FAQ #3: Help! I’m About to Throat-Punch my FMIL!

I saw this one online and thought I had to address it! It’s something every bride goes through, whether they admit it or not.

“HELP! I’m about to throat-punch my FMIL!”

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how nice you are to someone, you can’t ever please them. I see this type of conflict all the time and it’s usually the mothers that start the trouble.

The mother of the groom has to let go her reign of being the head female persona. Bigger than life in a lot of families, the mom is the decision maker, the glue, the problem solver, and the disciplinarian. This isn’t every mom of the groom, just all the ones I’ve personally seen, it has been the groom’s mother who creates conflict. No one is ever good enough for her precious little man.

Mothers of the bride can be just as overbearing. They can be living vicariously through their daughters, trying to get the wedding of their dreams, the man of their dreams, the career of their dreams. Some moms also feel like their children’s success if their success and will own it as such.

Moms are brilliantly strong and being a mom is a job not all women are cut out to do. I know how hard it can be, I have 3 girls. But we are not talking about how hard her job was, we are talking about guaranteeing your wedding day is your perfect wedding day. Not your mom’s.

We are going to assume it is a power struggle that’s causing the conflicts and get right into solutions. However, if your FMIL doesn’t like you because you cheated on her big baby boy, then that’s going to need a whole other set of solutions.

Options to Help with Combative Family

You need to know that, no matter what your opinion, once you get married, your FMIL is going to be your MIL and officially family. If that’s not something you can cope with, get out now. If you can, let’s go over some options to help make your day conflict-free.

  1. Give them a Job. But not just a ‘busy work’ job, something that’s going to make them feel proud to take care of or to present. Quick note: NO ONE wants to work the ‘guest book.’ Ask them to assist with this job politely and genuinely. Give them the guidelines that you have for the project and then let them run with it. Micromanaging this assigned job is NO WAY to help smooth things over. It’s a demonstration of mistrust and that the person is a child who can’t be left alone for the evening. An example of a small job would be like setting up the favors, making sure the tables are set correctly, or putting them in charge of welcoming guests at the reception. 
  2. Let them host a gathering. I’m sure your BFF can’t wait to plan all the fun things that you are going to be doing, but give one to the person who is making your life hell. Maybe not the bachelorette party, but the engagement party could be something for that person to do. Or maybe they can host the rehearsal dinner on your behalf. But the same ideal applies to this gathering: If you assign them to do it, let them do it. 
  3. Make them feel important. The root of most of these conflicts aren’t really about you as a person. It’s more about the mom feeling insignificant or pushed aside. Appreciating what she does is a game changer. It’s important that she’s truly listened to and her opinion seriously heard, even if you don’t go with her suggestions. 

If your troubled person is verbally abusive, underhanded, uncooperative, or otherwise completely insufferable, you don’t have to take that shit from anyone. But if it’s just a woman who loves her son, try these ways to ease that issue.

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