His Mother Is My Problem

His Mother Is My Problem

Dear Agatha,

My marriage is three years old and I’m still childless. Medically there isn’t anything wrong with my husband or I, as he has been gracious enough to submit himself to all the required medical tests.

The consensus of all the doctors we have been to remains: we would have our children when the time comes. They advise I should try to relax and not focus on the issue of my inability to conceive anymore.

For a woman in my shoes, that piece of advice remains worthless unless I become pregnant. How can I rest when my home is under threat of another woman coming in? Though my husband assures me of his undying love and support, this is Africa where pressures from family and friends would eventually make him submit to suggestions of him trying ‘his luck with another woman’.

My frosty relationship with my mother-in-law makes my own case even more complex. The feeling between us is mutual. From the very first day I met her, I didn’t like her at all. She appears the kind that wants to control everything while I on the other hand, don’t like people who make my business theirs.

Despite assurances from my husband, I know his mother would eventually force him into trying with another woman because she cannot wait to get me out of his life.

This is why I agreed to the suggestions from my friend to follow her to a white garment church. Just as I expected, my mother-in-law was named as the unseen hand blocking my womb. According to the pastor, she doesn’t want me for her son. Hence, she is doing everything possible to prevent our marriage from succeeding. He told me, that she has also done things to my husband which makes him submit to her every will.

He gave me some prayer points after which I went back to take a bath in a flowing stream. The idea of the bath was to wash away everything she has placed in my womb. He also gave me some water and perfume to use with my husband.

He instructed I use part of the water to prepare my husband’s food immediately I get home and not to eat out of the food. Unfortunately, when I got home, I met my mother-in-law and husband at home.

There was no way I could cook without giving her to eat and the water, I couldn’t keep till the next day as instructed by the pastor. I had to make a call to the pastor to explain my dilemma. He insisted I should find a way to carry out the assignment immediately.

I didn’t know how I would cook for my husband without his mother eating out of it. Knowing my mother-in-law wasn’t the patient kind, I deliberately delayed cooking until she could no longer wait and left. What I didn’t bargain for was that my husband would take his mother to eat out.

He didn’t come back straightaway and when he did; it was to pick a fight with me for starving his mother. Meanwhile, he didn’t eat my food that day and hasn’t eaten at home since. He isn’t talking to me for treating his mother shabbily in his house. He refused to listen to my argument that it wasn’t done deliberately.

Meanwhile the pastor and my friend are blaming me for the situation in my home. According to them, I disobeyed the instruction of God on the matter; that I should have ignored the presence of my mother-in-law and prepared the food for my husband with the water.

Honestly, I think my mother-in-law knew where I went to hence, came that day to frustrate my efforts. The issue now is; how to convince my husband that his mother is responsible for my childlessness and the situation between us. When I tried to introduce the topic two days ago, he almost went physical with me for trying to pin anything on his mother. He has taken to sleeping in the guest room.

I don’t know if I should go and confront his mother with what the pastor told me so I can have peace back in my home.


Dear Yetti,

Go and confront his mother over what? That you were told by a pastor whose origin and purpose you don’t know, that she is responsible for your childlessness? Are you sure you want this marriage at all?

From the tone of your mail, you appear to be the one with the problem here, not your mother-in-law. It seems you belong to the school of young girls who have made up their minds to make life difficult for their husbands’ mothers.

If this woman was the control freak, you labeled her to be, do you think, she would have allowed you come close to her son after your first meeting, let alone allow you marry him? Do you think she would have kept quiet and do nothing to make her son marry another woman after waiting for you to conceive three years after your wedding? Do you think, your husband would have been so supportive of you? Try to find out the statistic of women having problem with conception and those lucky enough to have their husbands submitting to serial medical tests.

Everywhere in the world, a woman who is unable to conceive is assumed to be the one with the problem. That he followed you and has kept assuring you of his support means his mother has little or no influence over him.

If you weren’t blinded by your huge resentment for this woman whose only felony against you, is being the mother of your husband, you should have given heed to the doctors’ suggestion to relax and give Mother Nature the chance to perform her magic of conception. Anxiety does no good for a woman who is desirous of having a baby. Stress makes the womb hostile for impregnation to occur.

Do you honestly think if your mother-in-law were as bad as you think she is, you would have gotten away with that act without her tongue lashing you? Not every mother-in-law would tolerate what you did. For her son to have taken her out to eat, underlines the intensity of her state of hunger that day.

How would you have reacted, if it were your mother your husband ignored the way you did his?

What kind of pastor would order you to maltreat the woman whose son you are married to? Even if true she is responsible for your inability to conceive, how would your behaviour salvage the situation?

Doesn’t Godly wisdom insist on giving onto Ceaser what is his? You could have prepared her meal first and given your husband the excuse you desired more time to cook his favorite meal. That would have stilled the wind of trouble in your home.

Isn’t it strange that a pastor who claims to be vested with the wisdom of God would insist on you doing as he says without consideration for the consequences of the action he has instructed you to perform? The Bible says we should discern every spirit.

Now that the situation in your home has deteriorated to your husband sleeping in another room, how has the pastor helped to normalise the situation between you and your husband?

Until your visit with your friend to this pastor, your home was peaceful. Shouldn’t it bother you that things took a turn for the worst after you went seeking for spiritual remedy?

 Often time, we complicate our problems by our failure to appreciate the totality of God in our lives. Truth be told, you don’t have any problem in your marriage except the ones you have created by yourself. First you need to change your views about your mother-in-law. Even if she doesn’t like you, you can still win her over through a right disposition towards her and life generally. You are a woman. One day, you will have your children and be a mother-in-law too. How would you want your son’s daughter to treat you? Would you be happy if she labels you with the same tag you have adorned your husband’s mother with?

Learn to study this woman with a clear mind. If your mother isn’t perfect, don’t expect her to be. Give her the chance to get to know you as well, at least for the sake of the man you both love.

Rather than run from church to church, why not open a communication channel with God through prayers and fasting?  God listens to those who have implicit trust in Him and who are patient. It is that ability to wait for His time, you should ask for.

The babies would come once it is the right time with God. Giving babies is possible by His sole Sovereignty. No other power can make it happen.

So why not connect with Him?

As for all those things you were told by the pastor, ignore them. God may have planned the presence of your mother-in-law that day to forestall an incident that might have implicated you. If they are true, God Himself will tell you and give you the required remedy to excel.

Go and apologize to your mother-in-law for your behaviour that day, in particular and for the other days, in general. Do that before coming home to beg your husband in that special language he understands best.

For your own sake, be careful who you confide your marital challenges in. God remains the only faithful friend.

Good luck.