Barriers & In-Laws vs. Oneness in Marriage

How can barriers and in-law prevent or hold back oneness in marriage? Mark chapter 10 reveals this for us and gives us answers. #marriage #marriagegoals #womenlivingwell

Mark 10: 6-9 says:

6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

This week’s topic in our “Embracing Your Marriage Series” is “Embracing Oneness”.

We see 2 barriers in Mark 10 to Oneness in marriage.

1.) The first barrier is our differences.

Verse 6 tells us “God made us male and female”.

Being different – male and female – immediately poses a problem in marriage. As I pointed out last week – this brings about differences which leads to disagreements and if we let these disagreements fester without resolution, they lead to a break down in communication and the marriage itself.

But God made us different for His purpose – for His glory!  We are not to let those differences divide us but unite us!  Marriage will require a level of selflessness that no other relationship in the world will require of us.  God uses our differences to sanctify us and make us more like Him.   This is his good work in our lives.

2.) The second barrier is the In-laws!

Verse 7 tells us that “a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife“.

It is tempting for some guys (and wives – ahem) to let their parents meddle in their marriage.  I am sure that every one of you, that have meddling in-laws, can testify to the fact that this is the WORST thing for oneness in marriage.

If you are a mother-in-law please heed the words of this verse and release your son and daughter from the pressure to please you and encourage them to do what this verse says: ” hold fast” to their spouse.  Their spouse should be their first priority – not us, the parents.  They should be faithful – first – to their spouse.

Friends, if you have a meddling mother-in-law. Love her. Forgive her. Give her grace. But do share this passage of scripture with your husband in a gentle, respectful way.  Pray that your husband would have the courage to follow God’s word.

Understand that it’s very hard for some who have manipulative parents to break those ties.  If he is caught in an unhealthy cycle, he may not be emotionally and spiritually equipped to change without outside help and your patience, support, encouragement and prayers.  It will be a process not an overnight victory – 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  Do not let this tear you both apart – as verse 9 says – do not let “man separate” what God has joined together. Stay strong – stay faithful to your husband and faithful in prayer for your marriage.

Addendum:  Wives, let’s not forget to love our husbands by loving his parents and family.  It’s important that we selflessly love them like we love our own family.  It will hurt our husband to not love and care for his family or to try to pull him away in an unhealthy manner.  Just as it is not Biblical for for a mother-in-law to meddle, it is not Biblical for us to selfishly demand that things always be done our way.  This is a tightrope walk.  I know it is not easy but if we walk closely with the Lord he will give us the wisdom we need to make it through each day and love our in-laws as God would have us love them.

Now, here are 2 ways in Mark 10 that oneness comes in marriage.

1.)  We are one flesh!

Verse 8 says, “and the two shall become one flesh.

The covenant of marriage makes us one flesh.  It is not the declaration of love between two people. Many people love their boyfriend or girlfriend deeply – that does not make them one flesh.  Many people live together and share finances – this does not make them one flesh.

The marriage covenant is what makes a male and female one emotionally, spiritually, sexually, and financially.  This relationship is to come before all others.

Declaring independence within marriage is the surest way to separate what God has joined together.  It is a rebellion against the plans of God for marriage.

2.) God does the joining!

Verse 9 says “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Who joins the two together in union?  It is not man, not the pastor, not the parents, not even the bride and groom.  According to verse 9 it is GOD!

We see in this passage that God created male and female.

He created (and defined) marriage.

And God joins a bride and groom together.

Marriage is so much bigger than ourselves – it is God’s work in our lives.  It is his good work in our lives.

And marriage is meant to be “as long as we both shall live.”  It is not something we walk away from when the storms rage or our spouse fails to meet our expectations or words pierce and bitterness grows like a weed.

We are to “hold fast” to each other in those storms – not walk out the door.

We are to humble ourselves and say apologies and forgive and give grace over and over and over – not hang up the phone.

Marriage is meant to be – until death do us part.

But we need Jesus’ to help us do this. We simply cannot maintain this level of forgiveness and faithfulness without looking hard at the cross and remembering what Jesus has forgiven in us and his faithfulness to us.

May we strive to live as one in our marriages.

**Chime In:  
How is the oneness is your marriage?
What barriers do you face?  
What ways has God brought you together through the storms?

Walk with the King,


**This post is a part of the…


This week’s group challenge is:

Spend time talking with each other. Plan to do something that provokes conversation, like a board game or a walk in the park.

Coming next:
September 29: Embracing Your Friendship

Today my friends pictured above are also writing on
Embracing Oneness in Your Marriage.

Please visit them!

