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The 411 on making the best of a bad in-law situation and more!

Hey everyone, so the in-law trilogy has gotten such a buzz, thanks for the input, shared experiences and the support. Today I’d like to draw the curtain on the three-part series and I am making this a double dose. Yours truly will be giving you not only the 411 on making the best out of a bad in-law situation but also, the 10 commandments to being a good great in-law!
So here goes:

10 tips on making the best of a bad in-law situation:

  1. Avoid the situation: When you marry someone, you marry their families as well, especially in Africa so if you know that family is the match to your gun powder then stop eyeing their son and marry a man with a family you can stand like!

  2. Pray: I am not going to mince words here. It isn’t enough to spend days and nights praying about your dream man, devote some time to praying he has a great family that will adore and support you because it takes one bad in-law to ruin a perfect fairytale! And if you are already stuck with them, keep praying about them. Miracles happen when you pray, there is no situation too hard for God to fix!

  3. Don’t smell what you can’t eat: If you know washing your sister in-law’s clothes will be an issue, don’t do it a couple of times in the beginning hoping she will stop asking because when you stop doing it you become the vile wife who was pretending all the while! This is not to say you have to be rigid, compromise some but do not go against your moral principles and sense of justice.

  4. Avoid confrontations: This is one of the times when tackling the problem head on isn’t the best solution. You need tact and wisdom when tackling bad in-laws because every thing you say will be counted as rudeness in an exchange of words. There are many ways to win a battle. A friend of mine says she smiles anytime her in-laws are trying to aggravate her and doesn’t utter a word. Over time they have gotten wary of that smile because it makes them feel powerless and they actually don’t know what she’s thinking plotting or what her next move is going to be. Find what works for you but avoid confrontation because a little shove will be reported as the merciless beating you gave your in-law and you definitely don’t need the ensuing drama.

  5. Be firm: My friend T, who is a pediatrician had issues with her mother-in-law when she came to take care of she and the baby. Every time her mother-in-law tried to give her baby water or a bit of soup saying breast milk wasn’t enough she stood her ground with a firm NO. It caused friction for a while but by her second pregnancy dear mother-in-law had adapted and was even the one advising the other women in the village not to do some of the things she had earlier on tried to do. T said she wasn’t rude or aggressive and never once raised her voice but she stood her ground and despite the complaints her in-law finally did as she asked. She also made sure she treated her very nicely all through her stay so that dear MIL couldn’t stay mad at her.

  6. Familiarity breeds contempt: Be nice, be courteous but do not give room for see-finish if you know that you are already walking on eggshells around your in-laws. Let there be a mutual respect between both of you and that can’t happen if they are already taking you for granted. Don’t be too available or too open. This is a delicate balance because they need to see that you have accepted them as family but at the same time they need to know that they cannot treat you anyhow.

  7. Let your spouse be your shield: If you have bad in-laws then more than ever you need to bond with your spouse to the extent that he is ready to defend you, fight for you and drink panadol for any little headache of yours. They are his family, he is the only one who is going to be able to make them leave you alone, the only person who can actually keep them in check without thinking twice. Agreed that some men like to sit on the fence when it’s their family versus their wife but really you live with him, sleep with him and take care of him, if you can’t sway him over to your side with all the ammunition love you have, then no one else can help you. Be prepared though because when a man makes his woman untouchable, it’s only a matter of time before they label the wife a daughter of the devil who has bewitched their son lol!

  8. Give them love and attention: These two ingredients work wonders on even the hardest hearts. Remember, hurting people hurt others. They may not respond to it at first simply because they doubt your sincerity but if you keep on loving and showing them you care eventually even the iciest of Queens will melt. Besides, what would Jesus do?

