My husband's Mother moved in with us last month, and things are all upset. Things are out of control. Things are torn up and torn down and it seems every day is filled with contentions and hurt feelings and fights.

My husband's father died last year and his Mother has been going from child to child trying to get her life back in some kind of order, and everywhere she goes she leaves a trail of destruction behind her.

Now she is in my house and we are at war with each other. Any advice?

From Going Crazy . . . . .

Dear Going Crazy,

You did not mention any of the specific problems, yet I can imagine with two women in the house and the son caught in the middle of two people he loves dearly, that there would be problems, and they would be severe problems from all three sides, yours, his, and his Mother's. And there may be children of you and your husband's that would create other problems as well.

It seems to me, you have forgotten that your husband left his parent's home and married you and united himself with you, for the Bible says, A man shall leave his Mother and Father and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.

It is important to you to realize that this is not a matter of loyalties, nor a struggle for loves and loyalties. You are your husband's flesh. It is not right for you to make your husband make a decision for his Mother or you, or cause any contentions between them, for he made that decision a long, long, long time ago when he wed you and took you as his wife. He did not marry his Mother. He married you.

With that in mind, look at the problems one by one by one, and you and your husband talk about the problems privately and the two of you agree privately what to do with each problem, and take his Mother into your midst as one of your own 'children' so to speak, not treating her as a child, but treating her as an individual who has suffered the loss of her husband, her home, her life, and even her children, and look at how hard it is for her. She does not have a light in the darkness yet, and is wandering through a cemetery of memories every single day and night.

If you allow her to receive you as her daughter and as her family again, and give her some space concerning her needs to feel she has yet her family around her in her great loss, that her life still has some value to it, she will get through it.

She needs love. She needs understanding. She needs caring. She needs actually another family to love. Let her have her space. You give space for awhile and see if she will not give space in return. Share your family with her and allow her to simply love them and care for them and about them, allowing her to hold them and be held by them. She is the one with the needs!

You both love the same man. You both love him and do not want to drive him from you both. Don't make him make loyalty choices. Don't be jealous of your husband's Mother. SHE IS HIS MOTHER.......HE CAME OUT OF HER VERY WOMB AND BODY...No mother ever forgets that. Receive that with all the seriousness it speaks. She bore him into the world. He is a part of her flesh and soul and spirit in a different sense than you, but nonetheless, part of her very purpose in living. Don't take those purposes from her that are wrought in her children.

The Bible says, Honor your parents so that your life may be long on the earth. It is a promise from GOD. Now your husband's parents are also your parents now.

I do not know of any situation on earth that takes the turning of the cheek more than this one and simply the shutting of the mouth and speaking only words of love. I cannot tell you deeply enough or sincerely enough to give your husband's Mother space, for there is no greater pain in this world than the pain of regret, and you are already filled with many regrets concerning this situation.

Never let your head hit your pillow without first telling yourself and GOD alike, how much you love this woman who gave you your husband in birth. It will help you get through it and possibly heal your mother-in-law of great sorrow and pain.

She will come to love you as her own daughter if you allow her to love her son and have just a little bit of him. It will not hurt at all and will help a lot. Let her take care of him without jealousy, get him a cup of coffee, fix his favorite sandwich, iron his undershorts if she wants to. Allow her every opportunity to love every member of the family in her own way, and encourage them to all make her feel welcomed in their home. She just wants to be a part of it, not take it away from them.

The burden is all yours. Your mother-in-law and your husband are simply helpless in this situation. They both need the space to get through it and you are the one that must give the passageway through with love and continued forbearance till all the problems are solved and peace and love are left. You've got to be the Angel in this situation! Who knows? You may be in the very same situation someday, and you will be prepared for it!

Always your friend, Martha

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