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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 13:48 GMT
Bride disarmed by mother-in-law

By Penny Dale
BBC Africa Live!

Abimbola Oluboyo
Abimbola Oluboyo was told to keep her mother in law at arm's length

Nigerian-born Abimbola Oluboyo went into her marriage, "prepared for the worst relationship on earth" and "ready to do battle with my mother-in-law".

Her friends and some members of her family had told Abimbola to be very careful with her husband's mother.

The relationship is best kept at arm's length, they advised. Keep your feelings to yourself, be very quiet, don't open up your feelings to her - and, most importantly, don't let her know what you earn and what you spend.

Abimbola's experience is not uncommon. Before many African women - and, indeed, men - get married, they are bombarded with stories, often terrifying, about the "dreaded" mother-in-law.

Abimbola admits that, up until only a few days before her wedding two years ago, she expected the worst when leaving family and friends and moving into her in-laws' house in Lagos.

Mankind has been beset by plagues and other atrocities over the years but none is more evil than the mother-in-law curse
John Filax, Canada

"You hardly ever hear a good story about your mother-in-law... so you get into the usual African mindset in order to protect yourself.

I prepared myself for the worst relationship on earth," Abimbola laughs.

But, far from being in the worst relationship, Abimbola found herself in what she calls the best relationship with her husband's mother.

"I have to confess that I love my parents-in-law like my own.

My mother in-law is very caring and gentle and we get along very well, contrary to my pre-marital beliefs about mothers-in-law."

"I personally feel mothers-in-law are a form of blessing to us.

I advise all brides-to-be to keep an open mind towards their mothers-in-law and treat them as they would treat their own mothers."

"And don't forget a very important point: this wonderful woman took care of their husbands before fate eventually brought them together."



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