  9. First to report, wins the case: If you are having ongoing battles with your in-laws and it ultimately always ends with your husband acting as judge and jury then it would be in your best interest to be on the offensive instead of always defending yourself. So next time there’s a row, don’t wait till hubby starts asking you what you did to his mother/sister to try to convince him that you were the victim because it might already be a tad late since he would have already made up his mind based on the first story he heard, call him up and serve him your pain while it’s piping hot so that the Voltron in him can rise up and defend his universe! 😉

  10. Don’t be petty: It takes two to have an argument. Learn to overlook some things. Being long suffering is a virtue and a mature person doesn’t take offense at every little word or deed. Try to be the bigger person. The monster in-law might just be testing you, don’t fall for her poking. Many in-law battles start from the smallest of inconveniences and words that you could actually have turned a deaf ear to. Pick your battles, remember that not every one in the world is sane or in a good place, don’t let them rob you of your peace.

I am sure there are dozens of other foolproof tips for surviving bad in-laws. I hope these were helpful enough. May the odds always be in your favor!

And to round up I shall go over the 10 commandments of being a great in-law for those who weren’t aware or had forgotten! KJV MCV style 😉

Commandment number one: Thou shalt not meddle!

Commandment number two: Thou shalt treat her like she was thy own flesh and blood.

Commandment number three: Thou shalt not bully thy brother’s wife (or son’s wife).

Commandment number four: Thou shalt not try to emotionally blackmail thy kin against his/her spouse.

Commandment number five: Thou shalt not covet thy brother’s property (or son’s property).

Commandment number six: Thou shalt not compete for the affection of thy brother’s heart with his wife (or son’s heart).

Commandment number seven: Thou shalt know thy place as a guest in thy son’s house (or brother’s house).

Commandment number eight: Thou shalt not bring to tears anyone whose bride price was paid by your kin for whatever reason.

Commandment number nine: Thou shalt not play God in the lives of any person married into your family.

Commandment number ten: Thou shalt treat everyone the exact same way you hope to be treated for whatever thou soweth, thou shalt reap!

Amen and it’s a wrap!
Please read, share, like and comment.
Have a super weekend and may you be blessed with the most fabulous in-laws and may the bad ones have a heart transplant tonight! Shout out to all the great in-laws out there- mine included. The bad ones are just a copy gone wrong (Made in Aba) and we all know if it’s not panadol, it’s not the same thing as panadol!  😉


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Posted by on October 3, 2015 in Relationships


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What you didn’t know about being a bad in-law!

Hey Chutzpah fam, this is the second post in my in-law series.
First of all, let me wish you a happy independence day! Nigerians have survived economic and political crisis that would have torn other countries apart or caused a civil war but still we dey kampe! God bless Nigeria.

So without further ado, I shall delve into the10 things you didn’t know about being a bad in-law. And yes I am talking to you, you might not yet have come to terms with the fact that you could possibly be a bad in-law though I am sure deep down you have niggling doubts as to how good an in-law you probably are but after reading through, hopefully some clarity will emerge.

  1. Bad in-laws are human beings too. They have good days and bad days, trials and triumphs and are often otherwise caring people and quite sensitive. The problem is they have abnormal responses to everyday human situations. They are quick to take offence, make judgments and put people in boxes and this ultimately affects the way they treat said people.

  2. Bad in-laws have an innate fear of being alone or disliked. So instead of being vulnerable they build up walls and airs and get on the offense. For example a mother-in-law who is afraid her son who is all she has, will forsake her and focus on his new wife and as a result starts to maltreat the new wife for future crimes not yet committed rather than see the situation as God expanding her family by giving her a new daughter.

  3. Bad in-laws need to be in control. Usually because the other important parts of their life are out of their control. For example, a sister-in-law who is unable to control her marriage or children or even an older ‘our wife’, preys on a younger-in-law overcompensating for her lack of control. This is similar to the classic bully scenario where a bully is usually an unloved, uncared-for little boy who seeks to regain some control in life by bullying smaller children. The litmus test for this kind of behavior is the way they seem to shrink back in fear when ‘our wife’ stands up for herself. Someone did say bullies were cowards…

  4. Bad in-laws may have bad in-laws. So true but so sad. Remember those kids who were bullied in junior secondary school and then immediately became bullies as soon as they were seniors? The oppressed becomes the oppressor in the blink of an eye. Sadly it is the way of the world and very few people rise above abuse to live whole, free lives.

