Why I don’t like to live with my parents-in-law

My parents-in-law are visiting us and they will stay with us for three months. It’s a pure joy for my husband, not because he can enjoy his mom’s cooking, but he has gotten an opportunity to fulfill his responsibilities as a son, especially unique son in the family. In a traditional Chinese family, the child is always obligated to take care of his parents, not only financially but also emotionally.

However, the share of our daily life, in long-term, is detrimental to our marriage. In the beginning, the peace might depend on the mutual respect and tolerance. However with the accumulation of disagreements on trifles, the atmosphere tended to be more and more stressful. There are questions of privacy, interference and culture.  But recently, I have discovered the main reason which explains why I can not bear a a long period of living together.

One night, after the dinner, my husband and his mom were discussing about the problem of a two-year-old nephew, who couldn’t sleep well in the night, crying from time to time and making his cousin exhausted. “He was once frightened by your cousin’s mother-in-law.” That was the conclusion from my mom-in-law, who holds a negative opinion of another lady that unfortunately has a bad relationship with her daughter-in-law. I was sitting in another corner of the living room, busy with my own work, but heir discussion began to catch my attention. “That happens a lot.I think it’s better to sing aloud a song anti-ghost.”my daughter’s grandma suggested. It’s not uncommon to have such a superstitious idea, less in the countryside. I was never picky with the ignorance of our parents. However, it was the reaction of my husband that shocked me and made me feel sick. “Look, I just searched online, there is a version of such song.” followed my honey, who holds a graduate degree obtained in a top university in China.”Then send it to your cousin.”thrilled his mom.

I couldn’t fall asleep that night, although it was a insignificant discussion that didn’t concern any number of our own family. If it involved my daughter, I would probably advance my opinion and treat her symptom as being sick. Besides, to practice such a silly ritual might have no bad consequence, but help to give some reliefs to the anxious parents. Nevertheless, my husband’s consentient shed lights on some something that I couldn’t accept but only ignored in our life. Was this reaction due to the respect of his parents’ opinions, given that parental authority in a traditional family is not supposed to be questionable? Was it a gesture to please his mom in order to avoid a meaningless disagreement? Or was it an indication of his ignorance and a demonstration of his true beliefs? Such doubts were all-consuming. I didn’t dear to allow myself to go on.

This small incident appeared so insignificant that I didn’t question the real intention of my husband. To my surprise, it remained significant when others similar incidents accumulated, making me rediscover my husband. Then, the life with my parents-in-law became discouraging and hopeless.

We can not always agree with our partner, neither disagree with him. As we are losing hope to influence another adult, the reality that the same person can be eventually influenced so easily by another person makes us confused and disappointed. With more people living together, there are more competitions of opinions and influence. Landmines are being settled down  while we even never payed great attention to the peaceful appearance.

The power of language

We all know that language has a huge power and affects people’s behavior and relationship. I’ve read so many novels, which constantly unveil the magic but deceptive words of love. some one them showed us how foolish the lovers were or how silly the innocent heroine who was just indulging in cliché. I was also deeply interested in sociolinguistic and learned how the political or commercial rhetoric worked out on the mass.

But however, I never linked my studies to my daily life, less to many problems which pop out in my family just because of some careless words. We are basically selfish people, who defense first ourselves in all  circumstances. Even a little misunderstanding can quickly turn out to be a disaster. When we are mad, we tend to talk more and less carefully. Even the subject of quarrel was forgot days or years later, we may still stick to some uncomfortable words and tried to explain it by guessing what it meant deeply. These harmful words didn’t mean anything but just a way of let the violence go out of the body. Unfortunately, they have more power than weapons and they refused to die out in our memory.

One of my friend, who is ten years older than me, told me seriously a golden rule for maintaining a good marriage life: never say anything bad to define one person. I didn’t understand it when I was young and enjoyed the believed eternal love. Life is a journey and as he said, we tend to define others more and more easily and quickly. My mom kept complaining about my dad, using all the same type of sentence. “He is selfish!””He never cared about me.”… If all was true, there was no hope. But I just listened in stead of confirming these points to comfort her. But I didn’t expected to remember these words and never thought one day I would repeat it as a proof of my dad’s defect or replace these words on my husband’s behavior.

Sadly, most of such harmful words have long life and they are stored in a certain area of our brain. The next time when we shout out at the same person, we eagerly solicit them to show how meanly we were treated, having forgotten what we said from our part. More weapons only make the situation worse.

The worst part in a couple’s dispute is that often the woman, in order to calm herself, talked about it with friends or other family members. It seems that we Chinese people  are more likely to do it. But unfortunately, when we talk to the third person, we all try to magnify those hateful words and exaggerate the issue. That only helps to make the memory clearer and more biased.

It’s not hard to be polite in public while it’s really hard to be polite and respectful to our family members. Studies have show us a hug gap between language and truth, but if we remember it, we will take seriously into account the bad effects of our words and we will forgive others more easily. If we are not ready to accept the dialectic application of this truth, just let the silence in and control our impulsive violence.