Darlene Schacht at
Jennifer Smith at
Sheila Gregoire at
Ashleigh Slater at
Lisa Jacobson at


  1. We are coming up on 10 years of marriage and we are just now really getting that oneness in our marriage. With family dynamics becoming more complicated ( ie: divorced and remarried parents for us) establishing oneness has been difficult. It becomes more difficult when in-laws don’t share your faith and believe they need to be in your business. We have learned to be discreet with our personal business, firm in our answers when we can or cannot attend family functions, and tune out negativity that could drive a wedge. We’re serious about our commitment and we will do anything to protect our marriage.

  2. Unfortunately, my marriage is coming to an end. My husband left me for his mom three months ago. We have only been married since March 23, 2013. I did everything to save my marriage, most of which was prayer. However, we never experienced oneness. He let his mom know too much about our private life. He spent all his free time with her, called/texted her all the time, and compared me to her constantly. I was never good enough. He was verbally and emotionally abusive. We attempted counseling…he stormed out. We attempted meeting with our pastor…he stormed out. He actually told me once that “leave and cleave” did not apply to him, because God would never ask him to leave his mom. I tried to be friends with my mother in law. I took care of her when she was sick. I helped pay her bills and eventually accepted his desire to move her in with us. However, she took over my house. She spent a lot of time turning him against me. It all fell apart and then he left with her…moving states away. I am devasted but trusting that God will get me through all of it. Please pray for me.

    1. Oh Colleen – I am so sincerely sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to you tonight as I know how much you must be hurting. I am saying a prayer for you now.

      Lots of Love,

      1. Thank you for your prayers. I am brokenhearted, but I know “The Lord is with the broken hearted, he binds up their wounds.” It is my hope that God will use this as a powerful testimony in my life to help others. I pray for my husband and his mother. It is difficult to pray sometimes, but I know God can change hearts and lives. Even if my husband never comes back, I pray that He gets right with God and that he learns to trust Jesus instead of his mom for everything. Thanks again for the prayers!

        1. Colleen – with the help of God – you will overcome. I have to share with you a brand new website that is about to launch October 1st – it’s called Overcomer Outreach and it is founded and being led by Janelle from Comfy in the Kitchen (she provides the Thursday recipes here) – you must check this out – I pray it encourages you:

          Lots of Love,

        2. Colleen, I know how you are feeling right now, dealing with what looks like your marriage coming to an end. I encourage you to re-read Matthew 10:6-9. The scripture says NO MAN can dissolve or destroy what God has joined together. Not your husband. Not your mother-in-law. Not a judge. Hold fast to the covenant you two entered into by God’s will. Have faith in the All Mighty that He can rebuild your marriage in the image He planned for it to be. God works everything for our good. He will restore what the locusts have eaten. No matter what the circumstances around you look like, keep your eyes on God. Stand on His Word, place your trust in Him and wait for your miracle. Our God is able! I’ll be praying for you.

          1. Just wanted to say the Scripture is Matthew 19, not 10. I’m sure your finger just hit the wrong number. I wanted to look it up for myself for counseling a friend. Your advice Robin was very good.

          2. Robin,

            I appreciate your thoughts. I pray for my husband all the time. I hope that he embraces the changes that God is calling him to. However, there is a lot to my story that you don’t know. Under the advisement from many people (pastor, counselor, other professionals, and of course friends and family) I need to be separate from him. My pain is complicated and extremely painful. I don’t want my marriage to end, but God has given me peace…God does not want His children to stay in abusive relationships. My relationship with The Lord is getting stronger daily and I know that God is allowing my pain so that I may glorify Him! I pray that my husband grows closer to The Lord, that he will repent, and that things will change; but I need to be safe and I need to protect myself legally. Whatever happens…God has a plan and it is a good plan!


          3. Mark 10:9

            “God has joined them together, so no one should separate them.””
            ‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭

        3. So sorry to hear that!
          I too have some rough time with my mom in law. she is a widow, have 6 sons but her son’s wives will not allow her to live with them.
          and I am the only one allowing her to live with us and showing her respect but she feels like she can take advantage on me.
          I got to the point I am feeling that my husband is neglecting me for his mom. and I am a Christian but I do not want to share my husband even with his mom.
          I am praying that God guide them in Jesus’s Name.
          I am praying for you also.

    2. You are not alone. Eventually, he will come to his senses… Hopefully it’s not too late then. I’m faced with the exact same situation. Right now I’m dormant and I have decided to not have any kind of emotion. I have been made the outsider with the support of my husband. Prayer is good, though sometimes it feels like they are not answered. I’m waiting and watching what will happen in the end.