  5. Bad in-laws may be sugary sweet in-laws. Sometimes a seemingly troublesome in-law may actually have your best interest at heart while a sugary sweet one might be overcompensating for secretly planning your downfall. Before you judge an in-law as bad, see how she/he treats actual siblings or their own children. It might just be a character defect not specially conjured up for you.

  6. Bad in-laws may be good in-laws who learned a bitter lesson before you came along. Find out about their family history. Just as there are bad brother/mother/father/sister in-laws, so also there are horrible daughter/son/brother/sister in-laws aka ‘our wife’. If iyale showed the family pepper before you came along, they are bound to tread carefully with you, show you pepper before you have a chance to show them or hastily put you in a box. Only time and good character can change their mindset.

  7. Bad in-laws may be bitter. That monster in-law may be the old, unmarried aunt or the childless elder sister or the unsuccessful elder brother who has become chronically bitter with their lot in life and have developed a gruff, grouchy, meddlesome persona that gives them the small satisfaction that instilling fear in others brings. They may also need this fear to keep them feeling relevant in a dynamic family.

  8. Bad in-laws may be envious. Jealousy is such a silent emotion that few people realise when it stealthily creeps up on them. An in-law might justify treating you bad because you are too proud about your beauty/accomplishments or her brother/son spoils you too much or you are enjoying her brother/son’s money too much. The green-eyed monster plain as day could be the reason why some random extended family member is making your marriage hell!

  9. Bad in-laws may be overspiritual. The bible says dreams come when a man has many cares/worries [paraphrasing]. However a lot of people prefer to see all dreams as visions into the supernatural and a concerned in-law might start to maltreat you after you featured prominently in a bad dream he/she had even if the dream is a product of too much African magic mixed with always carrying you for mind!

  10. Bad in-laws may just need attention. Growing up there was a common phrase; ‘notice me or I quench’. People would do bizarre things in a bid to get noticed. A lot of bad in-law behavior might just be due to a lack of attention. Many mother-in-laws are famous for this. Luckily, this is one of the easiest in-law behavior to fix, you just need to be dedicated to the cause!

I am sure there’s more about in-law behavior waiting to be uncovered. Please drop a comment and remember- every human being is a potential in-law! The choice to be a good or bad one is yours to make. Don’t have the breakdown of someone else’s marriage hanging over your heard on judgment day!

Look out for the final post in this series soon but till then remember to like, share and comment. Thank you!

Happy independence day Chutzpah fam and shout out to all the good in-laws out there, God bless you!


Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Relationships


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In-law behavior from hell!

Have you ever wondered why a seemingly good, decent person, highly religious if I might add would morph into a controlling, egotistical, seemingly heartless and very selfish warlord and rain fire and brimstone on a man or woman whose only crime was marrying into said warlord’s family?

Yes I said it…Today I am gonna be ranting about in-laws from hell. I have great in-laws to be honest and I’ll always be thankful for them but I have heard so many bizarre stories about in-laws that I just had to scream. Every human being is a potential in-law so you are not exempt. In the African setting even cousins and distant relatives feel they have in-law rights. This is partly true because of the integrated extended family culture, however shouldn’t there be a line drawn somewhere?

Today I am going to highlight the 10 worst in-law behavior ever and in my next two posts will give the 411 on the 10 things you didn’t know about being a bad in-law and the 10 commandments to being a great in-law. The truth about life in general is that whatever you sow, you will definitely reap. So if you are mean to someone because the person is married to your brother or happened to marry into your family, it’s only a matter of time till your own in-laws treat you worse (unless you don’t ever intend to marry and in that case Karma will still find another way of biting you in the arse). Little wonder some women have actually said they wouldn’t marry a man whose mother is still alive (I am utterly shocked by this though, imagine if someone was actively praying away your mum?)

