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It’s no secret that I don’t watch much television – as a mother of eight this seems understandable on a number of levels.

One show that occasionally gets my attention however is some reality tv nonsense called ‘Married At First Sight’ (MAFS). It’s my hubby’s favourite, so I often hear it in the background if it’s on and I love watching him watching the show- and laughing (at my husband).

This morning I caught a segment of some morning news program regarding MAFS. It was relating to a contestant by the name of Coco (I only remembered her name because it’s the same as one of my little one’s) and her ex-mother-in-law ordeal. The news presenters were having a dig at Coco’s horrid experience with her ex’s mother and it really irritated me!

I Get What Coco Is Going Through!

I hadn’t seen the episode in question, but they did show a snippet of Coco saying something along the lines of wishing her previous husband was capable of loving her as much as he loved his own mum. The presenters found this concept hilarious, but honestly, until you have found yourself in a position of having to face overbearing in-laws you just can’t grasp the uncertainty of the lifestyle you lead.

Perhaps “love” isn’t the best word, because admittedly the bond between parent and child is vastly different to romantic relationships. However, if you replaced it with the word “respect” it levels out the notion far greater and perhaps makes it easier to understand without pushing people to be critical of the entire concept.

Coco clearly wasn’t able to tolerate the unjust nature of her ex husband’s ability to regulate his affection between the family that he came from and the family that he chose to create – and why should she?!

Why Shouldn’t She Be The Priority!

Is it honestly that socially unacceptable to confess that you want to be as much of a priority as what your spouses parent(s) is to them? Is this why in-law drama isn’t openly discussed unless it’s a bloke half-jokingly complaining about how draining his in-laws are? Is this topic reserved purely for the husbands because wives are just meant to grin and bare it a bit better?

Are we, as women, scared of admitting there is anything unreasonable about our in-laws? Or is it just common knowledge that a bloke’s parents are generally going to be excessively needy and so we say nothing at all because deep down inside we know that it’s something that everyone is going through equally. So that somehow makes it unworthy of mentioning or complaining about?

Do we not want to risk being caught out – having our in-laws find out that the things they do actually do get under our skin. So we keep it to ourselves in an attempt to appear to be living the perfect life even more so. Because we seem to have perfect relationships with everyone around us, including our in-laws.

In-Laws Can Destroy Marriages!

I don’t think it’s fair to question Coco’s desire to be loved at that time in her life – no matter how she came across. She stated what she needed and obviously those needs weren’t being met, which is why things fell apart.

It wouldn’t be the first or the last time that the presence of in-laws ended a marriage and although it isn’t as easy for some to empathise with as perhaps infidelity, I feel that it’s as important to recognise that they can be just as painful and almost as damaging at times. Regardless of the motives, you are facing the never-ending battle of another person fighting for your spouse’s unwavering attention! Whether it be for lust as in adultery or love from overbearing parents, it’s still unbelievably draining – but at least in the case of an affair you can sever ties and have the support and understanding of others.

I Should Have Married An Orphan!

I remember stating the words “should have married an orphan”! It sounds drastic, and somewhat lonely not having the extra relatives in one’s life to provide a sense of drama, but it does however serve the purpose of ensuring a more peaceful marriage.

Admittedly though, without my in-laws I would be lost for inspiration. They fire me up and are the catalyst for so many pieces of my writing. They show me what to avoid when it comes to smothering a child’s freedom and individuality and above all, they don’t allow my life to slip into a peaceful monotony – because God knows that I would die of boredom if I didn’t have them finding new ways of whisking their son away every single day…

I suppose the break they provide me from him isn’t so bad. Maybe I don’t understand it because I’ve never been tied to my mother’s apron strings. And I hope to goodness that none of my children are ever placed in a position where they are torn between the family that they’ve created and me – because I would feel as though I had failed in creating strong and independent individuals if I were able to influence, control and manipulate them in any way.

In-Law Or Out-Law?

Now to try and download the episode in question so that I can watch it and scream at the tv in support of Coco and outlaws everywhere… hmm “outlaw”, yes I do suppose my in-laws would envision me that way, constantly breaking their laws and trying to steal their darling son away from them.

It isn’t fun coming in second place to someone who you consider to be your first priority. But it’s worth it if they’re the type of person worth stealing. Besides, if my hubby valued his parent’s opinion that much, he would have been stuck in an arranged marriage himself right now!

We Need To Talk About It!

