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Is your mother-in-law a witch?

BY: Dr John Boakye

One sad thing about some Ghanaians is that when they are faced with problems, instead of finding the root causes of their problems and work on them,they simply spiritualise their problems. For example, if a football team keeps losing matches, instead of adopting better strategies, they simply assume that a rival team is behind their losses.

If business is not working, it is a competitor who has put some concoction in front of the shop to keep prospective customers away. Another area where women spiritualise their problems is their relationship with their in-laws.

Two years ago, there was a grand wedding in the harbour city. The lovers were over each other but problems started when two years into the marriage there was no pregnancy. The woman consulted her pastor who said her mother-in-law is a witch ( a woman who is supposed to have evil or magical powers) who has removed her womb and hidden it under a tree. She would ,therefore, never have a child as long as she remained in the marriage. The lady was advised to see a gynecologist but she refused and left the marriage even when it was obvious she greatly loved her man.

Why the assumption of witchcraft?

Our children activate our early romantic memories. A wife sees her son through the eyes of her early romantic memories or as a ‘little husband’. A woman is always closer to his son, while a man is closer to his daughter but most in-law problems are basically between a wife and the mother of her husband.

One reason is that, unlike a man, a woman sees problems in greater detail and has greater problems getting rid of them. A woman also sees anything that is important to her as intimate part of herself and does anything to control it. If she is divorced, widowed or in a bad marriage, her grip over a son becomes stronger because she transfers her emotional ties to her son.

Some mothers have such a strong emotional bond with their sons that they hate to see them marry and will fight whoever ‘steals’ their son no matter how good and loving the young lady may be. Akans refer to such mothers as ‘asew korafo’ one who doubles as a mother and a wife.  That is when some wives believe a mother-in-law is a witch who has married her son in the spirit.

Some men marry when they are not fully matured and look back to their mothers for advice and support. They do what their mothers say and ignore suggestions from their own wives. They choose mothers over wives and argue you can have an ex-wife but not an ex-mother. The closer a man gets to his mother, the greater the assumption that the mother is a witch.

 

 

Is your mother-in-law a witch?

The mother-in-law factor is an important indicator of the health of a marriage. You must ,therefore, work hard to get a good approval rating from your mother-in-law. First, make a good first impression of your in-laws and make every effort to know more about your in-laws so that you can understand why they do and say things in particular ways.

Appreciate the concern of your in-laws. They are genuinely interested in your marriage and by tradition, they must perform the role of a watch dog. In-laws are parents of one who made your marriage happen. Acknowledge your in-laws.

 Forge a personal bond with your in-law. Treat them as our own parents and always say something kind about your in-laws. Show interest in everything they do and let them know you are impressed with what they do. Respect and honour them even if you don’t like what they do. Accept her criticism as her way of seeing things but never confront an in-law.

Allow your man to handle delicate issues. Discuss who comes to visit and for how long. Invite your in-laws when you are prepared before they invite themselves in your difficult moments. In-law visits must be short. Give her space to make her comfortable and do few things in the home, but don’t let her take over your home. Never quarrel before your in-laws. Instead, make them feel you are taking good care of their child.

Couples must give joint assistance to in-laws. Don’t suddenly withdraw assistance to your parents. They will assume your lover is behind it. Visit each other’s parents. If one has to visit alone, he can send a gift on behalf of his lover.

An in-law relationship is an important indicator and ultimate success of your marriage because unhappiness with an in-law leads to decreased marital success. Sharing a good relationship with in-laws is difficult but vital. Fact is if you do not handle your in-laws well, they could be your rivals in your marriage and compete with you in every area of your marriage. Your in-law can be of tremendous support to your marriage.

Maintain a good balance between your spouse and in-laws to enjoy the beauty of love in your marriage and your extended family system. Each day, appreciate that your mind is your most important weapon in dealing with your mother-in-law. If you see her as a witch, nothing good happens in your marriage. On the other hand, if you see her as a good mother and a friend, you set your marriage on a winning path.

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