Since we run a website based on marriage and relationships, we often get questions in from our readers, asking how we would handle certain situations. This latest email came in, and not only did we want to answer it, but we want to ask for your opinion as well. Below, you can view the question along with separate responses from the both of us. After you check everything out please leave your point of view and perspective on the situation in the comment section as well.
Dear Lamar & Ronnie,
I’ve been with my spouse for 14 yrs and married for 9 of those yrs. I have always had issues with my husband’s relationship with his mother because of boundaries, which he seems to think is a normal occurrence. Tonight I witnessed something that I was truly disgusted by and as a result, I’m feeling very uncomfortable. My husband ate his mother’s unfinished banana pudding, using her bowl, spoon and all. Am I overreacting or should I not be concerned?
Maybe the guy just can’t resist a good banana pudding, just kidding. I agree with you on having a problem with him eating such a personal dish from his mother. When I read that it made me think that I definitely wouldn’t want Ronnie to eat something like that from her mother, spoon and all, then try to come in for a kiss. It also sounds like this is something in a line of problems you may have had with the relationship that he shares with his mom. It’s good for men to have healthy relationships with their mothers but you are his wife and he needs to make sure that you’re comfortable as well. Sometimes it may be hard for men or women to tell mom that they are crossing boundaries, but it definitely is a necessary step that needs to be taken when appropriate. It sounds like you’ve talked to him about it before but I would suggest that you try again. Make sure that it’s a focused conversation and not just something in passing or when you’re pissed. Express your frustrations and how important it is to you that they be taken seriously. If the two of you can’t resolve the issue I would strongly suggest that you seek professional help and counseling to help resolve the issue. These small issues are what normally build up into the big issues, so if you can nip it in the bud now, that would be the best for your relationship.
Well, I both agree and disagree with Lamar.
I agree with him in the sense that some boundaries should be set. And not just with your in-laws, but for all of your extended family, his homies, and your girlfriends too. If something is making you uncomfortable, you and your spouse need to talk it out first and come to a compromise. Yes, compromise … which means both of you adjust a little for the sake of the relationship. And then he needs to talk to his mother about it.
But it is going to be important for you to be able to compromise too. Because maybe he just grew up like that (in a very tight knit family.) So eating after each other may not gross him out like it does you. If my mom was eating a piece of cake and she said: “Here you go taste this delicious cake.” I would eat it right from her fork. So, would I finish her bowl of banana pudding? No. But would I eat after my own mother? Yes. Sorry Lamar … it’s true.
Even in this situation with eating after his mother … there is room for compromise.
In the end, if you love your spouse, then you will want to have a good relationship with his/her parents. Keep a positive attitude and work together as a team to address the boundary issues.
What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. How should she deal with a MIL who crosses boundaries? Is it nasty for him to eat his mother’s banana pudding, spoon, bowl and all?
Disclaimer — Lamar and I are not counselors. We are giving you our opinions based on how we would handle things, our experience as a happily married couple, and what we have learned from our website and marriage classes. So, if something gets jacked up … don’t blame us … lol.
Read more from us at our award-winning website BlackandMarriedWithKids.com.
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