If you’re a lucky guy… you have #1 or #2:
- Your mom is mature and always encourages you to put your partner first in your life.
- Your dad has shown you how to put a partner first in your life by putting your mom first in his life.
If you’re super lucky, you have #1 and #2. This means you’re well-prepared to be a good husband.
However, the reality is that most men don’t have #1 or #2. This is the reason why men struggle to give their wives her rightful place in life – it’s because you’ve never been taught how to do that. And so naturally, you will follow what is familiar to you – the old patriarchal pattern that you’ve observed as a child.
The resulting impact? Your marriage will be a replica of your parents’ marriage. Now if that’s not the kind of marriage you want, then keep reading…
You look to your family for validation and approval. And your need for approval is even greater when it comes to choosing a partner. You’re not even aware of these thoughts; it all happens on a lower level of consciousness.
When your family (particularly your mother) disapproves of your partner, even slightly, you feel ashamed for choosing (falling for) someone who doesn’t fit into your family. Your mother’s disapproval of your wife creates psychological pain for you and makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. You might try to rid yourself of that feeling by either fighting against your mom or rejecting your partner, both of which will lead you down a path of disappointment and unhappiness.
There’s good news — choosing one or the other isn’t the answer.
Before we get to the answer, let’s take a minute to compare your unconscious assumptions with reality:
|You assume your wife’s transition into your family will be easy and that you do not need to do anything.
|Change is never easy. Since you’re the connecting party between your wife and your family, it is your responsibility to lead this transition. The more proactive you are, the better it will be.
|You assume your family is selfless and that your mother acts only in your best interest.
|No one is selfless, even if they claim to be. And no one knows what’s best for you except you. To uncover motives, you need to apply empathy and ask: what is my family (or mother) trying to gain or avoid losing in this situation?
|You assume your family will warmly welcome your wife and pat you on the back for a job well done.
|No one likes change. Your family is experiencing status quo bias, which means they have a strong preference for things to remain as they are and any change will be strongly rejected. You should expect your family to reject your wife because she represents change, but that does not mean you should tolerate it.
|You assume that if your family rejects your wife, you might have picked the wrong person to marry.
|Your family’s rejection of your wife may plant doubt in your mind, but you must remain firm and tactfully counter this behavior. It is your responsibility to create a fully positive image of your wife in your family, act in solidarity even when she is not physically present, and shield her from all possible forms of rejection.
|You assume your wife will work tirelessly in the face of that rejection and eventually win them over.
|You know your family best and therefore, you must take the initiative to warn your wife about all the ways your family may reject her. You must take the brunt of the rejections, assure her that you will take the lead in easing her transition, and allow her to come to you with grievances and/or suggestions.
So now let’s tackle the final answer – how do you lead in this transition without having to pick your wife or your mother?
It starts with a very simple conversation, where you say this:
“Mom, you know I love you so much and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me. As I take this next step in my life, I want to ask you for something. I want to show my wife-to-be that you have raised me to be a great husband and that I come from a warm, loving family. I want us to do this together. Can I count on you to welcome my wife into our family and making her feel loved and fully accepted?”