Anyway without further ado, I shall chook my head right into this:

10 worst in-law behavior

  1. Unsolicited Opinions
  2. The Ex- comparison
  3. Nitpicking
  4. My way or the highway
  5. Emotional blackmail
  6. My family is better than yours
  7. CNN world report
  8. His money is mine
  9. She’s meant to serve us
  10. Hurting people hurt others

Here we go…

  1. Unsolicited opinions: This is the most common worst in-law behavior. Telling ‘our wife‘ what to wear, how to act, what to do in every situation, why she isn’t yet a good wife, why she isn’t pregnant yet, how to train her children- your nieces and nephews/ grandchildren, how to cook that meal she has been cooking since before she met you…the opinions are endless. The thing is opinions are like butt holes, everyone has them but it’s very impolite to stick them in someone else’s face! How would you feel if someone constantly had an opinion about everything you had to say or do? Many times the in-laws tell themselves they have their brother or son’s best interest at heart but your brother is a grown ass man who chose the wisest, smartest, most beautiful woman he could find as a wife (and vice versa) and if he can trust her to run his home and life, you should too. In any case it really isn’t your business and most times it isn’t in your brother’s best interest to cause a rift in his home. Recently my friend B complained to me about how her in-law came in to the kitchen and added a cup of water into her jollof rice saying it was about to burn. B had painstakingly followed a recipe she found online and was waiting for the slight burn that gives the party, firewood flavor to home-made rice but instead got stuck with soggy rice and a self-righteous in-law who kept announcing at the dinner table that jollof rice was so easy to make and insisting her cup of water had saved an already bad situation. Sheesh!

  2. The Ex-comparison: Comparing ‘our wife’ to your brother’s oh so perfect ex-girlfriend is utter rubbish. The decision to marry girl A instead of girl B was his to make and punishing ‘our wife’ for your brother’s life choices is sad and petty. A colleague of mine G was complaining bitterly about how her husband-to-be’s aunt kept mentioning the great ex he had and how she didn’t understand why on earth he was marrying her. So many women are not going to heaven simply because of the way we hate on other women haba! I was particularly baffled by an old lady I met recently whose son’s ex was an old acquaintance. Her son was married with kids and yet she spent almost half an hour talking about how great the acquaintance would have been for her son and get this- she was almost teary eyed. Recounting so many fond stories that my ears burned. Woman get over it! Your son is happily married to some other woman, love her instead of this idolized distant memory!!! Don’t you ever stop to wonder how hurt ‘our wife’ feels when she constantly doesn’t measure up to the ex?

  3. Nitpicking: ‘ Fussy or pedantic fault-finding’. That’s how the dictionary aptly defines it. Worst behavior number 3 is nitpicking. It’s so annoying when someone finds fault in every thing you do. I once heard a story about a nitpicking mother in law who would say: “The onions in this egg are too crunchy”, “The floor isn’t properly swept” and would proceed to re-do what ‘our wife’ had so painstakingly done moments earlier. Seriously that woman needed a j-o-b!!! I wonder if she would have been so feisty if her own aged in-laws treated her the same. Dear in-law please save your OCD for your own family or better still get help!

  4. My way or the highway: A church member told about her sister in-law who insisted on handling every little detail of the preparation for her baby even up to deciding what clothes to buy for the baby. She didn’t allow ‘our wife’ pick even a single item and every time she didn’t get her way she would stamp her foot on the ground or bad mouth ‘our wife’ and insist her family wasn’t paying for part of the delivery process in America, a delivery that she had insisted she also travel to ‘help out’ with. ‘Our wife’ gladly paid for each item sister-in-law struck off the list which aggravated all the more the sister-in-law. Oooh poor child, did someone rob you of your fairy tale life oh so long ago or are you trying to live your life vicariously through ‘our wife’ or better still hope stealing her limelight will put a little shine on your dull existence? It’s quite psychotic to believe you can have your way in everything where someone else’s nuclear family is concerned and I don’t care how close you are to the family- you are still extended family!

