Last weekend, I decided to relax and catch up on some reality TV. I finally got a chance to re-watch last season, Season 6, of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) and I was in for a treat. For those of you that don’t know, RHOA is the third installment of the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. This series focuses on the personal and professional lives of elite women in Atlanta. If you have followed this franchise, I’m sure you would agree that Season 6 was filled with so much drama! I quickly remembered how much I laughed, cried, yelled and laughed again while watching!
A major story line of the season was regarding the drama between Kandi Burruss and her mother, Joyce Jones also known as Mama Joyce. Mama Joyce caused quite a stir about Kandi’s relationship with Todd Tucker, who is now her husband. Mama Joyce did her best to convince the audience that she was doing what was in Kandi’s best interest. That is up for debate. She repeatedly slandered Todd’s name by accusing him of being an “opportunist” and unworthy of having Kandi as his wife. Mama Joyce was very vocal about the union which eventually caused tension between Kandi and Todd, and it still does today.
I felt so bad for Todd because he just had no idea how to fix this issue. Kandi was not much help because she was unsure how to deal with her mother without being disrespectful. She struggled to accomplish this even with the hopes of standing up for herself and her love for Todd. After watching this entire season for the second time, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about meddling family members and how to deal with this issue prior to saying, “I do.”
It is essential to prepare for future in-laws or your own family before getting married. Most of us are usually so in love that we often forget about some of the outside people or things that can greatly impact the success of the marriage. When we are in our bubble of love we rarely think about how we will balance two or three families and how difficult it could be. How will you balance spending time with your family? Your fiancé’s family? Your newly created family between you and your fiancé? Just thinking about it can be very overwhelming.
In my opinion, there is no such thing as divided loyalties. Once you decide to tie the knot your loyalty is to your spouse and your newly created family. Does this mean you don’t still love your other family? Absolutely not! Trying to figure out who is most important is impossible. Yes, you love and value your other family but your newly created family should take priority. I know this is much easier said than done but it will keep down confusion in your household for years to come.
When family and significant others don’t get along it can cause tension and even a wedge between you and your spouse. Meddling family members, especially parents, can be a nightmare! We’ve all heard the horror stories of the meddling in-law! The million dollar question, who is responsible for the meddling family member(s)? Each person is responsible for their own family because he/she has the most history with their respective families. Each person has to be being willing to tell a meddling family member to, “MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS (respectfully of course :-) )!” The truth of the matter is everyone has an opinion, and everyone has advice to give but it’s up you and your spouse to keep them in check.
Now, many of us have old school mothers who will have a comeback when you try telling her to back off, we all know that mother who will ask, “WHO GON’ CHECK ME BOO?” as best said by Sheree Whitfield (season 1-4) that’s why it is very important to be firm but respectful when speaking to your mother especially when you are letting her know to back off. It is pivotal to make sure you and your fiancé are always on the same page. This will make the process much easier if approached as team. After all, TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAMWORK!
Set your boundaries! You and your fiancé should discuss desired boundaries and how to lay them down.If you have a meddling family member who makes you feel guilty for not taking their advice or “choosing” your newly created family over them I would suggest having a heart-to-heart talk early on to discuss concerns and expectations. Don’t negate the warning signs before the wedding! You may be able to identify potential meddlers before engagement or marriage.
It is inevitable that others will have and maybe even give unwarranted advice. You would not be wrong to ask for them to keep it at a minimum or to themselves…unless you sought out their advice. With this in mind, be careful with opening the door. Remember, each person is responsible for their own family. Family members are more receptive to change if it comes from their relative and NOT the spouse. Don’t fool yourself either, each other’s family will always be there. An on-going war will only cause heartache for your fiancé which ultimately trickle down into your marriage. Peace & Happiness will only make life more enjoyable!
Three Things to Tell a Meddler…
1. There are two people in this relationship and you are not one!
2. I am not you and you are not me.
3. My relationship is just that, MINE!
Remember Meddlers will...
2. Making Statements or asking questions that are NOT solution orientated
3. Offering unsolicited advice
Check out this article on signs of a meddling soon to be mother-in-law!
The Loveless Family: Getting Past Estrangement and Learning How to Love
By Jon P. Bloch
LIVE. LAUGH. LOVE. BE HAPPILY MARRIED!