Coping with Your Husband's Relatives
One of the problems of family life is the one cause between the wife and her husband's relatives. Some women do not have a good relationship with their husband's mother, sisters, or brothers. On the one hand the wife may try to dominate her husband so that he would not be able to pay any attention even to his mother, or any other relatives and she may try to sow discord between them. On the other hand, her mother-in-law regards herself as the owner of her son and daughter-in-law. The mother tries hard to hold on to her son and is watchful that the new woman does not try to possess him fully. She may fabricate lies about her daughter-in-law or find fault in her. Such an attitude might be followed by many arguments and even occasional hostilities. The situation becomes even worse if they all live in the same house. Even though a row may occur between two women, the real anguish and distress remains with the man in the middle.
The husband is trapped in an argument where he cannot take sides. On the one hand is his wife who would like to have an independent life without any interference from outsiders. He naturally feels that he must support her and make her happy. But on the other hand, he thinks of his parents who have helped him with his life, education, and have spent their own lives in bringing him up. He feels that his parents expect him to help them in their times of need and that it would not be fair to abandon them. Besides, if he himself was in need of something, who else, other than his parents, would help him and his family. As a result, he realizes that his best and most trustworthy friends are his parents and relatives. So, the dilemma for a sensible man is either to choose the wife and abandon the parents or vice versa; but neither of these is possible.
Consequently, he has to cope with both sides and keep them satisfied which, itself, is a difficult task. The only possible way to ease the situation is that the woman should be loyal and wise. A man in this situation expects his wife to help solve the problem. If the wife respects her mother-in-law, seeks advice from her, and becomes obedient and friendly with her, then the mother-in-law will be her greatest supporter .
Is it not sad that one who can attract many people through kindness and good manners, should repulse them through stubbornness and selfishness? Do you not realize that in the ups and downs of life, one might need the help of others, and especially of relatives who would support you when everyone else deserts you? Is it not better to enjoy a good relationship with one's relatives through consideration and good behaviour? Is it really wise and fair to become friends with strangers while breaking away from your own relations?
Experience shows that when one needs the help of others, friends leave but the abandoned relatives come to help. This is because the family ties are natural and cannot be broken easily. There is a general proverb which says: "Even if one's flesh is eaten by relations, they would not throw away the bones!"
"Imam Ali (AS) stated: 'One is never able to do without his relatives, even though he may possess wealth and children'."
One would need the respect and kindness of one's relatives. It is they who would support one physically and mentally. Relatives always come to the rescue. In times of need they could come to one's assistance faster than others. Whoever disowns his relatives will lose many helping hands.
Dear madam! for the sake of your husband and for the sake of your own comfort as well as to find many good friends and supporters, put up with your husband's relatives. Do not be selfish and ignorant; be wise and do not cause your husband any distress. Be a good and devoted wife in order to be accepted by both Allah and the people.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol 74, p 101.