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
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.