    3. God will help you, dear lady. Trust Him, follow His Word and ask Him everyday to help you in every need and every suffering you are facing. If I was linving in USA I would like to be your friend. Be assured I will pray for you! Shalom, Ana

  3. I just experienced this with my own family. My dad and step mom are upset that I don’t have as much time for them because my husband and I were working and the kids in school, plus animals, homework, chores, etc… not much time left. My step mom said, “you only have 1 dad”. Uh, yea. I only have 1 husband, I only have 2 kids, and I only have 1 mom, they are all precious to me. I just recently quit my job to homeschool our kids. My dad has his own business so no definite hours, step mom is retired, we live right down the road from them, and they won’t call me (unless they need or want something) or come visit me. In 6 years they have only been to 1 of my kid’s sports and for only 2 games. But, I’m suppose to go devote my time to them. My step mom even went as far as to say that my boys don’t have potential. They are both dyslexic and have struggled in school, but both are very well behaved, great sense of humor, artistic, teachers have called them social geniuses, but I guess that doesn’t shoe enough “potential” for them.

  4. Two things that have helped me tremendously with in-laws:
    1. Allowing the spouse handle plans/issues with their own parents. For example, if the wife is upset about something the in-laws allowed their children to have/do the husband would discuss the issue with his parents, and vice verses with the wife and her patents
    2. Remembering that in-laws and all of their actions are under Gid’s responsibility. He sees them and their heart, as well as our own. Let God handle their disrespect if there is any. Keep doing what’s right and let God handle in-laws and their behavior. Surrender them to him.

    Courtney – I so appreciate this post. We can have a lot of guilt thinking we have to please everyone and don’t know how to go that in the best manner sometimes. You explained it so clearly. Thank you!
    Cooking Up Faith

  5. I love your posts and encouragement, Courtney. Sadly, the oneness that I hoped and prayed for will never happen in marriage, which will soon be ending due due my husbands chronic emotional and physical affairs and addiction to porn.
    I used to be angry that God didn’t answer my prayers to turn my husbands heart to Him and to me and the kids. Or when I prayed that God would make me pleasing in my husbands eyes. But I heard a pastor say that while my prayers were righteous, God is too much of a gentleman to force my husband to change. So after 25 years, 3 kids, numerous rounds of counseling and a tremendous amount of heartache, I’ve come to realize oneness in this marriage is unattainable.
    Thank you f

    1. OH Amy – I am so sorry and sad to hear this 🙁 My heart breaks for you and your kids. I can’t imagine the pain you have gone through for so many years – and with such a willing heart to work through this.

      I am praying for you right now this morning. That God will comfort you and you will sense his presence and very real hand in your life as you walk this hard road. ((hugs))

      Lots of Love,

  6. Thank you for this timely article. My husband and I live with his mother, making it emotionally difficult for him to “leave and cleave”. I stay home with our daughter, and everyday I face interference from his mother on my parenting skills, and she is verbally abusive (calling me names and telling me to abandon my family – even kicking me out of the house) if I don’t parent her way. My husband feels caught in the middle and when his mother goes behind my back and deliberately break a rule I made as my daughter’s mother, he’ll side with her instead of uniting with me, and I’m left feeling like the live-in babysitter with no authority to raise my daughter at all. The last time there was a confrontation, it was physical because I didn’t feed my daughter fast enough to appease my MIL (like me, my daughter does not like to eat when she first wakes up, so I let her play for a while before I made her breakfast. My MIL spouted out her usual abuse calling me names and saying I should abandon my daughter, and then while I was holding my daughter, she choked me and hit me. Then she called my husband at work and told him I was crazy and she had to choke me for her protection (even though I didn’t even raise my voice to her, let alone hit her). The only grace I showed her was not having her arrested, and that was more for my husband and daughter’s sake than for hers. My husband explained to her (after he heard the whole story) that I very well could have her arrested if I wanted to. Her response to that was to run away and threaten suicide. She has since calmed down, but she is now living at her camp while my husband and I look for a new place to live. She is still very adamant that we still live in her house even though she doesn’t want me there. She is still hoping I will leave so she can have her son and my daughter. It is hard to forgive her and give her grace when she is trying her best to destroy my marriage and relationship with my daughter, but I know that I must for God, for my husband and for my daughter (who is very close to her “nana”).

    1. Bekki –

      You are in a very hard and unsafe situation. I would like to recommend that you contact the Focus on the Family free counseling hotline. There are wise people there to give comfort, counsel and direction – here is the link to their phone number and on-line contact info:

      Saying a prayer for you and your family now.
      Lots of Love,

    2. Bekki, my heart breaks for you. I can’t even imagine living in that situation & having the amount of grace you have shown towards your mother in law. But, when it comes to physcial abuse, there is no excuse for that behavior. It sounds like she is antagonizing you to get you to mess up some how and abandon your family or resort to getting involved in a physical altercation. Please do not allow this woman to tear apart your family. Do not allow her to bully you into leaving your husband and child. She is the one who needs to leave. Please understand that there is nothing wrong with pressing charges against someone who has physcially abused you. You cannot allow that cycle to continue. Make it clear that if she does it again, she WILL be arrested. Not becasue you lack grace, but it is a consequense of her own actions. Domestic Violence is a serious thing, especially when there are children in the home. For your daughter’s sake, please do not tolerate abuse. I will pray that your husband recognizes the danger his mother poses to not only you but your child, and that he will seek wisdom and stand up for you. God bless you 🙂

