While Lucas, Kelly’s husband had sailed through a rather tough ‘vetting’ before marriage, a lot still lingered in regard to how her parents treated him. “From the moment I introduced him to my family, a checklist was created, unbeknownst to me,” Kelly shares.
Background checks were done and while she is thankful that they were looking out for her, Kelly would have appreciated if she had been told. “I let it go and to date, I regret why I never voiced my thoughts because while the wedding went on, the interference my marriage has suffered is immense,” she says.
It started with her mother buying food for them. “While it seemed like a great gesture, it became weekly. Lucas commented about it but when I asked them to stop, my mother said she was only helping my poverty stricken husband to manage his home.
The next issue was visits as late as 10pm in the name of checking on us. When I told my mother that it was not right for her to do that, she reminded me that my home was an extension of hers since she was helping us,” she shares.
Fr Martin de Porres Ochola, from Masaka Diocese, says there are a number of reasons parents may interfere in their children’s marriages to the point of disrespecting their spouses.
Personality of the parents
“There are some parents who become possessive and/or obsessive with their children that they want to be in the know and have a hand in whatever their children are engaged in. So, when the spouse tries to break this possessiveness, chances, are they will be disrespected.”
Some parents remain fixated at the level where despite their child’s advanced age, they still consider them as infants. “So in case their spouse is the kind that wants their partner independent and empowered, they will be blamed for interfering with the family. This is definitely a breeding ground for disrespect towards the person,” Fr Ochola says.
Their (parents) upbringing and life experiences cause them to be overly protective of their children. “Some have had bad experiences as they raised their children and would not want them to go through the same.
However, that may not be appreciated by their spouse who would need space to enjoy their family. This may be misinterpreted for dislike of in-laws who will in turn despise and disrespect them as they are seen as those that want to take their children away,” he says.
Level of education
When parents desire that their children marry someone of a certain education level, anything amiss may be resented.
“For example, if your spouse is not as educated as your parents would desire, they are likely to look down upon them as they view them to be inferior.
Some go as far as continually pushing them to return to school even when the person has other ideas in mind. If they are to decline, that is usually a cause of contention and talks of your spouse not respecting your parents.”
Keeping heirlooms within
Some parents want to ensure that their family fortunes, political and business clout and family name stay within the confines of their children. “While this is a little tricky for girls, it is very possible with the boys and so the parents are very particular about the spouse their son will take.
Angel Tumusiime Mayanja, a marriage counsellor, says it is your duty to protect your spouse from their in-laws’ wrath.
Create a good relationship between your spouse and your family in order for both parties to live in harmony. “Hard as it may seem, you should be an advocate of peace. That is because you know both parties and can find a way to bridge the gap,” Mayanja shares.
Seeing that this person is your spouse, they are only in your family because of you. “Therefore, you should respect your spouse, especially in the presence of your family because they will treat them exactly the way you treat them.
Your family will also disrespect your spouse if you are in the habit of badmouthing your partner to them. As such, Mayanja says, you do not need to keep reporting to your people whatever your spouse does and updating them on whatever happens in your home.