The greatest conflict in a man’s life is when he has to choose between his mother and his wife. It may not be a physical renunciation of either but he is often forced to take sides, which can be very traumatic. Inspite of all the allegations leveled against men- at home, they are basically peace-loving creatures. It might mean they’d like to have their own way and diplomacy lies is in letting them have it too in small things and lull them into a sense of confidence. But that’s another line of thought. What I mean to stress is that men would like to cling to their umbilical cord but also enjoy the marital ties. Unfortunately very few of them are able to have their cake and enjoy it too. Most of them have to opt for just gazing at the cake or eating it and suffering indigestion.
The two women, who cause havoc in the poor man’s life, don’t ever make up their minds to call a truce it seems! Otherwise how else can one explain the age-old ‘daggers drawn’ attitude of the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law? The role of woman, down the ages has changed manifold, yet the prototype of the mother-in-law hasn’t altered an iota.
The problem starts with the mother-in-law perceiving the new entrant to the son’s affection, as a subtle ‘threat’. Keeping on her guard, the older woman immediately tries to put on a protective shield on her authority. She assumes the role of the head of a ‘corrective’ institution and starts telling the younger woman to do things, this way or that, as her son prefers it. Assuming she knows her son thoroughly she tries to show her superiority over the girl who is yet to know her husband. She thinks of her as an understudy and instead of making the learning process a delightful discovery, she adopts the stance of an intolerant headmistress. With all this she is bound to alienate a girl who has left her familiar people and surroundings, to accept her new one. Deprived of the love and affection of a woman who is so important to her husband, she develops a fear complex, which will soon turn into hostility. This is the point of no return in the relationship.
Some daughters-in-law are also to be blamed. Arrogant and confident of the devotion of the husband, they like to wean him away from his mother’s influence, which they find a threat to their own power over him. Instead of accepting the mother in law’s advice as guidelines for their own life, they resent it as interference. They want to cut the boat away from its anchor so they can sail, as they will.
What a pity. If a house and a family can be made into heaven, it’s thanks to the efforts of the two most important women. They can make their relationship turn into a lasting friendship as they share a person precious to both. Then there will be no unhappy marriages because undoubtedly, mother has very strong emotional tug to keep the boat bobbing steadily. No man dared misbehave with his wife if his mother ‘grapples her to her soul with hoops of love’.