  7. I was so excited to forward this message on to others until I reached this point, “any people sleep with others outside of the marriage covenant and that does not make them one flesh. ” This is exactly how God defines marriage. It is having sex that makes you one flesh. When that blood is broken, the covenant is made. That is what is so heartbreaking in our society. So many believe that they can sleep with others as long as they are not married. Again, “what God has joined together, let no man separate.” The point is that that God shares that a promise is words, but a covenant is made through blood (i.e.., the first time you have sex). This is the marriage that God speaks of…if an attorney can’t divorce you (in God’s eyes), then a pastor can’t join you. It is the physical covenant that you make with each other that makes you one flesh.

    Thank you for an otherwise wonderful message.

    1. Hi MP,

      We may have opposing views on this and I’m okay to agree to disagree but here are my thoughts.

      Sex outside of marriage is a sin and is fornication. Stopping and repenting is what should come after this sin. Otherwise, those who fornicate would then be called to start treating the other man as their husband. The marriage covenant is what makes us married and sex consummates the marriage. So within the marriage covenant – sex makes us one flesh but outside of the marriage covenant – it is sin – either fornication or adultery. It must be repented of and stopped immediately – it does not make us married to that person.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
      Lots of Love,

    2. Ps – I just took that line out – another email just came in regarding it and I think that I was off base. I will leave my explanation above so people who received the email in their inboxes understand my line of thinking but now that I look further – I made an error.

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. 😉 and for your grace.

      Lots of Love,

  8. I wholeheartedly agree with your post. Now as an older woman who loves your blog, let me put this into perspective in reverse. After being widowed seven years ago, The Lord brought a wonderful man into my life. We have had an incredible, godly marriage for over four years now. We have seven adult children between us who have been supportive. But I had to learn I was not just gaining a husband to put in the mix of an already established life. I was entering into the same covenant with him as a young bride. That means he comes first before children and those precious grandchildren! We have a parachurch ministry, and The Lord recently moved us a state away from our family. I struggled and struggled with the separation at first, but God has proved himself faithful again! It is the best thing that could have happened. Our oneness in marriage and in ministry has truly bonded us as we follow Gid together on a new adventure that is our own. He rewards obedience, girls, always!

  9. I needed this today. Thank you for the encouragement, and how awesome to see the situation in reverse from Risa Evans.

  10. I just wanted to comment from the perspective of a mother in law – your post, while basically biblical is very one sided. I noticed last year when you posted photo’s of your holidays, they were almost all pictures of your family, not your husbands family. So, at that time, I assumed you have issues with your in laws. My son had normal, healthy relationships with people until he marrried 3 years ago. Since then, his new wife has been especially cruel and completely cut off communication with anyone who was ever close to my son, not only his parents and family, but his friends, family friends etc. Your post assumes that all in laws are meddling, which is simply not true. I realize that you are not a mother in law yet, so you don’t have any experience in this area, however you can research this issue on line or among friends and may find that your assumptions are not always true. I have sought counseling and have continued to forgive and love each time I am offended. I will not write all the details but I have learned that this is becoming more and more common. I have met and have friends, Pastor’s and relatives tell me of someone they know who is in the exact same situation – their family had healthy, normal relationships and their son married an insecure, controlling young woman. All the stories are the same, the young husband is torn and struggles with maintaining “oneness” in marriage while trying to maintain biblical, loving relationships with others in his life. While claiming the “leave and cleave” verses, my daughter in law insisted that they move directly across the street from her parents (built in babysitters) while cutting off all other relationships. I love my daughter in laws parents and they are just as distressed by this entire situation. It is very unhealthy. She controls his phone, computer and the mail. She will text and email and pretend that she is my son. My son says that their was so much tension in their marriage that he had to cut off all other relationships. My son has tried to get us all to go to counseling together but my daughter in law refuses. We are a Christian, bible following, Jesus loving, homeshcool family who never would have expected this in a million years. In the process, which is still ongoing, I personally have drawn closer to the Lord that I ever have in my life. As I have been on my face, tears flowing, God has comforted me. He has shown me the truth from His word, encouraging me to keep on loving and forgiving – repeat. 1 Peter 4:8 has become one of my “cling to” verses. God is faithful and He is good. I know that He will work this all out for His glory. I just wanted to encourage other women who may be going through what I am – not all women are the “evil ” mother in laws commonly portrayed.

    1. T. Bradshaw –

      I’m so sorry to hear of this very difficult situation in your family 🙁 It must be heartbreaking. Blending two families is never easy as differences always arise.

