It’s amazing that as soon as you mention the word, only ill thoughts come to most people. This topic was previously viewed in a positive light as it strengthened family ties but unfortunately today it is considered negatively in both Muslim and non-Muslim circles. How did these issues develop within our family system and how did this negative stigma make it into our community. To understand this issue and to change our thinking we must look at how marriage and In-laws are related.
This issue has been creeping into our system from our cultural baggage instead of being something Islamic. We are living in a mixture of times where we indulge in just as much culture (if not more) as we indulge in Islamic principles and teachings regarding family relations. Below are some of the causes of why In-laws got such a bad reputation;
1. Living Together
Living together in a family system causes many problems. And this is probably one of the biggest problems that causes the In-Law syndrome in our community. This is a common practice to live together and all people do is tell others about their bad experiences. As they say when you do a hundred good things to someone and then you do one bad thing they will only remember the bad. So overtime with all the compilations of all the bad stories from a joint family system we got a big monster of In-Law (mainly Mother in Law). Why does this happen. Because just like you can’t have two kings in one castle you can’t have two queens either.
2. Mine and Yours
The mindset of mine and yours. This is another reason why society deals with In-law situation in a negative manner because we compare our situation and there’s in a negative light every chance we get. Every weird or abnormal thing we point out to, not only each other, but others as well.
Social jokes that surround In-laws don’t help. This is throughout all cultures no matter where you are from. In conversation or in the media these jokes are everywhere. Don’t forget those scary movies and TV shows that the villains are the In-laws.
Now if you think of this issue from a different perspective you will appreciate your In-laws much more. They are the people that have accepted you into their family and they are the ones that adopt you as part of their family. You are joining two families together and now you are one big family instead of two separate families. You should care for each other and both families with equal care. This will not only increase the love between the families because of your behavior but also increase the love between the two of you. In this world who doesn’t love the person who loves their parents?
Another issue of hard times is inevitable especially if you all live together. Living together is not recommended but sometimes it is not possible to avoid in some situations. There will surely be times when you are stressed out because of your In-laws or some issues related to them. Ask yourself the question that did these stressful issues ever come up when you were not married and how you dealt with them because certainly family issues come up in every family. So now as part of this family; issues will come up in your bigger family. So take a deep breath and help each other as husband and wife and find a solution for fixing the issues of your family together. An interesting fact is that when people are asked: if a day comes when you need people all around you in calamity who will come to your aid or to the aid of your children and you will be surprised to hear that many mention their In-laws as some of the people who they know for sure will help them and support them. So don’t think of the term as being negative because that is what you will get and if you change your mindset and accept them as your own family indeed things will become more positive for you.
Lastly, think of how the Prophet SAW treated his In-laws in Abu-Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) to who’s daughters he was married to and how he treated Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) to who he had given his daughter and how they all loved each other. They were happy to increase their ties as families and we should be just being as happy when we are the source of joining together families through our marriage.