take some time out from your busy schedule to bond with her. Take her out for shopping or a spa session. Even a dinner out will do wonders to your relationship. It will make her realize that you care for her.

How men can help?

To develop a strong relationship, the man has to do the balancing act. So it is important to prepare the ground before marriage. This is the key to ensure that both women have equally important and separate, roles to play in your life.

  • Banish Insecurities: Ensure that your mother shouldn't feel threatened because of the new woman in your life. Don't stop communicating with her just because you have a new person to talk to.

  • Involve: Your wife feels like she has left her parents, friends, old life and sometimes country to be a part of yours and thus has high expectations. Involve your mother and ask her how to make her comfortable. This will make her feel as a part of your life and the wife will see your mother as a pleasant facilitator and not an enemy.

  • Appreciate: The kitchen is the most common war zone, but it need not be. Never compare one's cooking with the other and do not praise the one's cooking in front of the other. Appreciate and thank each one of them separately. Even if it's a small gesture like getting flowers, buy them for both women.

  • Divide your time: You love both the woman and it is important to that they don't feel insecure about the other. Have dinner with her when your wife is having a girls' night out. Similarly, whisk your wife away for romantic getaways and dates.

  • Watch your tongue: Never lose your temper at one in front of the other.  Do not exchange what one has said about the other. When both of them are arguing, encourage them to communicate and deal with it in their own way. Step into it only if it gets aggressive.

Lastly, it is not a bad idea to make both the woman feel that they are special.

Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share? Leave your comments in the comments space below.

Stories you may like to read:

  1. The sari never goes out of style
  2. What do women of today want in a man?
  3. How you can be a super woman
  4. What's with our fetish for fairness?
  5. What happens 'In The Bedroom'?


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