It is true as they say that the mother-in-law gets a new daughter and the daughter-in-law, a new mother. But they actually do not consider that really or else there would not be any cases of bride burning in India nor would there be old women dying a lonely death abandoned by their children.
When a man and a woman marry, they enter their new life together with so many dreams and ideals. When it is a joint family the woman has to adjust not only to her husband but also to her mother-in-law who is often depicted as a dragon personified in TV serials and novels. The media also sometimes plays a role in exaggerating this delicate relationship. So, she enters her new life with much apprehension and she sees even an ordinary remark by her mother-in-law in a new dimension.
Even hearing her mother-in-law`s footsteps might make her so nervous that she may spill food or break any crockery. This might create a general impression in the mother-in-law`s mind that her daughter-in-law is careless and destructive. Thus sowing the first seed of discontentment between them. Even in this modern day and age dowry is being demanded in India and in certain places in Northern India prices are fixed for an engineer, doctor, a lawyer and so on. In such cases the new bride may feel indignant at her father being squeezed by the mother-in-law and may enter her new home with bitterness in her heart.
Another reason, which may irk the daughter-in-law, is the possessiveness that the mother-in-law may have about her son (her husband). Often when the son gets married the mother tends to feel very insecure and fears he might no longer need her. And when the mother-in-law is a widow this problem is more intensified. In such cases, the mother feels that now she is at a loose end. She starts feeling that now her son will no longer need her.
When she sees her son calling out to his wife to fulfill his every need, it only raises her hackles up against her young daughter-in-law. The mother-in-law might start feigning headaches and palpitations every time the young couple goes out leaving her alone at home. In such cases the mother starts demanding attention from her son and the wife in turn starts pestering her husband for a separate establishment away from the mother.
Apart from the reasons cited above there might also be the case of mothers-in-law hating their daughters-in-law for want of dowry or for no reason at all, even abusing and turning violent on them. In some cases a daughter-in-law might be harassed for her barrenness too.
But, sometimes the daughters-in-law are also to be blamed. Often when she has come from a very affluent family she may despise her husband`s middle class family and their frugal habits, thus terrifying her simple mother-in-law. She might not deem them equal to her status and never fail to insult her in public.
Then there is the studious daughter-in-law who is so highly educated that she might turn her nose up at her illiterate relations. She might never miss a chance to expound about the high standard of living she is used to in her parents` house. If she is working and is in a high position she might even want her mother-in-law to dance to her tunes.
So, since this is an age-old problem, one might ask what is the solution to this mother-in-law daughter-in-law clash? Well, the solution lies within both. The mother-in-law should accept her daughter-in-law as part of the family and take her to be another daughter who has in fact left everything behind to care and love for the man who is the object of her affection too.
After a few years when she grows too old to single-handedly manage the house it is going to be her daughter-in-law who is going to look after her and the house. So she should take all pains at training her. A mother always forgives and forgets her daughter`s fault and in the same way there should be no animosity against her son`s bride too.
Love begets love and if she shows no jealousy or possessiveness for her son the other woman will gradually learn to love her. The daughter-in-law on her part should always feel that she has gained a mother by her marriage and as you know a daughter loves her mother at all times, in spite of all her faults.
But it is essential that once in a while they agree to disagree for where is the spice in life if they do not express their individual opinions? And just as we feel overjoyed to see the sun after a heavy downpour, agreements and small disagreements will help them to understand each other. Being able to express their feelings and opinions to each other will make all the difference in their relationship, helping to cement it to a long lasting and loving one.
After a period of time it might even reach a stage that they get so used to each other that they cannot live without each other. Surprisingly, there are even some homes where the mother-in-law and the daughter -in-law make a loving pair teaming up against the son and chastising him when he is in the wrong, and taking each other`s side when he is angry or irritated at one of them.
And the most wonderful fact is that many a time when the daughter-in-law leaves her husband`s home to attend some function in her parents` home, the mother-in-law starts missing her and pining for her return. But now that is another story all together!