In-laws, similarly to menstrual cycles, should never be a taboo subject. We should be able to discuss these once unmentionable topics freely and openly without fear of repercussions. I mean they can both bring us pain and suffering but by discussing our circumstances with others we may be met with recommendations that bring us the greatest success and relief when coping with these inevitable challenges that a majority of women face!

Here’s hoping for a better in-law outcome for Coco! Or is it simply a matter of a hubby that has his priorities in order…

Have you learnt anything from watching MAFS? Do you related to any of the characters? Tell us in the comments below.

  • I watched a little bit of MAFS last night and was shocked at how rude these couples are to each other.

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  • I’ve never watched MAFS or any other reality shows for that matter. I’ve seen little titbits they show in the adverts and to me they are just bad actors.

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  • Not into MAFS but totally understand this! My husband and I discussed things like this before we got married because I had seen it everywhere and was not gonna have it. It was, we will respect our marriage in front of people so that they cannot disrespect it, and, first our home (he and I) that we must look after then everyone else (parents and in-laws). Granted my in-laws tried so hard to cause problems without hubby even realizing like they do for hubby’s sister but I was not gonna have it! I would always make him aware what was happening and now for the most part his aware of what’s going on and stops it or doesn’t play into it thank God! It is a lot of hard work though but if you have your spouse on your side it doesn’t actually matter because they will always back you and you’ll be a team.

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  • The last line in this article is the most important in my opinion … ‘getting priorities right’. My husband would spend way WAY too much time with his parents at my expense, but I also admired how caring and devoted he was to them. His full attention shifted to me once his parents passed away. I didn’t want him to choose me over his parents, I wanted him to make time for each relationship. It was something I was able to do with my parents and my husband, but my husband struggled to find that balance.

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  • I must admit, I have never watched the show – it really doesn’t appeal to me ….

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  • MAFS is such a terrible show. I’ll never understand the mentality of the people involved

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  • I totally get this because at one point, I felt the exact same. It wasn’t until we moved away that things got better

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  • I haven’t learnt much from MAFS but gosh I love watching it!!

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  • I really don’t like the show.It is just a drama not practical.

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  • I never watch television and never heard of this show.
    I think the love from a parent for their child doesn’t die when the grow up, but it would be healthy when both parent and child can let go and become independent. Otherwise you could speak from a symbiotic relationship in some cases.. Nothing wrong with helping your elderly parent out though !

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  • I totally get this! I don’t watch reality TV but I get the point made. I feel the same way with my husband. We could be in the middle of a conversation and if his phone rings (whether it be his mother, father or anyone else) he will literally stop mid-sentence or interrupt me to answer the phone! I find this incredibly rude as if I was out with a friend and I did that, that would be considered rude, so why is it different with me? He also jumps any time they ask for help- and I do get that they are old and they need assistance with things, but should that assistance take priority over the tasks that need doing at our own house? For instance, we have had things like a missing bathroom floor because he needed to do the tiling (which his father was supposed to help him with or at least provide instructions for, which never happened) or things needing painting or incomplete yard projects that have been sitting for months. It drives me crazy but he just can’t seem to see that he puts everyone else before his family.

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  • Not watching this reality TV show.

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  • There can be very real issues but I think it is important not to turn one person into a villain because it isn’t always one sided.

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  • I cannot stand MAFS with a passion. I will never watch it. There was a petition going around which I signed a few years back I think but to no avail. I wish they would remove it from telly and put something better on its place.

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  • I’m watching this MAFS this season for the first time, and only because I know someone on it. However, it is the lowest form of entertainment covering abuse, disrespect, infidelity, ridicule, shame… just to name a few points. I don’t know a) why anyone would go on this show and put themselves through it; and b) why I am watching it. Other than to say, it’s to see first-hand so I can better understand the situation for the person I know. I yell at the TV every night, and constantly pause it to talk through what has happened with my hubby and son. We all agree it’s a ‘shit show’. And I know it’s heavily edited, the continuity is crap, and the producers create the drama. Is this really what we stoop to as a society? I won’t watch it again after this season, but I know people who love it. Who love the drama. Who love the people. And they’re people I know. So that frightens me for what we have in common. Now, from that rant… I have the most hideous in-laws that we are now estranged from. Their bullying, evil and vile abusive behaviour (bordering criminal) has finally given my husband and I the confidence to remove ourselves from them for the safety of our son. At 19, he now fully understands the situation and we’re all the safer, happier and better for it.

    Reply

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