Should He Defend You Against His Mother?
When you got married to your spouse, you and your husband essentially pledged to love and care for each other unconditionally. Some marital vows may have mentioned placing your spouse’s interests above all else. Even when these or similar words are not uttered in front of a congregation at church, however, most couples simply assume that their spouse is the one person who will stand by their side through thick and thin and who will defend them in any situation. You may do this without hesitating for your husband, but if you are like many married women, you may be surprised how frequently your husband does not rush to your defense when arguments with your mother-in-law arise. This begs the question of whether a husband should side with a wife over his own mother.
The Bond Between Parent and Child
Before you got married, your husband’s closest familial ties likely were with his own parents. It is common for children to view their aging mother as being slightly weaker than the father. Because of this, there is also an increasing view by male and female children alike that the mother may need protection in certain situations. With close introspection, you may find that you feel this way about your own parents increasingly as they age as well. There is indeed a gradual shift in the relationship between a parent and child over time. While the mother may have been the main caregiver and protector for the child for many years, many adult children easily fall into the role of caregiver and protector of their aging mother.
How Your Spouse Views You
Each marital relationship is unique, and it can be difficult to accurately define how a specific man views his individual wife. However, generally speaking, a modern woman who is otherwise young and healthy may be viewed as stronger and more independent in a husband’s eyes than he views his own mother. He may take on the role of protector and guardian for you and your children as well, but you may still be viewed as a stronger and more independent woman than he views his own mother simply due to age and health status.
The Dilemma Your Spouse Faces
When you face any type of dilemma or confrontation, your spouse may indeed be one of the first to rush to your defense and to offer protection when the situation warrants it. However, your husband may have unconditional love for both you and his mother, and he also may have a protector or guardian role in both of these relationships. When you and your mother-in-law argue, he may at first be inclined to back away from the situation. Some men may simply tell both you and your mother-in-law that the situation is not really that big of a deal or otherwise trivialize it, even if you feel the situation was heated and unfair. However, when your spouse is backed into a corner and forced to choose sides, the unfortunate truth is that many men will side with their mother. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, such as if his mother was so obviously in the wrong or if her behavior undeniably crossed a major social line. Generally, however, the mere fact that he may view you as being stronger and more independent may lead him to side with his mother over you.
This can be disturbing and disheartening. It may leave you seething with anger in some cases. However, before you make a rash judgment, ask yourself if you would want your own son to side with you if you and his wife were in an argument many years down the road.