Dating and getting married, that’s the easy part. Ask any married couple, and they’ll tell you it takes more than love to make a marriage work. Not only are you’re married to your significant other, you’re marrying his or her whole family too!
However, for some married couples, things can get tricky. That’s because these couples decided to stay with their in-laws! Here are their stories.
In line with the in-laws
Maznah, 29, moved in with the in-laws in 2013 straight after her marriage. Since her husband is the first son in his family, typically in the Malay culture, he has the responsibility to take care of his parents, with the house he himself purchased.
So far Maznah said they did not have any conflicts with the in-laws, as they are very caring and tidak berkira (not fussy) individuals. That being said, because her brother-in-law’s family stays in too, there are many males in the household.
Having heard of cases involving rape among family members, she makes sure her two young daughters, aged eight and five respectively, always have their aurat (modesty) covered, as well as making sure they’re not alone and unsupervised.
On a more positive note, Maznah said work can be tiresome, so it’s great to have her mother or sister-in-law help out in the kitchen and prepare dinner for the whole family. Plus, she gets to learn how to cook her husband’s favourite dish, ‘daging salai masak lemak cili padi’ too!
Maznah admits she’s fortunate to have caring and understanding in-laws, which makes it much easier for her to come to terms with staying under one roof with them.
Mixed marriage, mixed results with the in-laws
Fauziah, 64, is a Malay who married an Indian Muslim. Her husband has five sisters and three brothers, and not all of them welcomed her with open arms. At the time, during the 70s and the 80s, Fauziah says mixed marriage were not common. Furthermore, her in-laws prefer her husband to marry within the same race, which made the marriage even more challenging for them.
So when she moved in with her in-laws, she had to face a lot of criticism, from how bad her cooking is, to how inappropriate she dresses. At the same time, her husband was put in a difficult position when an argument ensues. Fortunately, most of the time, her husband will not favor any side.
She took all the challenges in her stride, and it took her years to win them over, with the arrival of her three kids helping everyone bond together. She also recalls in amusement watching her sisters in-law, who are against mixed marriage, witnessing their own kids marrying Malays, Westerners and Chinese, among others.
When asked about the pros of staying with in-laws, Fauziah said her kids picked up the Tamil language as well as strict discipline, which was instilled by their grandparents who had strong work ethic.
Money is not everything, but everything needs money
Leah, 45, is not an advocate for staying with the in-laws. A large portion of the reason (no pun intended) is due to the potential financial conflicts.
Originally, her husband’s siblings, who stay together with them and her in-laws, are supposed to chip in for the monthly bill (rentals, utilities, groceries and so on) as well. However, her brother in law got laid off, which meant her husband had to foot the bill for some time.
When the brother in law finally got a job, he did not resume paying his portion of the household expenses, much less repay them for the months when he was jobless.
Leah had to ask her husband to step in and ask his brother to pay up or leave, which eventually strained her relationship with her in-laws’ family. His brother reluctantly paid up part of his portion before deciding to leave the house.
Eventually, Leah and her husband decided to leave, and left the house to her parents-in-law. They decided to live on their own in another house. It took a few years before Leah and her in-laws were able to talk in friendly terms again.
Leah thinks staying with in-laws has more cons than pros, as many things can go wrong, not only from a financial aspect. In fact, Leah had to put up an act in front of the others when she was angry at her husband, or wanted to discipline her kids. She needed to do that to keep up a good image as a mother and a stable family in front of her in-laws.
The only pros Leah can think of is that the parent in-laws can help take care of the grandkids, but she thinks sending the children to kindergarten or having a live-in maid would have been more than enough to solve the problem.
So, would you consider staying with in-laws?
What would be the factors you would consider before deciding to move in with the in-laws? Is reducing living costs a big enough factor? Or is it being able to have other family members take care of your own children? Share with us below!
For more marriage related article, you can also read My Husband Was in an Inter-Racial Relationship Before He Met Me. Here’s Why It Didn’t Work Out and Making a Relationship Work for 30 Years; What I Wished I Knew Then.