When I met first met my husband, I quickly found out his mother had a rocky past. My husband told me she wanted to change. But she would always fall back into abusive relationships with men and abusing drugs. Despite all of these hardships, my husband and his mother were close.
A few months after our wedding, she called to tell us she had left another abusive relationship. She said she was ready for a fresh start.
My husband and I discussed it and agreed she could move in with us. We thought she could benefit from living somewhere far away from her hometown, away from the temptations and struggles she faced there. We wanted to help support her efforts to put her life back on the right track.
I had only met her once, the day before our wedding, but I was so excited to have her live with us. I had always hoped that when I was married, I would have a mother-in-law with whom I would be close. So I imagined that when my mother-in-law moved in she and I would get to know each other and grow closer as time went on.
Shortly after my husband’s mother arrived, we realized what a huge mistake we had made. It became very clear to us that she did not want a fresh start. As far as we could tell, she wasn’t using drugs while she was with us. But she didn’t want to find a job, she didn’t want to stand on her own two feet. She wanted to lean on our family, to take advantage of the limited resources we had to offer her.
Perhaps we should have known that old habits die hard. But I was not prepared for the fact that . . . she hated me.
After only being in our home for a couple days she went to my husband and told him that his wife—me—was making her stay unbearable. This came as a complete shock to me. The more she kept telling my husband she couldn’t stand me, the more heartbroken I became.
It was incredibly difficult to be rejected by someone who I had welcomed into my own home. I tolerated this far longer than I should have because I held on to the hope that I could have the close relationship I wanted with her.
After complaining about me for weeks, my husband’s mother delivered an ultimatum: She demanded that my husband choose her, his mother, or me, his wife. She went so far as to tell him he needed to divorce me. That was the last straw.
My husband looked his mother in the eyes and told her to never disrespect his wife ever again, that I was his top priority, and that that would never change. He told her to pack her things because she was getting on the next Greyhound bus back to her home town. It hurt my husband that he had to tell his mother to leave. It hurt me too. We both grieved because we realized she wasn’t ready to have the relationship with us that we deeply wanted with her.
We wanted to help her put her life back together, but she wanted to tear us apart. A situation that could have broken our marriage became a pivotal moment in our relationship. Seeing my husband stand up for not only me, but our marriage deepened my love, trust, and respect for him.
This was not the first hardship we had been through, and it definitely will not be the last. But I know that through everything life throws at us, my husband and I will stay together and persevere. He chose me on that terrible day with my mother-in-law—and I choose him every day. I might not have a mother-in-law who likes me, but I have an amazing husband who loves me.
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