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5 Ways Your Mother In Law Can Damage Your Marriage – Even If She Doesn’t Mean To

Ways Mother In Law Damage Marriage

Falling in love and getting married to the person you love, sounds like a dream come true, isn’t it? But there is one nightmare that can make that dream a scary one – your mother in law. Although she may not intend to do it, but mother-in-law problems can actually damage your marriage.

When I got engaged, I remember so well when a friend of mine told me that there are many ways that your mother in law can damage your marriage– even if she doesn’t want to. I remember thinking ‘Yeah, sure, but that won’t happen to us.’ Boy, was I wrong.

Mother in laws are not inherently evil and has developed a bad rep. But I know that my mother in law did play a role in the health of my marriage and I wish I had known then what I know now!

Here are 5 ways your mother-in-law can damage your marriage and some things that you can do to stop that from happening.

5 Common Mother In Law Problems That Can Ruin Your Marriage

1. She knows how she wants things.

Mother In Law Problems
Mother In Law Problems: Toxic Mother In law: Dealing With Mother In Law

I know that when I was growing up, my mother wanted things a certain way. Christmas eve involved a party, Christmas carols, one present, and midnight mass. We never turned the heat on until after Thanksgiving. Birthday parties were for immediate family.

No one was required to eat anything on their plate. That was just how things were. And, as a result, that is how I was when I went into my marriage. And, over the course of my ex-husband’s life, his mother did things her way and her way didn’t match mine. And that definitely caused some friction in our marriage.

My ex-husband didn’t care how we did Christmas or birthday parties or when we turned the heat on – he would go along with whatever. Unfortunately, often, his mother’s ‘whatever’ and mine were quite different. And, of course, I wanted to do things my way, my mother’s way. And my mother in law wasn’t always happy about that.

What did my ex do? He tried to keep his head down and stay out of the conflict. As a result, my mother in law and I struggled in a big way over the first few years of my marriage. Did that poison my relationship with my husband? Definitely.

As the years went on, I learned to adapt. I learned to pick and choose what I wanted to do ‘my way’ and let her have some wins on that one too. It worked to keep the peace between us but my marriage was definitely damaged by the conflict that was present in the years before we worked things out.

2. They had 18 years together.

Like it or not, your husband and his mother go WAAAAY back. At one point in his life, she was his everything, and he hers. She taught him to walk and talk and eat and swim and read and drive. She was there for all of the milestones of his life and the sun rose and set on him!

I can tell you that my favorite man in the WHOLE WORLD is my son and he most likely always will be. (sorry boyfriend). It is hard for me to fathom that someday he will be with someone who he will love intensely, who he will turn to when he is sad, happy, excited, or overwhelmed. And that thought scares the hell out of me. Because that is who I always was to him.

So, if you are wondering how your mother in law can damage your marriage, know that this is a thing. That she was there first and that her love for him is intense. And, you filling her shoes might be intensely painful for her.

If your man’s mother is causing conflict in your marriage, know that it might be based on this pain – that losing her son to another woman is something that she has to get used to. I would encourage you to just be as kind and patient with her as you can – give her some time to get used to the new reality.

If you can be kind during this period of transition, instead of being angry and offended, I think you will find that your relationship with your partner will be stronger because of it.

Read: 5 Rules For Living With Your In-Laws (and Making It Work)

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Mitzi Bockmann

I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.View Author posts