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Victor Akunna: Mediating Between Your Wife & Your Mother



My father once told me that marriage links two families together for life, connecting their histories, values, family tree etc. In one word, marriage creates proximity which leads to influence. This influence could be positive, negative or a combination of both. This is why the classic advice for marriage is often “what God has put together, let no person put asunder”. However, the question is, what can a young couple do in order to manage the new relationships in their lives? Are there proven tips for managing the new members of the family?

As a young couple, you may think or say that things will sort themselves out. This is true, but it may not be in your favour. According to Pam Lidford, one of the leading Personal coaches in the UK, she asserts that when it comes to relationships, “you must begin the way you want to progress”. In other words, just like a competent builder will tell us, the foundation of a building determines how high, strong or long a building will stand, so great effort must be invested at this phase.

Considering the fact that all relationships are mutually defined, what do you do to define the appropriate boundaries without erecting the ‘great wall of China’? For the purpose of being effective, I would like to use the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter in law as a scenario to drive home my point.

A Little PR Won’t Hurt
Speak well of your wife. Do not discuss her weaknesses with your mother. Some men complain of their wives’ cooking, homemaking, dress sense etc when talking with their mums. Without sounding offensive, let her know This is immature and a flame lighter. Speak well of your mum too.

Be Proactive with Boundaries
Define clear boundaries. Let your mum and wife know the boundaries. For your mum, the boundary may be that she cannot come into your bedroom, criticize your wife publicly etc. Also, ensure your wife understands that whatever she sows is what she will reap; she will be a mother-in-law someday.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Do your best to avoid conflict. If you know that your mum and your wife are likely to have regular conflict due to their personality, love for you and so on. Do your best to avoid bringing her to live with you unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Let sleeping dogs lie.

Add the ‘WOW’ Factor
Surprise your mum by sharing her likes and dislikes with your wife so that she can relate better with her. Also, occasionally buy gifts that will thrill your mum, and let your wife present it to her.

Public Reprimanding is a Big No-No
Do not correct your wife in full view of your mum. Every discussion and disagreement MUST be done behind closed doors in a hushed voice. Do not give room for your mum to play the role of a referee between you and your wife.

Bring Out the Diva
Treat your wife with utmost respect. Remember that you set the precedence on how your wife would be treated. Treat her with respect both in private and in public. People often respect wives whom their husbands respect and value. Openly celebrate her contributions in your life and children’s.

Speak with a Unified Voice
Many voices is called noise while a unified one is called a message. Ensure that your stand on family issues are the same. More so, when giving a gift, clarify that it is from your wife and yourself; always show your wife’s willingness to support your family.

Zip UP
Keep your mouth shut. Unless it is ABSOLUTELY relevant, avoid discussing the gifts and investment you are making in your wife’s family. Doing this may spark unnecessary tension and jealousy.

A relationship is a living organism. How you nurture it determines how it will grow …enjoy your relationships
Victor Akunna is a UK based Relationship Coach, and a member of The Coaching Academy, UK. He is focused on helping individuals, couples and companies build sustainable and valuable relationships with key stakeholders. He and his lovely wife, Chidi, run The Foundation For Family Affairs. Follow him on Facebook; Twitter BBM PIN 73E8821E

Victor Akunna is a UK based Relationship Coach, and a member of The Coaching Academy, UK. He is focused on helping individuals, couples and companies build sustainable and valuable relationships with key stakeholders. He and his lovely wife, Chidi, run The Foundation for Family Affairs. You can follow him on BBM PIN 73E8821E


  1. Bleed Blue

    February 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    ” Do your best to avoid bringing her to live with you unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.”

    Victor please help us tell them oh! 🙁

    • jcsgrl

      February 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      ha ha ha ha…kpele o! it is well.
      i am one lucky girl because my hubby does all these and above. My inlaws mind their biz and I mind mine. Chikena

  2. AA

    February 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Victor, please shout this out on the mountain tops o. My husband needs to read this ASAP!!!

  3. Chinma Eke

    February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Concise article. Both sexes will do well yo take all points in this article to heart and not just the points you feel are in your favour.

  4. TheresaO

    February 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I totally agree with these points. I must repeat this one because some of us are guilty of it: Talking about the not-so-pleasant aspects of our partners with our friends is a no-no. Most times we say it in a jovial way, meaning no harm and sometimes even in their presence.