      My husband and I have very clear boundaries and both mother’s have respected them and we really appreciate that. I am blessed to have 2 sets of in-laws (my family and my husbands) who do not meddle.

      You mentioned my in-laws and your assumptions. Here is a post featuring my in-laws:

      And our photo together this summer on instagram:

      I am saying a prayer for your situation now.

      Lots of Love,

    2. T. Bradshaw – I added an addendum to my post above. I hope that it addresses how you are feeling and makes the post more balanced. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback. I appreciate it.

      Lots of Love,

    3. This has happened to our family. It is devasting. I am holding on to the hope that God is working a miracle and it will happen at just the right time. I miss the family togetherness we had. It’s even harder to see that my son doesn’t have contact with his sisters.

    4. I can’t understand this situation. If my son is happy ,I’m happy too and if my daughter in law doesn’t like to speak with me, again like a mother I will try to help her with love and patient. Please, leave the new couple live their life and pray for love. God doesn’t like a hateful heart. Isn’t the church that makes us Christians, is our heart. I will pray for you to find peace and for your son and daughter in law to have a long life together. This is what God wants, love, help and understanding the situation ,the age etc. God bless your heart with love .

  11. Can someone give me advice on doing this in a healthy manner with a widowed mother? I feel as though I am guilted into things because she is alone. For instance, Christmas my husband has to work….he has informed his family that we will not be having Christmas with them on Christmas day but wants to have a dinner with his parents the weekend before or after….and I have told my mom the same…they are mad at he and I and my mom thinks we are doing this as a plot to leave her lonely on Christmas. And although I still want to honor her as my mother and be compassionate towards her, but I also want to respect my husband. His family is not very understanding and because of that if they find out we’ve done anything extra with my mom that we haven’t done with them (not widowed or divorced or alone) then they become livid. I honestly feel that I am completely torn and I just don’t know how to find the right balance. This causes tension between my husband and I and in fact he just yesterday asked my forgiveness for some resentment he had built up towards me because of the entire situation.

    1. have you tried to do the get together with EVERYONE at once? Invite your mom and his parents both to do a dinner so everyone is included and not feeling left out. My honest best solution is to pray on it. I do know it is up to the children to help care for the widow biblically and we are honestly supposed to always respect our parents, but we don’t have to agree with them and let them walk all over us either. As a couple make your choice of how to celebrate the holiday and then tell everyone it was a mutual decsion and you tried your best to find a way to keep everyone from being hurt and include them.

  12. In a couple of weeks, my husband and I will be married for 23 years. I have been very blessed with two wonderful mother-in-laws. My husband’s mother went to be with the Lord a few years ago. She was a kind woman who accepted me for who I am. I loved spending time with her. My step mother-in-law is also a kind woman who has been there for me many times. She loves my husband, me & our daughter as if we were her own. We enjoy spending time with my in-laws. They make us laugh and we always have a good time around them. I am also blessed that we live near-by so we get to visit them often. This past year, I have learned more and more about being a submissive wife. I have always been the one to make the decisions. I grew up in a household where my mom always made the decisions so I thought I was suppose to do the same. When I realized this is not what God wants, I tried to be more submissive to my husband. Its hard to let go of the “reins”, but once I did our marriage really grew. I didn’t realize he wanted to be the head of the household and frankly its nice to let him to do instead of me. We’ve have grown closer in our marriage since I’ve been submissive to him. I talked to him about me wanting to be more submissive to him and he realizes that it takes time. He gives me grace because he loves God, he loves me, and he loves our marriage. I don’t feel like I am a doormat or that he is controlling over me. I feel he honors me. I am almost done with your book, “Women Living Well.” I have several sections highlighted with notes written in the margins so I can go back & reread certain parts. I have also ordered the latest David Nevue CD. I love classical music & solo piano. Its just so relaxing to me. I have forgotten about this type of music in my rush in life. I’m going to play my relaxing CDs and light a candle and make our home a safe haven for my family. My daughter plays the clarinet in band so I think she will really like this. Thank you for your time and for this ministry. God bless you and everyone who works hard to provide this ministry for us! 🙂

  13. Thank you for this timely post. I am the mother of a twenty-some who brought home a lovely young lady. I am not sure if she is the one, but I don’t want to be the hateful mother-law! I am going to memorize this scripture so I can let my son cleave and leave to start his own family!

  14. This was a very timely message. I’m struggling with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law blaming me for their broken relationship with my husband. I know I am not to blame and I pray for the mending of these relationships but of course I’m human and I struggle with wanting to defend myself when I’m falsely accused. It is so hard for me to let the Lord be my vindicator but thankfully I have a strong support group with my sisters and mom and they regularly pray for my husband and I to have peace as far as we are concerned. I believe that God works things out for the good of those who love him and follow his Word and I know that as long as I hold fast to Him and let Him be my vindicator, I will see the sweet ending to this hard story. It is painful – I really like my husband’s mother and sister and when I initially met them I assumed we would have a close relationship. I never imagined they would have so much hate toward me and jealousy over the close knit family I come from. What pains me even more is the hurt their behavior is causing my husband. Please keep us in prayer. I need grace to walk in love with my mother in law and sister in law. I need strength to look beyond my hurt to be able to see theirs and love them accordingly.

