[media-credit id=1 align=”aligncenter” width=”640″][/media-credit]“My wife has put to bed. She has a baby boy”.
That was my husband letting my parents know that I’d given birth to our first baby, my parents’ first grandchild. Everyone is very excited and willing to help. I still have eight weeks of maternity leave to stay home and care for my baby. I am an Igbo wife, so it’s my mum-in-law who should come to stay. My husband and I already talked about that. My mum respected our decision and was not in any way offended.
Soon enough, maternity leave came to an end and it was time to resume work. First baby, first grandchild – should we entrust him to “nanny” who was just a teenager? We are not too sure. What are our options? To the rescue, came my mum.
“Bring him and the nanny to us in the morning on your way to work and pick them up at the close of work.”
Good arrangement, you’d agree. So we started with it and all seemed to go well. Then my mum, looked at her daughter, exhausted after each day’s work, and decided to offer more assistance. Dinner for my husband and I before we leave their place for ours. According to her, then I could rest when I got home – no dinner to prepare, no washing up. Sounded good to me, so I accepted. Day one, my dear husband says no to dinner. Day two, three…I begin to fret. “Don’t you like my mum’s food?” “Don’t you know its offensive to refuse your mother-in-law’s food?” My mum was asking, “What would your husband prefer to eat?” By the end of the week, we are on our way to World War 1.
[media-credit name=”Image credits: Wikipedia Commons” align=”aligncenter” width=”640″][/media-credit]
Enter my wise dad. He called my husband aside to speak to him. My dad discovered that my husband wanted to eat at least one meal in his own home and dinner was the only time he could do that. He also found out that my husband liked to have a wash before dinner. His not accepting my mum’s offer had nothing to do with the food. My dear husband appreciated my mum’s desire to help me and her offer of dinner, but he didn’t know how to tell her why he was not accepting it without offending her. Once we understood his perspective, World War 1 was averted.
Does this bring to mind similar incidences in your own home? When we are dating, we seem so compatible. We are very willing to do whatever our partner desires. We often assume that we know why our spouses are doing what they are doing. The challenge is —no matter how much you are alike —your definitions of “normal” are different, which leads to conflict. Rather than ask our spouses questions in an accusatory manner that may lead to quarrels, we should ask objective questions that will cause them to respond positively to us and give us an insight into the inner workings of their minds.
This is part of a series called Honest Conversations by Modupe Ehirim. These are soul baring conversations on marriage and they contain deep truths and uncanny insight as she shares her personal experience with us. To read the other honest conversations, click here.