  5. Emotional blackmail: “I carried you for 9 months, worked 3 jobs to send you to school…”, “…after all we have done for you (sob); how can you pick her over us…”.
    Stop it please! Yes he will always be grateful for your love, care and sacrifices but you can’t hold them over him for the rest of his life. What if your husband’s mother had done that to you? And even if she did, it’s not an excuse to do it to your children too. So many in-laws fight dirty, clouding the man’s judgement with crocodile tears. Men, no one can replace the family who brought you into this world but once you are married, your loyalty should be to your wife (and vice versa). A daddy’s girl or a mummy’s boy has no business getting married. Marriage is about a man LEAVING (his family) and CLEAVING (to his wife). The bible says it, the justice system believes it and society accepts it. Every other scenario is an anomaly. If your mum and wife were drowning and you could only save one, you best be saving your wife- it’s your dad’s job to save your mother!

  6. My family is better than yours: Marriage is a beautiful thing because it unites the rich and poor, the learned and illiterates, the classy and uncouth. Why? Because it isn’t about the Montagues and the Capulets but about Romeo and Juliet. Those two people who chose to be together despite the odds. This leads us to worst behavior number 6- my family is better than yours. That statement alone is poison. Children born into that marriage will be a blend of both families and will be exposed to the mannerisms and ideals of both. It doesn’t matter who had what before the start of the marriage. This comparison is hurtful, demeaning and self-righteous and often belies a deep down inferiority complex manifesting as superiority airs and graces. Please stop it! You didn’t do her a favor by marrying her.

  7. CNN world report: Are you that in law who is Mr or Miss Wiki-leaks or Sister i-report? The one who says all including the unseen with added salt and pepper? Then you are a monitoring spirit. Some things are private between a man and woman and their immediate household and because they agreed to let you into their home does not give you right to give CNN world report a run for their money. It’s a breach of privacy and backstabbing to say the least since ‘our wife’ not only opened her doors to you but picks up after you without complaints. No one’s perfect, I am sure if we sent a correspondent to your house to compare we’d have a heart attack. Mama doesn’t need to know everything that happened while you were there neither do the village elders!!!

  8. His money is mine: If a man has a family of his own, how can the extended family think his money is theirs? When you were paying his school fees did you categorically tell him that every dime he made after graduation would be yours? I am so sure he wouldn’t have agreed to such. In-laws this is worst behavior number 8!!! Your man’s money is yours and the kids so why should your son’s money also be yours? Your father’s money likewise is yours and your mum’s so why on earth should your siblings give you all of theirs too? Please go and get a job. There are no hand-me-downs here. Even if you are winning right now, Karma doesn’t play around, you had best be warned!

  9. She’s meant to serve (us): Our wife is not the maid. She cannot clean up after you, pick up after you and care for you like you were handicapped. It’s just plain wrong. Even in-laws who are younger than ‘our wife’ are so guilty of this. This is worst behavior number 9 and it stinks. Treat that woman right or someone else will treat you so wrong. There’s no standing order that marriage is a contract unto slavery. Her bride price was not an advance payment for manual labor. No wonder some traditions return the brideprice!

  10. Hurting people hurt others: This is for those in-laws who combine the 9 worst behaviors listed above with some of their own. No mentally stable, well-adjusted, happy and functional human being will treat another person in the ways listed above. Only a hurting person hurts others. Many times if you look closely, the monster in-law has a bad marriage, deep loneliness, an obvious deficiency, a history of abuse or scars from the past coupled with palpable discontent with life causing them to met out pain in the name of discipline, goodwill or protection of family. Feel sorry for them because truly they live a miserable existence, don’t join them in the bitterness parade, instead pray for them each and every day that the good Lord fills the void in their hearts! Amen.

Jesus please fix it!

So if you have good in-laws type a resounding halleluyah in the comments box and if you have stories on worst in-law behavior please drop a comment. Perhaps a reader will see herself or himself between the lines of the 10 worst behavior and change. And remember to share on social media, you just might save a marriage!

Look out for the next two posts…more on this in-law business.

Sorry for the long silence. This post is dedicated to the after-hours staff at my sister’s office who were complaining about my early retirement. Thanks for the ginger!

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,


Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Relationships


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