    1. ACS, I know exactly how you feel about wanting to defend yourself. My Father in law & sister in law have both accused me of treating my husband like dirt, they have never liked me in the 10 years we have been together & almost 7 we have been married. Since day one, there has always been friction, I have tried to forgive them & move on, but still they continue with their judgements and false accusations about how I treat my husband. Both my sister in law & FIL have had ALOT of difficulties in their own marraiges, but for some reason they want to stick thier nose into my marraige & point out my faults, when they themselves are struggling in thier marraige. I have tried so hard for 10 years to get them to like me & accept me into thier family, for my husband’s sake, because his family is really important to him & he really wants me to be heavily involved with his family, more than my own sometimes. Ive become very calloused & hurt by the rejection I have faced from them over the years and I really do feel like giving up sometimes. Thank you for reminding me to let God be my vindicator, that I don’t have to always stick up for myself. I will keep you in my prayers as well 🙂

  15. Thank You so much for posting this! This is exactly what I needed and hits home like you wouldn’t believe. Thank you for helping be the answer to a question on my mind on whether or not I should attend a birthday lunch for my husband given by my inlaws in an hour. I have been contemplating not going, after I have had another major falling out with my father in law. I’ve heard of so many men having medaling moms, but my husband has a medaling dad, and has been the #1 problem in our marrraige. My father in law has hurt me so much, has crossed boundaries and does not respect the whole leave & cleave thing, and I think he honestly believes that he is supposed to be my husband’s #1 priorty above me and our children. He is controlling, manipulating, demanding and very seriously emotional and needy (which to me is very strange to see come from a man, and I can’t understand it for the life of me) He has created so much strife and problems in my life & marraige that I have come to resent him. I have tried over & over to forgive him, but he won’t change & my husband doesn’t have much intentions of drawing boundaries with his father. Please be in prayer for me, as I am working so hard to forgive him & let it go & give all of this to God becasue its beyond my control. The only thing I can do is forgive my FIL & be there for my husband.

    1. Oh my gosh I can so relate my boyfriend’s father is a meddling father. I know that he wants his son to be successful and thinks that it’s my fault that he is not successful. He will not let his son take blame for his actions. He is afraid to put boundaries because his mom passed away last year also my boyfriend’s brother leaves with his dad and is 46 years old with no job so now both dad and brother cleave onto my boyfriend smothering him and not letting us have time alone. Yep he is controlling, manipulative, demanding and like you emotional needy. I can relate to everything you are saying this describes me to a tee. It’s sad when I cheer when my boyfriend works I have come to care about him as a person but not sure about the love part anymore.

  16. Okay, my friend. You have addressed some great biblical principles concerning how to handle in-laws as well as who should be a husband’s first priority.

    But now I would like to address an issue borne out of my own ongoing struggle to balance unconditional love to a mother who has repeatedly shown hatefulness and disrespect to my husband even though he has gone out of his way to do things for her and show her continual kindness.
    Most men would have thrown in the towel years ago because there is no pleasing her (he is doomed if he does and doomed if he doesn’t. And although she treats me pretty much the same way, she has been even more severe on him. On top of that she falsely accuses this loving, godly man of doing harm to ME., (even though she is the abusive one.) And yes, she claims to know Jesus and has heard His truth and message many times.

    What I wanted to say to anyone out there who may also be struggling with this kind of situation is this: There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. The first one takes one person, but the latter takes two.

    If setting boundaries about what will and what will not be tolerated are not respected, then at some point you have to make a choice because the person has forced you into that corner. Dealing with false guilt is never easy, but God will hold us accountable for choosing them above our spouses.

    When in doubt, choose your spouse and commit to praying for that abusive person instead. Sometimes it is the only thing we can do, even if it breaks our heart.

    Your thoughts, Courtney?

  17. To Courtney,
    I just wanted to say that this a wonderful post, and is sure to help many. I am grateful for it. You are an amazing woman! Thank you for writing this, and for your faith.

  18. I”m having the opposite problem, while the ideas of dealing with Mother-in-law is helpful, it is my own mother who has continually tried to meddle in my marriage multiple times, since the engagement. It has damaged the relationship between my mother and my husband. It is also starting to damage the relationship that I have with my parents. I have been married close to a month and my mother has called six times complaining about how she never sees me and I don’t talk come over anymore( I lived at her house before the wedding.) My relationship with her was already toxic, and now has become even moreso, what do I do?

