I have been married for forty-four years. But ever since my father died twenty-two years ago, my relationship with my husband changed because I dedicated body and soul to the care of my mother, who is now eighty-two years old. I am her only child.

I stopped taking care of my husband because my mother doesn’t like for him to be around. I even had to tell him to move out to keep her from being upset….

When I tell her that I want him to come back to the house… my mother says that, if that is what I want, I should just leave with him…. I love my husband, but I don’t have the heart to abandon my mother.

Dear Friend,

In many cultures, jokes are told about mothers-in-law, but your situation is no joke. In fact, your mother is the exact type of woman who gives mothers-in-law such a bad reputation.

There is no way to say it gently: You have allowed your mother to cause you to sin against your husband. When you said your wedding vows, you promised to leave your father and mother and to become a new family with your husband. But you have let your mother manipulate you into breaking your vows and doing the opposite of what the Scriptures teach. (1)

We understand that you have felt the responsibility to care for your mother, but she has taken advantage of you. She has continually forced you to choose between your desire to honor her and to keep your vows to your husband. It is incredible that you have allowed her to do it for twenty-two years!

Your mother has proven repeatedly that she values her own comfort over your happiness. She threatens you and causes you to feel guilty, and then she gets her own way. She may not be doing it on purpose, for in her twisted way of thinking, she is better for you than your husband.

Please don’t wait another day to take our advice. Pack some clothes and go be with your husband. Tell your mother that you are doing exactly what she suggested, and that you want to fulfill the vows that you made on your wedding day.

Communicate with your mother every day, but make it clear that you will never live with her again until your husband becomes a welcome member of the household. She will probably threaten you, scream at you, and try her best to increase the guilt that you feel. And it is very likely that, as a result of your decision, she will have a health crisis and even be hospitalized, and then blame it all on you and say that you are killing her. She may even refuse to let you visit her in the hospital.

Do some investigation and find out if you can get a visiting helper or nurse for your mother. In some countries, these services may be provided by government social services. Your mother will not like the visitors, and may accuse them of theft or of trying to harm her, but don’t let any of her complaints cause you to change your mind.

We wish you well,

1Ge 2:24