My wife hates and insults my family

My wife and I have been married for eight years and have a six-year-old daughter. However, she always insults me, my parents, siblings and relatives for no reason. Although she is a housewife, she rarely cooks for me. She is also not social and never wants to visit any of my relatives. In return, she does not want any person to visit our home. This is starting to affect our marriage and intimacy. What can I do? Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Relationships with in-laws can make or break a marriage. This is especially true if you and your spouse find yourselves in a rough patch. Tension in your marriage can be heightened by blurry in-law boundaries and how your spouse feels about your parents. If you find yourself being forced to take sides between your parents and your spouse, bringing your relationship back into proper focus can help.

Getting your immediate family into focus helps your spouse know that he and your children are your top priority. Where parents are concerned, it is easy to fall into bad habits if you have not set boundaries as a couple. If your spouse and your parents cannot get along, take time as a couple to understand where the bad feelings are coming from and what you can do to build bridges between your spouse and your parents. 

In marriage, there can be no divided loyalties. When you marry and start your own family, that is where your primary loyalty needs to be for the relationship to grow and be successful.
Couples who spend too much time with their in-laws can often find themselves at odds with each other. This is especially true if your parents come over unexpectedly or call at all hours of the day or evening. 

Respecting one another’s personal time within an extended family can be a challenge, especially during the early days of marriage. If your marriage is in jeopardy and the root of the problem is bad feelings between your spouse and your parents, changing the way you interact with them shows your spouse she is the most important thing in your life. 

If your spouse’s relationship with your parents is putting your marriage at risk, consider that your dependence on them may be part of the problem. Newly married individuals often find it difficult to “cut the apron strings” where their parents are concerned. This can create an unhealthy relationship between them and your spouse as she needs you to be fully engaged in building your new life together. 

Focus on the family points out that each person in the marriage needs to feel protected and valued by their spouse. If you allow your parents to be meddlesome or are too dependent on them it can undermine your spouse’s happiness.
People with unique personalities do not always get along. Accepting this may help protect your marriage, even if your spouse and your parents dislike each other. Finding ways to make things work within your new reality may be the best choice. 

Consider the feelings of everyone involved, view them as individuals, and accept that you can understand but not control them, suggests Dr. Judy Kuriansky on Family Education.com suggests. Spend time with them separately and let your spouse and your parents know you love them but are not getting in the middle to play peace maker.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

Reader advice
Talk it out
Harriet Anek. Talk things out with your wife. She will only realise her weaknesses when you have had that chat. Communication is key in any relationship. If this fails, look for a religious leader who will help you come to a compromise.

How do you treat her?
Rachel Monyoncho. Women are very responsive. Her actions could be a response to the way you and your relatives have treated her. The Bible says, ‘so shall a man leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and become one.’ If your family disrespects and dishonours her, she will obviously not want to be anywhere near them. You also have to remember that because you are now married, your wife and child take priority.

Think twice
Silver Okiror. Before you met her you had a family that raised you. So, if she is trying to separate you from them, think twice. On the issue of not wanting to go out as often, this is her nature and it will be hard to change especially now that she is a mature person. Just find a way of asking her to meet you in the middle. For example, you could ask her to only attend important functions with your family and see how this goes.

What is the root cause?
Alex Muwanguzi. Find out why she is behaving this way. However, communication is key. Talk to one another and think about the future of your baby who needs you both happy and healthy.

What are her values?
Allan Michael Ojakol. First things first. Ask what she values in the relationship and why she got married to you. Also, what is her reaction when her people come to the house? 

Show your authority
Miriam Adong. Show your authority as a man in the house and tell her she cannot create a rift between you and your family.   

Does she respect you?
Julius Ikwara. This means she does not have any respect for you and this is one of the reasons a number of relationships have come to an end. However, you can still work on solving this conflict before it escalates. As the head of the family, sit your wife down and let her know how you feel. If she truly loves you, she will suggest ways to make it work. 

What is wrong?
Gloria Imaniragaba. She cannot just start isulting your family members, there is a reason why. Look closely and find out why she is behaving this way. Marriage does notneed to make sense to anyone except to you and your partner. After all, it is a relationship not a community project.
 

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