We didn’t actually need a study to know that a man’s mother often doesn’t like the woman he marries. We likewise didn’t need to be told that the flip side is also true – that the wife often doesn’t like the mother. We’ve known this since something like the begining of time, so a study that reacquaints us with the fact doesn’t constitute a whole lot of progress.
What surely must count as progress, however is the opinion of the learned ”expert” quoted in this article who informs us that,
“Instead of the husband sorting out the relationship with the mother and his wife, he will stand aside and let the women fight it out (Daily Telegraph, 8/7/09).”
Just how the husband is supposed to “sort out” a relationship between two other adults, Relationships Australia NSW chief executive officer Anne Hollonds doesn’t explain. Why the two women have to ”fight it out” instead of “working it out,” she similarly let’s go without comment.
Whatever the answers to those questions are, suffice it to say that it’s taken humanity until the 21st century to lay the blame for wife/mother-in-law conflict at the feet of the husband/son. Prior generations, in their ignorance, believed that adult women bore some sort of personal responsibility for their own behavior. Now we know better.
Indeed, the conflict between wives and mothers-in-law are many and well-known. As but one example, some two-thirds of the women in the study reported long-term stress because of conflicts with their mother-in-law. Another expert explains that that’s because both are trying to don the mantle of “primary woman” in the family.
I wonder if one way to do that would be to act like an adult. Who can guess? I’ll just wait for an expert to tell me.