    I used to do this a lot, jovially complaining about my husband’s workaholic behaviour with our mutual friends. He would even smile and say nothing. But I realise now in hindsight that this behaviour was belittling and disrespectful to him, even though he didn’t say anything.

    Let’s watch out for those little foxes, not big wolves, that have the tendency to cause more damage in our relationships.
    Thanks Victor.

  5. 1 + The One

    February 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Very good read and advice.. Men have a huge role in how their wives and mothers relate.

  6. Tesco

    February 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Mediate between wife and mum? Dont do it! I have heard it said that you can get a new wife, but you cannot get a new mum. Joke of the year. Besides you could always get a new sugar mummy. I agree with everything the writer says and I will add these practical tips as well.
    1. Keep your marital and extended family life separate as much as possible. I have seen situations where a mum comes and lives with a newly married couple immediately after marriage. This is a tough situation – you love your mum, but a newly married couple needs time and space to make baby steps and mistakes in their new union. Anyone would tell you that the first few months and years of marriage are some of the hardest years as you discover your spouse anew. It is hard enough discovering that your beloved leaves skid-marks on the toilet bowl, without having your mum know this to and add her 2 kobo opinion. Who controls the kitchen? How do you guys even smash without your mother being subjected to your Nackson soundtrack? No mum has to find out that her son is a freak.

    Obviously this is a hard one in Nigeria due to economic reasons which make couples co-habit with family, but it should be avoided where possible.

    2. NEVER abuse or “report” your wifey to your mum. She would develop animosity for your wife. If your wife is misbehaving and you need outside help, its better (though not ideal) to speak to her own mum about it. Unless her mum is one of those blind to the fact mums who never see the wrong in their own kids. In that case, report her to her elder sister, or someone she really respects. If she doesn’t have anyone she respects or look up to, then brace yourself. Your goose is cooked. I recommend the movie “Why Did I Get Married”. And plenty of Panadol and earplugs.

    3. You and your wife are meant to be one body, one soul, one heart. But try and protect your mum’s dignity too. It doesn’t help to undermine your mum or expose all the skeletons in your mum’s cupboard to your wife. Nah. Don’t forget that your wife sees you as an extension of your mother. If your mum is a razz old-school control freak who eats rice with her fingers and consults an oracle before she makes any decision in life, chances are that you are like that too. And your wife would bring this fact up in any argument you too have; and you may end up feeling betrayed, and losing your cool, and stupidly striking her, and having all the neighbours intervene, and looking like the jerk that you totally are. Your kids, especially your daughter Nwaolodo may also see you beating her mother and resent you for life. Not a good look. Guard your mum’s dignity.

    4. Don’t play your mum and wife against each other to get leverage. Some men do this so that they could keep both females competing for their (the man) love and attention. This is like playing with fuel and matches. The day yawa go gas…

    If all these fail, do not worry. You have joined the club most married men are members of. Your mum and your wife are never going to be bossom buddies. And why should they? You should learn when to mediate, interven, retreat or run for cover.

    • HoneyDame

      February 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      HAHAHAHAHHAA……Funny but true additions

    • Newbie

      February 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Bravo! But dude, you got me at ‘Nwaolodo’ loool! You wicked small sha

    • LL

      February 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm


    • notaplayerhater

      March 1, 2014 at 4:37 am

      This ‘Nwaolodo’ daughter though… hehehehe M the day she comes after you! 🙂

  7. tonitaj

    February 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Well Said – Diplomacy is the key to keeping all wars friendly.

    I remember when my sister started dating this guy. He called a family meeting to warning his family (3 sisters and his mother) not to terrorise her like his previous relationships whilst we (my sister and I) were present. It was a very bad move.

    Although his family didn’t say anything but i know they will be history very soon. To cut the very long story short, his married now but to a “family approved” woman.

    Some people sometimes forget that all relationships have boundaries. The biggest hurdle is to know when not to cross the line or the friendly war will turn to real.

  8. Jo!

    February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    VERY VERY VERY Practical points, totally makes sense

  9. @edDREAMZ

    February 28, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    My mother and my future wife gats to luv each other if not so, i dont think am marrying her any more… Period…..

    • Blessmyheart

      February 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      You won’t marry which one?

    • Diana

      February 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      So what if you find out they don’t like each other after your marriage? Divorce ???

