Conflict in Relationships:Meeting and Managing Expectations From In-laws

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The most difficult for a mother to remember is that other people have perfect children too. E.C. Mckenzie

Conflict in Relationships: Meeting and Managing Expectations From In-laws

A week ago, we had a counseling psychologist speak to our Villagers about conflicts in relationships. The psychologist,  Sharon Wakaba answered some of the questions, offered expert advice on various topics and got to shed light on some of the issues that were raised in the WhatsApp chat. We are going to share the pieces of advice in a series of articles. In this article, we share answers to the questions on in-laws.


Can conflict arise from a scenario where the husband spends so much on his family to the extent of denying himself the luxury of basic items like clothing and cutting down the family budget including food?

Conflict can arise from anything. This might be a case of different expectations. He may see he is doing right by your family and his nuclear family, but you may not see it the same way.

It is alright to have different expectations, but when they affect the family and hinder healthy relationships then it is not alright. It would be good to find out why he feels the need to do that. Have you brought it up to him before as a concern? Do you sit and talk about various aspects of your marital life? What would you want to be done differently? Bring that up to him, in a way you know he may understand, so that you can resolve it together.


How can one deal with a husband who uses your family’s history to sideline you? Negative things like my dad just married again. I have tried all avenues and it’s failing.

We do not have to be victims of our pasts, or where we come from. If he is not comfortable with the things his father does, that should motivate him to ensure his marriage is different. He needs to set the vision for the home so that you even know where to come in and help. Help him see that changing his thinking to what he wants to see will greatly affect the outlook of the family. In this, you are his helper, and he truly needs you to achieve it.


In a marriage, how do you deal with a husband who has been pocketed by his mum? You’ve tried talking to him to keep marriage boundaries to build up your family, but he says he can’t ignore his mother for a wife? You respect his mum, but you no longer talk to her as she’s ruining your family.

It is good to love his mother, but not at the expense of his wife. Let him see you are willing to build your family, and both nuclear families, but it has to start from the two of you. Unfortunately, unless he sets the standard for how things will run, it will be hard for you to do so. So get to interact with him in a way you know he will understand, and even if it takes time, do not give up on the need to make your marriage a priority. Do not let him think you are not interested with his mother, because he will shut you out more. Men are sensitive when it comes to their ego, respect, and mothers.


How does one deal with siblings in-law always asking for cash, fees, and resources? It’s not that they don’t have but are actually misusing him and when you don’t assist, his parents put pressure you, knowing too well you also have responsibilities? With time you discover that they are busy buying land and putting up businesses yet it is believed they never have finances. As a wife, it even affects bedroom matters as a couple. How does one stop this?

Your home is the starting point, everything else follows. He needs to be able to tell them the extent he can help. Your home should be a pleasing place for both your nuclear families, but nothing major should be approved without the two of you being in agreement. Let him know you love his family, but you need your marriage to work too. Intimacy is being affected because ladies are emotional beings, so if things don’t work out, intimacy is difficult. Help him understand it is even affecting your intimacy. Be open as possible with each other.


Marriage and relationships require commitment, communication, and consistency. If you are having problems that can be solved, it’s advisable to seek the services of a great family psychologist or marriage therapist. If you are going through abuse or you know a person going through abuse, the Gender-Based Violence-free hotline is 1195. Furthermore, if you would like to join a community of women healing from abuse, WhatsApp +254736275978.

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