I have been married for thirteen years and I have an eight-year-old daughter. Nine years ago my mother-in-law came to live with us, as he is an only child. We were renting the house we lived in, and had enough bedrooms for all four of us.

A year and a half ago we had the opportunity to buy a house, but it only has two bedrooms. To make it work, my husband sleeps in one room with his mother, and I sleep in the other one with my daughter. This has bothered me a lot and has been a source of conflict between my husband and me.

I have asked my husband to move out with his mother to reduce the family stress, but I am afraid that it is not the best solution. Please, what can I do?

Dear Friend,

A year and a half ago, you and your husband chose to put your house above your marriage, and now you are experiencing why that was a very unwise decision. Anytime we put a higher priority on things than on relationships, we suffer the consequences. You obviously wanted your own house so badly that you were willing to sacrifice your marriage.

If the two of you can’t afford a three-bedroom house, how can your husband afford to move out with his mother? How could that solution lower stress in the family if the family were not even living in the same house anymore?

Even though you don’t say so, there must be major problems between you and your husband or the two of you would never have decided to sleep in separate rooms. And your mother-in-law must have a difficult personality, or you would have put her in the bedroom with your daughter. Does your mother-in-law agree with an arrangement that separates her son from his wife?

Your husband sleeping in the room with his mother instead of you is not healthy for anyone. It makes him susceptible to the temptation of an illicit affair. And it causes him to align himself with his mother instead of with you. That is why the Bible says clearly that a man is to leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife.(1) When this important guideline is ignored, for whatever reason, the marriage suffers. In your case, the physical separation is obviously a clue that your emotional unity is also disrupted.

There was a time when my husband and I didn’t have enough rooms in our house because of adopting two additional children. We put up a divider and made the living room into another bedroom. Other people divide one bedroom into two much smaller rooms. And others have someone sleeping on the couch with their clothes in a coat closet. There are many creative ways to resolve your situation without resorting to your current living arrangement.

If both of you will pray and ask for God’s help, He can give you ideas for how to change your living arrangements and how to improve your marital relationship. When we give God first place in our lives, He helps us make wise decisions so that we can prevent this kind of difficulty.

We wish you well,


1 Gn 2:24