  10. Dr. N

    February 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    This article is on point. My marriage is inter-tribal. If my hubby did not make his mom believe I am some superwoman from Jupiter, I wonder where I would be. His sisters take their cue from him. He doesn’t even tell me half the things he fills her head with. I get strange calls from her, thanking me, and I just shake my head. In the same vein, my parents will never hear a negative word about him. Good advice.

  11. SoChi

    February 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I love this, please wives and husbands should take to this advice. My case didn’t turn out so well, we were married for 8 years and my husband’s family were privy to everything. I used to just keep quiet and smile and sometimes get told things that hurt my heart. I got tired of being married to more than 1 person plus plus the pain was just too much. The last straw was when his whole family called and seriously drilled me for cautioning my husband about an affair, they called flimsy (this was not the only affair). I just took my 2 kids and went to sit with my Dad and Mum prior to moving into my own house. I have told them to find a suitable replacement for their child because I will not lose my mind. Plus they did not pick me from the gutter.
    My family was so upset because they had no clue what I was going through all these years. I am happier now and I will advice everyone to marry a man/woman that understands boundaries mbok.

    • SoChi

      February 28, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      Ms. Bella, this is an awesome and supportive community. I am posting using my cousin’s (SoChi) account. She introduced me to your blog and I have read just about every post (over the last week). I need to get an account, is it as easy as just using your name and email address? (Sorry I am a dinosaur in this digital age).

    • Person

      February 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Choose a nickname or an online name. And be careful too, the internet is forever.

    • slice

      March 1, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      it sure is. just choose any name you like and enter an e-mail. write a comment and click post comment. all done.

    • ella

      March 3, 2014 at 7:48 am

      eyaa SoChi! Hugs and kisses***

  12. Daaaiiiizzi

    February 28, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    As in!!! i hope some men and mummy’s boys will get to read this post, so they can tell the difference whilst communicating, cos some of them don’t know any better.

  13. Tade

    February 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Women……you cannot just understand them. I have a friend that once told me she is praying her would be husband do not have a mum. I pretend as if I didn’t ear her just to tell her at another day since she said she would like a male as her first born that her sons wife will be be praying her husband mum dies before he weds. You need to see how she got mad at me. I only turn the table round served her from the same pot she want to serve others. See ladies here calling men mummies boy how does our wife’s mum do these days? most of them are nosy and you will never believe what your own very wife is saying about you to even her close friends talkless of families women are disgusting on these matter …they only want what suits them.

  14. SOLO ACT

    March 1, 2014 at 3:03 am

    9ja mother in-laws like to do the most. i know of two cases. this man married a filipino woman, the 9ja mans family was soo happy. the woman was nice beyond words. once the man married her like this, the woman barred all of his family from entering his house or even ringing the man on the phone. the kids have never been to nigeria and the man has not seen his brothers for 20 years. the second one is another case. one of these guys married a girl that had a reputation the mother inlaw did not want her son with a girl like that, but after he married her the girl and the mom inlaw became best buddies because the husband nurtured their relationship. the fact is sometimes mom in-laws miss the wicked ones that pretend to be good.

  15. Ody

    March 1, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Sochi, God bless you dear sis for the advice. Iam going through the same thing. I don’t even know how to get out since i have 4kids with my husband and married for almost 11yrs. sad! there is no thing better than being happy or a happy marriage.

  16. Faakay

    March 2, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I will choose my wife over my mother. My mother has lived her live so my wife needs to take care of my children

  17. Metche

    March 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    @Victor Akunna, you are so on point. If men should keep to the things you listed above, there will not be trouble in marriage. @Sochi thank God you left with your children if not you will die in silence leaving your kids for another woman to train which will be disastrous for the children.

    My cousin got married to a man who loves his mother more than his wife and he keeps saying it all the time to my cousin. After discussing with his wife he will go and tell his mum and his mum will tell him the reason why he should not listern to his wife. And the next thin he will call my cousin and tell her that mummy says this and that. It was because of his mum that he did not live with his wife and one kid. He prefers to stay with his mum at Enugu and his wife stays in Abuja and he comes visiting whenever his mum permits him.

  18. foma

    March 3, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Quite enlightening comments…#learning#

  19. Victor Akunna

    April 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you all for your engaging and encouraging comments.

  20. j-girl

    June 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Hmm,my step sis got married 2dis guy nd his mum controls dia finances, she asked my sis to leave if she cnt cope dt she wil take care of her two children like she did take care of her son! Wot do u guys say?

  21. chika

    August 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    soooooooooooo true

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