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Lamar and Ronnie Tyler have used social media to build an online movement around promoting healthy families and marriages. By following their passion, they have stumbled into their purpose. From blogging to speaking to creating films with sold-out screenings across the country, the Tylers are loving life and each other along the way. You can find out more about the Atlanta based couple and their four kids on their personal blog BlackandMarriedWithKids.com.

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Are My Husband and His Mommy Too Close?

By Lamar and Ronnie Tyler |

Photo Credit: lifeisgood

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?

LAMAR:

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.

RONNIE:

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.

Follow me on Twitter here and here.

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About Lamar and Ronnie Tyler

lrtyler

Lamar and Ronnie Tyler

Lamar and Ronnie Tyler have used social media to build an online movement around promoting healthy families and marriages. The Atlanta basedparents of four run the award-winning website BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. They are also filmmakers and public speakers that have discovered their purpose through pursuing their passion. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lamar and Ronnie's latest posts →

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24 thoughts on “Are My Husband and His Mommy Too Close?

  1. Joy says:

    Ummmm, if this is the only inappropriate boundary that was crossed with my MIL and my husband, I would be a happy wife! Obviously there are not any disrespectful boundaries being crossed or this would never be a problem. Honey I could give you examples that would cause you to embrace this and eat from her spoon yourself!

  2. Michele Seymour says:

    I would not want to eat after my adult sons. However, if it is just a spoon of something,maybe. I am just real careful in that area. Sometimes girlfriends and daughter-inlaws can over react especially if they don’t trust their man to begin with. I could write a book on this subject.

  3. Lucinda says:

    Nothing! I taught my children and grandchildren to NEVER eat after ANYONE! Period! I will not even allow anyone to taste something from my plate with a fork while I am eating. There are just too many things that can go around and I know it’s Mom and that is a sensitive issue but I just cannot eat after anyone or drink either for that matter…and I have always been like that. My 5 year old grandson will tell anyone trying to give him a drink from their cup that he needs to have his own cup because his Mommy does not allow him to eat or drink after anyone. If I can’t have my own personal portion, I’ll pass! LOL

  4. Nat says:

    So I agree with Lamar. Maybe because I’m having issues myself with the boundaries placed between us & his family. I think its too close for comfort. The Bible says we leave our parents & cleave to each other- but nowadays lots of parents seem not to understand this & try to control their adult kids even in their marriages. Lots of persons seem to not have issues with this. I would be hell of upset if my hubby ate behind his mom like that. Boundaries are definitely necessary.

  5. Lapuddin says:

    I don’t eat behind anyone. Didn’t feed my daughter and myself with the same plate or use the same fork or spoon. Our bodies all carry different bacteria. I would say something else about eating after folks but this may not just be read by adults so with that said think people don’t use anything behind others.

  6. Brendan Richardson says:

    I think she is over-reacting. Its just a bowl of food. I eat my momma’s food, my wife’s food, my kids food all the time, and they eat mine. Your momma use to use her spit to clean your face! That’s what close families do.You know how many times my daughter (18months) has stuck her little nasty toddler spoon in my mouth… Mmmmmm Daddy likes it! (knowing I don’t). I think she has taking the other issues she has with his closeness to his mom and compounded them by nit picking everything involving his mom. She needs to sit down first and pray for the wisdom to discern what truly is problematic and not. Then discuss these issues fairly with her husband. If there are real boundary issues that his mom crosses, this needs to be addressed maybe through some counseling. Other than that, I think this isn’t that important.

  7. Avis says:

    I was surprised by the story issue provided and even more surprised by the responses. I do not eat after anyone because it’s my pet peeve. I don’t see how this is any different that parents eating after their children and vice versa; or friends and siblings eating after each other. The issue may have nothing to do with her husband eating after his mom, but what could be a mountain of issues over time for a wife who may be reaching a breaking point. This couple needs some help to unraveled the “thread” of issues that have become tangled overtime. A darn good, highly recommended, credentialed marriage counselor may be needed. I suggest speaking to a spiritual adviser after professional marriage counseling for a reinstatement of vows and commitment to each other. In the meantime, I highly recommend a book by Richard Carlson, titled: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life. My brother-in-law gave me this as a wedding gift and it’s kept me from investing in negative relationships and temporary conversations. The book sells for about $9 on Kindle and less than $15 in paperback. It’s a simple and easy read that will make you laugh and exclaim “Wow!” Good Luck and to the couple please try to remember the joy and love that brought you together.

