Whenever we had a disagreement with my husband, I realised my sister-in-law and mother-in-law knew about it, writes Tatiana Saina
Before I got married, I had heard many stories of couples that faced untold challenges for hosting in-laws. Some of the consequences were so severe that they broke some marriages.
During our pre-marital counselling, the need to eliminate the influence of third parties in a marriage was drummed into us. Judging from the conflicts some woman faced, I came to a conclusion that living with a sister-in-law was worse.
Since two of my sisters-in-law were already married and the younger one was already in college, I was glad I didn’t have to deal with hosting any of them.
We also agreed that we were going to live alone for at least one year, which was one of the best years.
Two years into our marriage, my husband told me his elder sister had requested us to host her daughter who was going to a tertiary college in town. I was hesitant at first, but after some consideration, especially of my image as a Christian, I accepted.
The first few months were smooth and Sharon was friendly and helpful. I was generous to her and occasionally even took her to my salon in town to do her braids.
My husband was also kind to her, always asking her whether she had fare to school and money for lunch. I didn’t mind this at first, but with time, I felt my husband was giving her more attention than me. I mentioned this to him some day, but he just brushed it off and said she was like a daughter to him and that he loved me as his wife.
Things got worse when we had conflicts. I could tell that she sensed the tension between my husband and I. What annoyed me, however, was that when we could not talk and laugh with my husband because of some unresolved conflict, he would cheerfully chat with his niece. This drove me over the edge and I could not stand it.
What is worse is that whenever we had a disagreement, I realised my sister-in-law and mother-in-law knew about it.
Sharon’s presence in our house not only strained my relationship with my husband, but it worsened my image with the rest of my in-laws. We were not talking much with Sharon and she did not receive any more favours from me.