A couple can love each other and get married but if they don’t handle family pressure well, the relationship can hit the rocks. There are stories of marriages that either the siblings of the man or the woman destroyed because of their disrespect for their brother’s or sister’s spouse.
A man sent me a message because he is confused about how to get his sisters to stop disrespecting his wife. This man who has been married for four years doesn’t have peace because two of his sisters who live with them are always fighting with his wife.
He said during their last fight, his sisters threatened to send his wife out of their home and called her unprintable names. He tried to calm the situation by sending them parking but they reported him to their parents and called him ‘woman wrapper.’
His parents cautioned him for sending his sisters parking but have called for meeting between all the parties involved. He told me he doesn’t want to attend the meeting because he will be compelled to take his sisters back home with him and he doesn’t want that.
He is tired of the constant fights, abuses and name calling. He wants peace for once in his home and will do everything within his power to achieve that even if it includes not bringing his sisters back into his home.
This is common in many marriages especially where there is an only son with sisters. What these sisters of brothers who have gotten married should know is that when a family member gets married, they form a new alliance with their spouse.
In some families, this shift in family dynamic can cause tension between them and their sibling’s spouse. Attempting to create a peaceful relationship with your in-law can help you maintain and even improve your relationship with your sibling.
It is very difficult when you have people you love who don’t get along. In this case, you are caught in the middle between your spouse and your siblings. You may feel loyalty to both parties and guilty that they can’t develop a good relationship with each other.
You have the duty to help your spouse understand your siblings and develop strategies for dealing with them to help keep the peace, and find effective ways to discuss your concerns with your family.
While your spouse and your siblings may never have a perfect relationship, you can help minimize conflict at home, family gatherings and keep things cordial and respectful.
You shouldn’t allow your siblings disrespect your spouse at will because they feel your spouse is not good enough for you. You should make them understand that you love your spouse and have chosen him or her to spend the rest of your life with and they have to respect your spouse.
I get angry when I see Nigerian men do nothing when their siblings insult and disrespect their spouses. You can’t be silent when this happens and claim that your siblings come first before your spouse.
You are not being sensible. If your siblings disrespect your spouse, they are disrespecting you too because two of you are one. You have to be firm when it comes to dealing with your siblings not liking your spouse and disrespecting them.
If your siblings don’t get along with your spouse, address the concern as soon as possible. If your spouse has complained to you about your siblings and how they treat him or her, you have to work on solving the problem as quickly as you can. Ignoring or delaying addressing the issue can make your spouse resentful.
Ignoring the problem will make your spouse dislike being around your siblings even more, and it will also start to negatively impact your relationship.
Let your spouse know how and when you plan to address the issue. Having a concrete plan of action will ease your spouse’s mind and will hold you accountable to follow through.
Another thing you should do if there’s bad blood between your siblings and your spouse is to talk to your siblings without your spouse present. Bring your concerns to them, let them know how their actions are affecting you and plead with them to get along with your spouse.
You know your siblings and they have more experience in relating to you than your spouse. You also understand your family’s dynamics better than your spouse, and you have a better idea how to interact with them.
Have a conversation with your siblings and let them know how your spouse feels. Listen to their perspective too. Don’t shut them down when they want to express their own grievances. Keep in mind that your siblings may have no idea that their behavior is hurting your spouse.
Ask for suggestions on how they think the situation could improve.
This is not the time to leave your spouse on his or her own. You have to stand by your spouse to handle the situation that keeps cropping up in your marriage. Advocate for your spouse. Share your spouse’s feelings with your siblings, present a united front and indicate that the constant fights is causing you pain as well.
Avoid nitpicking your family’s behavior. If you see a pattern of disrespectful behavior or rudeness, it is okay to call them out. But one-time oversights and slights may not be worth getting into. Make a mental note of what you see and determine if it is deliberate or not.
For example, it’s not worth getting into a fight with your spouse if they forgot to greet your spouse when they get back home but forgetting to greet your spouse time and time again, however, is worth bringing up in your conversation.
If the relationship between your siblings and your spouse continues to deteriorate, consider limiting their exposure to each other, perhaps confined to holidays or important family events. This cooling off period may be what your siblings and spouse require and they may be able to move forward after this break.
If the situation doesn’t improve and gets out of hand, you have to separate your siblings from your spouse. If a fight breaks out in your home between your spouse and your siblings, or if your siblings are consistently treating your spouse poorly, enforce a break and tell your siblings to leave.
You have to stand by your spouse and not make them regret choosing to stick by you through thick and thin. Your siblings shouldn’t feel comfortable fighting and calling your spouse names in your presence and you do nothing. Try not to let your spouse feel alone. You have to let your siblings know that you are supporting your spouse.
Whether or not you see the problem in your spouse’s relationship with your siblings, be supportive of your partner and be sure to stand up for their feelings if you need to. You may need to put your marriage ahead of your family of origin, and your family should recognize the importance of the bond between you and your spouse.
If you have a hard time understanding where your spouse is coming from, consider that they probably want to keep the peace just as much as you do. Most people understand that family is a sensitive topic and do not wish to rock the boat.
You might not see your spouse’s concerns as a big deal, but consider how you would want your spouse to react if the roles were reversed, and you had a problem with your spouse’s family. Show empathy towards your spouse.
Give your spouse effective strategies in dealing with your siblings. Let your spouse know how your siblings handle communication and conflict. Let your spouse know how to effectively communicate their feelings to your siblings without fights.
RE: How not to woo a woman
For Nigerian men to learn and put into practice the lessons in your last article, they must first repent of their pride, false sense of entitlement and superiority. Until they empty their psyche of this virus, they cannot know that women are wired with sensitive individual differences that require intelligence and humility to understand. Well done!
-Pst. Stephen, Abuja
Please why do you expose us (men) this way? While reading your write-up, I kept laughing at our foolishness towards women. Our babes, please kindly accept us the way we come, nobody is perfect.
-Okey Sunrise, Kaduna
You don’t know how to talk important issues without insulting men. I don’t know what your problem is with men. Why don’t you have respect for the men who get women pregnant because God made them the head? Tone it down a bit.
While it is true that some men don’t know how to woo women because they have not been taught to do so, but women should make things easier for men by being upfront and honest with them. If a woman feels a man didn’t woo her well, she has the right to say no. Thank you for your efforts at educating men on how best to treat women.