How to Get Along with the Family of My In-Laws?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I got married, but once I moved in with his family, I realized that only my husband and mother-in-law prayed. Occasionally my father-in-law drinks. I live far away from my medical school. When school started, my studies were difficult, and my faith went down. I would miss prayers helping his mom, sometimes, I was left alone with his brothers. When I talk about Islam to his mother, I am ignored. I started to get depressed with my pregnancy and lagging in school. I asked to move near my school, but that hurt my husband. He suggested I open up to his mom, but she accused me of hating them. I left for my parent’s home, and my father-in-law said a wife could be replaced. I was so hurt.

Within 6 months, we had a rocky marriage! My husband is strong, so we agreed to work on our marriage and move to a city halfway between his home and my school. I came back now, but my father-in-law ignores me, and things are not the same with his mother. She tells me she has depression and suicidal thoughts. My husband promised we would move out in a month, but we haven’t. I put on a fake smile; I feel like I am walking on eggshells; I can’t focus at school and am constantly sad. I promised Allah Most High that I would become a doctor for His sake, but now this is affecting my studies. Should I give up, pressure him to move, or stay here until his brother gets married? I feel I am breaking.

Answer

I pray that Allah Most High improves your situation and gives you ease in your marriage, academics, and living situation.

Many things are going on in your life at once. You need to relax and see things with a clear mind. Getting married and living with in-laws is a huge transition, and what you are going through is normal. I have heard much worse situations than the one that you describe.

Allah First

Fulfill all of your duties to your Lord first. He sent you the problem, and He can take it away. Don’t miss prayers helping your mother-in-law. This will also show her how to run a home without missing prayers and that taking breaks from chores to pray is important. Give charity regularly, pay zakat on time, eat only the halal, read some Quran every day, and cover yourself correctly when you go out. Most importantly, learn your personally obligatory knowledge and stay away from the impermissible (haram). Apply your religion to the best of your ability.

Patience and Dua

Allah Most High says, “You who believe, seek help through steadfastness and prayer, for God is with the steadfast.” [Quran, 2:153] And “You who believe, be steadfast, more steadfast than others; be ready; always be mindful of God, so that you may prosper.” [Quran, 3:200] Patience and being with Allah go hand in hand. Make dua to Allah to help you through this hard time. The Prayer Of Need will be very useful for you in this time.

Husband Second

From your description, I can see that you and your husband get along. May Allah keep it that way forever, ameen.

Try to be the best wife. It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what type of wife is best? He said, may Allah bless him and give him peace, ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, and she obeys him if he instructs her to do something, and she does not do anything with regard to herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Ahmad]

When your husband is around, focus on him alone. Dress up, do fun things with him, go out together, sit with him, always be cheerful and smile around him. Most importantly, don’t complain about anything. When you want to communicate something serious to him, such as moving out, have a positive conversation with him without negativity or aggression.

In-Laws

Remember, when you need something from your in-laws or have a problem with them, your husband should talk to them, not you. I consider it a mistake that your husband asked you to open up to her. Parents love their children unconditionally, but they can be easily hurt or judgmental of anyone else.

Your father-in-law ignoring you or your mother-in-law not being the same around you is just a phase. It will pass. It takes everyone some time to move back into their comfort zone. Continue to be kind to them without sacrificing your studies or religion.

Do move out when you can because this will be much healthier for your marriage, but do it when your husband is able and willing. Don’t pay attention to your mother-in-law’s depression or suicidal thoughts. Be kind to her and recommend that she get help. She might just be emotionally blackmailing you. Don’t have a guilt trip. Check out this webpage to help you cope.

Kindly check this: The Contented In-Laws

Medical School

This is a tremendous task. You should follow through. Just ask Allah to help you get through it without sacrificing your relationships and religion. It will get easier in sha Allah, but you are at the beginning of building your family and career. Be patient, be grateful to those who help you, and do your best at home and school.  When you are an established doctor with grown children, these problems will seem smaller than they feel now.

Self-Care

You did sound like you were getting burnt out in your question. Please take time to exercise, eat healthily, practice a beneficial hobby, and get some time in nature.  Get enough sleep. You mustn’t forget yourself amidst all the chaos.

May Allah give you the best of both worlds. Please see the links below for more advice:
Having to Live With My In-Laws Is Difficult. What Do I Do?
Living With Disrespectful and Overbearing In-Laws

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.