Q. Help! My mother-in-law is driving me crazy. When she visits, she tells me how to run my house; nothing ever satisfies her. It’s really starting to wear me down. What can I do?
A. This is a difficult situation, but you can, and should, take some steps to address it. Since this is not only an issue between you and her, but also actually a couple issue, your husband, as head of your home, will need to protect you and exercise his leadership in this situation.
Discuss the issue fully with him. Specific examples of the core concerns are vital here. Is he aware of the problem? What does he feel when he sees you being undermined? What does he think the best next step might be? Work together with him and be sure to honour his mother all the time.
The Word teaches that you should always honour your parents. However, when you married, you and your spouse became a separate entity before the Lord. While you should still honour your parents, it is now only the Lord you should obey as a couple.
Now deal with your own heart before the Lord. Ask: Is this just about her problems and issues, or do I have any insecurities that cause her to misinterpret and overreact? Is this how she relates with others? Does she ever have any good suggestions?
Then have a couple-conversation with her. One husband, with his wife present, looked his mom in the eyes and said, “Mom, when we visit you we don’t tell you how you could run your home, but since you’ve arrived, you’ve made more than ten criticisms of what we do here. I know you mean well, but it would be more helpful if we honoured each other’s differences. Give us the privilege of calling on your knowledge and experience when we feel out of our depth.”
You can’t change her behaviour, but you do have the power to choose how to interpret it and to respond in a Christlike way.
Above all, seek the Lord and trust His guidance all the way.
Finally, be sure to seek the guidance of the Elders in your Fellowship. They care for you and will see to give you Holy Ghost-directed counsel.