  19. We will be married 35 years this April. There are things I have hated since we got married but he’s not even attempted to change these things. He is a bit of a hoarder and I feel like I’m being squeezed out of rooms. Unallowed to try to organize any of it. Not really a reason to leave but it hurts. It hurts because I’ve asked so many times for that to change. To let me help. He says he’s not a hoarder. Then I become the bad guy. I’m starting to lose it. Here’s why: I am corrected on nearly everything I do. Every day. Gently, but constantly. This has increased lately. The efforts are so unbalanced. Lopsided.
    That combined with his new religion is killing me inside. He is still a Christian but I don’t agree with the religion. He swears it’s the only “right” one. I always prayed that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Well, I got my wish. I’m screaming on the inside. All the time. Please, please pray for me. I want to run away.

  20. I know I am late to this post but thank you for this! I struggle with my husband’s mother & step father plus his mom’s sisters. All are very negative people who have manipulated and controlled my husband since childhood. My husband left his mother’s home to live with his dad (due to his upbringing) shortly after we started dating at the young age of 17. His family blames me. I wasn’t brought up in this type of home so they assume it was my influence so basically I am the scape goat. My husband finally had enough of their treatment in 2013. I lost my younger sister in a car accident that year and his step father said something about my family and sister in a negative way that hurt me deeply and was uncalled for. He confronted his mom (since he doesn’t get along with his stepdad) and she agreed with her husband. The family agreed with them. My husband was shocked with this and cut all ties. However he has since decided to work on repairing the relationship with his family by starting with his mom. I support this decision and he is not asking for me to have a relationship with them but I felt very led by the Lord to pray for his family. This post helps me to see others thoughts on this topic. I pray one day we will be able to resolve our differences and move forward with a healthy relationship

  21. i found this online today by chance. I struggle greatly with my husband on setting boundaries with his family. His mother and father were abusive to him as a child but have now “changed”. My husband is consistently trying to please and bond with them in a way I know he wishes he had as a child. This puts us on the outs as he allows them to way over step their bounds or sides with them on disagreements in our own home. They are manipulative, selfish, people who actively work to undermine our marriage. Honestly, if someone had said “these people will be a consistent thorn in your marriage and family’s happiness and your husband will allow them to be that way at your expense” before I married my husband I would have probably not married him. We’re currently in therapy over issues that almost wholeheartedly steam from them and their manipulation. I don’t know if it will help but I pray for us.

  22. I too have had issues when my father in law moved in with us and i became his primary care giver ..he is unsaved and has been and alcoholic and violent man all his life , but my husband so wanted to care for him and try to show him Jesus and i supported his ability to forgive and desire to see his father saved , thinking theres not much he could do to harm me him now being blind , but i was wrong , it took almost a year of him turning my husband against me to finally break me! Abusive , hatred , lieing, minipulitive refused to follow rules my husband layed down and blamed it on me , he would always be asking me to nag my husband for him (i stopped this when i realized what he was doing ) finally at my breacking point i started crying out to God to show my husband who his father was .and the next day he attacked me physically in the car whille going down the freeway ! It woke my husband up and he found a place to put him outside our home .. our relationship hasent gotten back( partially due to his father still haveing access to him ) to what it was but i keep praying and know God is stronger than even the most minipulitive person

  23. My mother in law has been extremely disrespectful towards me. She has no support for our marriage. She didn’t even stand up at our wedding. She has nothing to do with our daughter and has yet to acknowledge I and 23 wks pregnant with our son (her only grandson). She spends all her time with her other son and granddaughter. I have tried talking with her about things only to be ignored. She has been disrespectful to my mom and other family members as well as disrespectful to me in front of my husband, family and friends. My husband just ignores her behavior and claims that’s just how she is. He continues to call his mom and go see her or have meals with her, without our kids and me. I’m at my breaking point and don’t know what else to do. I am unhappy and broken. Crying has become my crutch. I know God has a plan and won’t give me more than I can handle but right now Im ready to throw in the towel.

  24. I am sorry for your pain. This may not be healthy for you in your state to carry on the relationship as it stands. Do you have family to go to? God knows your pain. If you need help to talk things through more thoroughly there is a number that you can call. It is 1-800-NEED-HIM, they have counsellors who are there 24/7 to listen and help you sort this out. Your daughter needs you and so does your unborn child. I will pray for you Liz.

  25. I am SO thankful I do not have to deal with crazy in-laws! My husbands family is in the Philippines so we only see them every few years. And we only see my family on holidays and special occasions because they are 2 hours away. I know some people with crazy family and it is very sad, I do not understand why they would get married in the first place. I have cut toxic people from my life before. It is hard and painful, but it is worth it. I pray all the people commenting fund the strength and courage to make these hard decisions.