  8. jaymarsh says:

    Wow the writer seems to imply that something inappropiate may be going on. Since we don’t have the entire story it’s hard to just comment from what seems to be so trivial, so here goes……What people have never experienced or don’t understand they hate. I am very close to all three of my adult children, two of whom are men. We share our food and my son may finish off my desert of whatever and it’s no big deal. But however when my oldest son married a young women who did not have a close family relationship growing up, she constantly kicked against the prick, regarding his family values, as if he was raised by wolves. Well my son learned a valuable lesson about being unequally yoked even in the smallest areas of life. Every story is different and we all have our own preferences.

  9. brlevert says:

    ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ON THIS EARTH HAS A MIL AS DO I!!!!!!!!! ok..maybe so, but i cant imagine so. MY MIL WAS AND STILL IS TIL THIS ONE OF THE MOST ANNOYING, DISRESPECTFUL, BOUNDARY-CROSSING IGNORAMUS I HAVE EVER BEEN FORCED TO LOOK AT WITH MY EYES..LOLOL..as much respect as i have showed toward her and her family..I STILL DONOT DISRESPECT HER TIL THIS DAY…BUT I DONOT LIKE HER AT ALL. I DONT HATE EASILY AND I EASILY FORGIVE..I WILL NEVER FORGIVE HER!!!! i dont feel like i have too or should. when my husband and i were having common marital problems she constantly butted in. instead of offering some REAL ADVICE, by words of encouragement or advice or referral to someone who could help us..she tells me QUOTE ON QOUTE..”EVERY NIGHT THAT SHE PRAYS, SHE PRAYS THAT I’D BURN IN HELL OVER AND OVER AGAIN”…well this lady is kicking 100 in the #$%….i said well, since youre the oldest..GUESS SHES GOING FIRST, AND YOU WONT KNOW BECAUSE YOULL BE GONE 1000 YEARS BEFORE ME…she totaly forced me to go outside myself. anyone who knows me knows that i show respect to everyone…but once she PUT HER HANDS ON ME..AND MY OWN MOTHER HAS NEVER DONE THAT…ALLLLL RESPECT, HOPE, LOVE, LIKE, WISHFUL THINKING…WHATEVER IS OUT THE DOOR!!!! dont even let me start with her background…uuuggghhhhh!!!!!! i hate her guts

  10. brlevert says:

    well, my thoughts on the banana pudding issue are as follows; ANYONE WHO HAS EVER BEEN AROUND MALES, BE THEY FATHERS, BROTHERS, COUSINS, CHILDREN, UNCLES OR HUSBANDS…THEY ARE QUITE DIFFERENT FROM FEMALES. ESPECIALLY if the man has children, males arent so caring as to whom they eat after…ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR FAMILY!!! i think that we as women already have enough issues in dealing with men and marriages, so we should try and let a lot more things pass that will easily anger us. a man eating after his mom is more respectful than him saying NO YOU HAVE GERMS I CANT DO IT. if the mother in law clearly was not trying to cause any problems, t hen that definitely should be written off as non-existant, otherwise you will be on fire with smoke coming from your ears and your blood boiling..olololol…i wouldnt look or wonder twice if that ever occurred in my marriage…shake it off!!!

  11. Andrea says:

    I truly believe it to be different for everyone. My husband is a momma’s boy and I share a wonderful bond with my MIL. My large family has a very close relationship and I have eaten after my mother on plenty occasions, probably more than eating or sharing foods with my siblings. I would not have a problem if he ate after his mother, heck that would definitely be the least of our problems, if any exist. I could also understand why other people would not eat after anyone else, as a result of passing on bodily fluids. However, in either case it’s no big deal, nothing to pay a research team to advocate. Her issues are merely more than the desire to eat a unfinished dessert. It seems as if there are some issues where he may not give her the “wifey” respect when he gets around his mother. I think he may over shadow the fact that mommy is present and that mommy should receive respect, cause she’s mom! Of course, if this is the case, then yes they need to seek counseling. If not, discuss your feelings and move on with your relationship.

