ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of those things we hear of but choose not to believe because of their absurdity. Leery fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law that make a pass at you each time your husband is not looking? Mwereti Kanjo asks around on how, as a wife, you can ably deal with these awkward moments.
Consider this scenario. Your husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father or brother has come to stay with you. Being the polite wife that you are, you make sure that your in-laws are comfortable by being sweet, cheerful and respectful but they misinterpret your actions and start to make sexual advances towards you.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face facts, in a Malawian context sheer closeness with your father in-law is just out of the norm. But faced with this challenge, how do you handle the situation?
Your husband probably trusts his brothers and father by virtue of being family. And then there is the mother in-law around whom you always have to be careful. Chances are, she will be quick to defend her husband just to maintain family dignity and honour.
Reverend Patrick Semphere says you need to talk to your in-laws before taking on other measures. He says this should be done during the secluded moment that he is making advances. It is important that your position is made clear. If he persists, it is your husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right to know what is going on.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important that your husband hears it from you because should he discover it for himself, chances are he will become suspicious.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Also, if you choose not to tell your husband in respect of your father in-law, you might be protecting a nasty behaviour that he is taking outside the home,Ã¢â‚¬Â advises Semphere.
Psychologist Sandra Mapemba says the way you deal with thisÃ‚Â depends on the extent of family closeness, history, upbringing, age, personality, present job status and each situation would be treated uniquely.
She says there is no way of telling on your in-law will not cause alarm because of the emotions that are attached both ways. However, the emotional response can be toned down if one chooses to tell the spouse when the in-laws are not in sight.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It helps to tell the husband when you are both in a more relaxed mood. If you choose the wrong moment; to get back at your spouse or during an argument, he may accuse you of leading him on because of your dress, attitude, and the like.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Family should actually stay out of this discussion as it can fuel hatred and anger. You should have the neutral discussion and decide on the way forward,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Mapemba.