Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Your In-Laws Need Boundaries


I was ministering somewhere a few days ago and the issue of interfering inlaws came up. It is really really important that we know and understand that they cannot dictate the relationships their children have with their spouses.

Those of you that are thinking of getting married please begin to discuss it and put boundaries in place, especially if you feel your partner is a mama’s boy or daddy’s girl, because if you do not your inlaws may start to interfere (if they are not doing so already) and poison your relationship.

The control is ungodly. Sir, stand up and protect your wife to be/ girlfriend from your mothers’ onslaught. You can see what your mother is doing is not right but you will not defend the woman you call special. Young lady if he cannot defend you in front of his mother, will he defend you at all and is this the start of things to come when you both get married?

The bible clearly states in Gensis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” 

Why is it significant that the man clearly leaves, even though the woman must leave also? The man is the foundation of his family. He is the main cornerstone that his wife and children will come to and if the man is too caught up with his mother then his family malfunctions and the foundation is shaken. You are not only to leave physically, but also emotionally and spiritually and you must start to cleave. Pray about this and ask God for wisdom on how to create parental boundaries. It may be difficult but it can be done.

Gentleman when you ask a woman to marry you do you actually know what you are asking? Do you know and understand your God given responsibilities? Your God given responsibilities towards your wife does not involve your mother. Yes the bible says that we are to honour our mother and father, that is very important but it does not say honour them at the expense of your wife. Remember God takes the position of a wife  very seriously. He compares marriage with Christ loving his church, the bride. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Jesus did not allow Mary his mother, to interfere with his relationship with his bride and what he was assigned to do for his bride.

Ladies in your rush to be married please make a careful note of the relationship your husband to be has with his mother. If there are clear boundaries in place then it’s good, but if not and she feels it is ok to dictate to her son and place ungodly influence over his choices then watch out. If you are having red flags or the Holy Sprit is nudging you about something then step back, pray for direction and ask questions.

If you remain silent then you will not have a happy home and instead of having a 3 fold cord ( you, your husband and the Holy Spirit) that is not easily broken, you will have a 4 fold cord that will break any minute now.

The damage done by interfering inlaws is not spoken about much in church but I want to encourage you to be prayerful and watchful in this area. Let the Holy Spirit be your teacher and do not enter a marriage with someone because you are desperate to be married.  Marriage is not the wedding day, marriage is the beginning of the rest of your life. Cleaving is a life long journey which must be protected.

I heard of a woman, who happens to be in church leadership, who tried to hinder the marriage of her son to a beautiful christian young woman, because she was worried about who was going to look after her and keep her company. When I heard that story I felt sorry for her other adult unmarried children. It is so selfish and manipulative on her part.

Naomi in the book of Ruth was a beautiful mother in law who respected her daughters in law, so much so that they did not want to leave her. There are mothers in law that have a beautiful spirit and if they see anything go wrong in the lives of their children’s marriage, they will take the time out to pray. They honour the spouse their children has selected. I honour such inlaws. If you have inlaws like this treasure them, love them and appreciate them.

What I have stated works both ways. There are some women who cling to their parents and will not allow their husband to lead. Leave and cleave to your husband, do not be a stumbling block.

Dear heart, what does God say about marriage? If your inlaws are disrespecting what God says about your own marriage, then you need to take steps to do something about it. I appreciate that some cultures place a high value on in-laws and their input in their children’s marriage. Their input has proven to be detrimental in many cases. Your spouse is not a tool for your in-laws to abuse as they please. Please stand up for your spouse because the two of you have become one. You do not become one with your parents.

Please share your feelings about this in the comments section.

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3 Comments

  1. You are right. No interference. At the same time, learn to treat your spouse with love.

  2. In my situation, my wife is loyal to her parents while she withholds love and respect from me. This began on the day we were married. She allowed her parents to have the final say on several things in our wedding that I didn’t appreciate. Her dad has always shown contempt for me, but I was very patient. When he would attack me behind my back, I was angry but rarely expressed it to him. My wife made excuses for anything her family did, and I withered without even affirmation or validation from her.

    The in-laws show increasing contempt, and my wife has never pursued or allowed real intimacy in all our years. I’m diagnosed with PTSD now. Lots of covert emotional abuse tore me down before I even knew what it was. 20+ years later, I have no hope of good-will or healing. In fact, while I have tried to assert boundaries and limit contact somewhat, I am actually accused of trying to isolate my wife (I am the one who is isolated). I assume that if I try to salvage my spirit and get a divorce (she has assassinated my character in other ways), that I will be accused of abuse and will lose the kids entirely.

    I’ve looked all over, but have not found any real help or advice for women about how loyalty to their husband should look when her family is intruding. The very few mentions I’ve seen were brief and used stereotypes to describe things. I think your statements towards the end of the post are the most direct I have read anywhere. I would encourage you to run with it and write more along those lines. It is considered more acceptable in this culture for wives to be loyal to their parents above their spouses than it is for men to do so. The resources for men to even argue their point are scant.

    • Thank you so much for your story I truly appreciate it and I will write more on the subject. I would like to email you directly. I have checked your blog and cannot find an email address. Please can you email me at heartofrefuge@hotmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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