  12. tee says:

    That seems more like a cleanliness issue rather than a boundary one. If there truly r boundary issues, a better example is needed.

  13. Heather says:

    I should be so lucky to have this be the most disgusting thing I have ever seen my husband do.

  14. Tristen Warner says:

    So I have a ton of issues with my MIL, but this would never bother me. I’m just not seeing it as a big deal…but maybe my family is closer knit, whatever we eat after each other, share community dishes, etc. Not a big deal. As a mom I can only hope my son and I are as close as he ages.

  15. Crystal says:

    My biggest concern isn’t about the issue that was discussed. The information we are given isn’t complete, so we truly can not make any judgements. We do not know past history or back grounds of the individuals. We can not take into consideration all of the hurt and past mistakes or misunderstandings between all parties. Even if it is that the banana pudding is the icing on the cake, or the crossing of a boundary, after being together for so many years it is hard for me to believe that this one thing has crossed a huge line for her. If it is her pet peeve I can understand, but it does seem as though it is lack of communication and forgiveness. You have to communicate your feelings in order to be heard. If you are unable to forgive someones shortcomings, it will cause anger which leads to bitterness. If you have reached bitterness it will take time to heal old wounds. If the relationships are to this point professional counseling may be a place to start for all parties involved. It should also be taken into account that the lady herself may have past experiences causing a lot of pain and unhealed wounds or suffering that has caused her treatment of others to be affected. Did she come from an abusive family? Has her past relationship history been difficult. How is her marriage today? Does she have a hard time communicating her feelings due to feeling judgement or punishment for her complaints? It is extremely difficult to recommend a solution not knowing the entire situation. I pray she will find someone locally who be in her life daily! Hurting for her and her situation!

  16. Ruth says:

    The only problem I would have would be using the same spoon. I would get my own spoon. I don’t understand what the problem is. It’s not like his mom was spoon feeding him. Now that I would have a problem with.

  17. BR says:

    I find it so bizarre that someone would be so offended by something like this. My family does this all the time. And we wouldn’t even think twice about it. We share food. We share utensils. We share cups. We even drink from the same soda can and will share an ice cream cone, just like we did when we were kids. Why should it be any different now that we’re adults? My brother does it with his kids. Hell, I even do it with his kids. Now I wouldn’t do it with my MIL. Maybe that’s because I hate her. But I wouldn’t think it was weird if my husband did.

  18. BR says:

    haha Ruth – now THAT would be a problem!

  19. Linda Nichols says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem with eating after any of my relatives and/or friends as long as they are not sick.

  20. Shelly says:

    The problem I had with my mother-in-law at dinner was she would lift her little dachshund to the table and let him eat what she couldn’t finish. Ugggg. It was disgusting. I would much rather see my hubby finish her food then the dog.

  21. Mary Rouse says:

    I believe that there is more to the story than just the shared food, bowl and spoon. Is it because the husband have these close encounters with the wife like the MIL?? I have eaten behind my mother. There are times that I make my kids share food from one big bowl with one or two forks or spoons. Is that too close for comfort?? There are times that I still pat my children on their behinds and have done so since they were babies. (10, 8, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 10mos.) Is that affection too much?? I think people read too much into some things that they are just not use to coming into contact with. Maybe the way the wife was brought up was different from the husband, but unless she was under a rock, you mean to tell me that if she had a social life, none of her friends showed this close affection/bond toward their family members??

  22. katrina says:

    I wouldn’t eat from the same spoon,but with a different spoon,I would it from the same bowl. Not a big deal!

  23. V says:

    it sounds to me like this specific example is more about family differences than a real boundary issue. Some families are totally comfortable with using the same utensils because that’s how they grew up; other families have a very strict policy on not ever allowing utensils to be shared/borrowed; still others fall between these two extremes. Based on prior responses and even the article itself, it sounds like it’s pretty normal to grow up with either understanding. The underlying problem, though, seems to be ongoing–the writer is uncomfortable with the relationship between the husband and MIL and obviously hasn’t felt comfortable addressing that with the husband. When trust is jeopardized, communication needs to happen or ill feelings will fester. Eating from his mother’s bowl may have been a small oddity but because there is history here, it was blown out of proportion.

  24. ALICIA says:

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