  26. Hi everyone, I have inlaws like that too. When i was just a girl friend i guess they thought we wont get married me and my husband.

    Mother inlaw always giving me silent treatment, since i am quiet myself that never bothers me, sister inlaw pretend to be fine. After 7years dating my husband told his family about the plan of wanting to marry me, brother inlaw told him he doesnt know what he is doing, he must wait.

    Well, we ende up getting married, mother and sister inlaw tried to ruin our marriedge but becouse God is faithfull, they didnt manage. They start hating me big time, excluding me in all conversation, luckly im too quiet i never want to interfere.

    MIL and SIL always ask money behind my back…
    MIL opens my husband mail, checking statement what he does and what not. Relatives mistreat me while my husband is watching.

    I prayed to God Almighty, he finally saw that and we set boundries, we nolonger going to visit them as they wish, we dont attend christmas holidays anymore, we just accompany ourself and enjoy our love and marriage.

    We change address of my husband mail to be delivered in our house now, they have no access of anything. I really feel bad now bcs, we distance ourself so much that its visible that its becouse of their evil. I have been verbally abused but prayed about it and forgave them to many times.

    Hope God, can come up with solution for Inlaws who hates daughter or son inlways to stop this evil act as its lead dirvoce. MIL she can manipulate big time, but i know his tactics i just pray abt it, abd gentlely point it to my husband.

    We always pray together me and my husband and cast out spirit of separation, jealousy, pride, envy, cobfusion in our marriage. And pray for those difficult inlaws to know their place.

  27. I have a question for some of the ladies. If you knew your husband’s families were like this, why did you marry him? you do know that marriage does NOT change most family dynamics, nor does it change a man. I had a teen pastor teach the kids to not marry no matter how much you love someone, if their family does not like you, because it will trigger generations of bitterness. You will get tired of the in laws treatment and want your spouse to stand up, eventually the spouse will resent you, etc…I have lived it and my ex husband left me after 25 years because his mother and sister finally convinced him that marrying me was a mistake. He cut off our kids, and now the kids want nothing to do with their paternal family. I married at 18 thinking they would change , never ever it got worse as the years went by. I’m at peace now my ex is remarried and guess what> they don’t like her either his life is now a mess and our kids wont fool with him at all. I did think at the time leave and cleave meant cut off your family since they are abusive to me and the kids, but I just dont think it is realistic . People are going to love their blood no matter what and get rid of a spouse, so I realized leave and cleave does not work. Who does my ex still have a relationship with? His family. Our marriage meant nothing, and its was a piece of paper. So if I marry again, that is the way I will have to see it, as a piece of paper that can end at any moment

    1. That teen pastor is teaching something that isn’t biblical. I’m 99+% sure that the bible says nothing to the effect that you shouldn’t marry a person “because their family doesn’t like you” or that it will produce “generations of bitterness.” That is giving all the power to a toxic dysfunctional family, and none of the power to God. What the bible does say is “leave and cleave.” Sure, you cannot force a person to do that. That is what the bible says though, that a man is to leave and cleave and put his spouse above all others (and woman do the same). Do not blame God or say “leave and cleave doesn’t work” just because some people are too weak of resolve to follow His instructions.

  28. What does tue bible say for when ur husband is in jail what actions should one take with a relation ship of husband and wife and Meddling in laws.

  29. My supposed sister in Law Jane had an affair with my husband. since then, my husband got other women. His reason is to drive jane away. His pastor brother didn’t say anything to me even if he saw them. His mom doesn’t believe even if the pictures are right in her face.

  30. I have a question, though I know this post is a few years old..
    What if your husband’s parents are also you mentors and pastors??? Is it time to let go and move on to a different church altogether while still keeping in touch with them? We live very close to each other and love them dearly but am seeing many things that are effecting how we do our own events and holidays-which we haven’’s been 10 years…any advice?

  31. I’m currently going through tough stage in my marriage. For years my in-laws have put me down as a person, wife and mother. They’ve always tried to put themselves first and they try to be parents to my children instead of letting me their mother. My mother-in-law has been manipulative from day 1. She has lied to try and make me and my family look bad to my husbands family. When they’re upset at either me or my husband they ignore our kids. I have tried so hard for 8 years to be accepted and I keep getting let down. They never say sorry and brush it aside and my husbands reasoning is it is just the way they are. My husbands brother has found his partner and they are expecting and she has it so much easier. I’m not jealous at all. God knows jealousy is not in my heart but I have so many questions as to why they give me such a hard time. I’m at a point where I have no self esteem, I have become weak and all I do is cry because I feel like I’m a failure. Just wanted to let it out because I’m too embarrassed to tell my family. I know they’ll be supportive but I feel alone and don’t want to burden anyone. Thanks for reading and God bless everyone. I pray that you all have more strength than I do to fight for your marriage ❤️

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