I got divorced 3 years after my mother-in-law threatened to ruin our marriage

By Hai Duong   June 26, 2024 | 06:39 pm PT
Three years after my mother-in-law vowed to ruin our marriage unless I apologized to her for comments I made against her, my husband and I mutually decided to divorce due to his violence against me.

I am 29 years old, and my husband is 30. We both hail from the same hometown and currently reside in Binh Duong province in the Southeastern region.

I am a straightforward woman who speaks her mind, a trait which led my mother-in-law to hold grudges over comments I made against her. Shortly after we married, she began causing disturbances by yelling in my face, breaking dishes, and declaring her intent to ruin our marriage as previously mentioned.

Once when I visited her, I suggested she need not prepare breakfast early for me, intending to ease her burden, but she took it as a criticism of her sanity. Another time when I expressed admiration for her financial independence from her pension, she interpreted it as a suggestion that my husband should not give her money. So, instead of feeling proud, she compared my salary with my neighbor’s and unfavorably compared my traits to those of my husband’s elder brother’s wife.

She also held me responsible for all of my husband’s bad habits, despite my managing all household chores—from cooking and cleaning to shopping—while also working overtime.

Not only did my mother-in-law criticize me, but her younger sister also spoke ill of me, spurred on by my husband’s lack of support for me. They also frequently brought up my parents’ divorce, humiliating both me and my elder sister.

Despite this, my mother-in-law often insisted I buy expensive gifts for her sisters, such as VND10 million ($392) worth of South Korean ginseng, although she never reciprocated the gesture. When my husband and I suggested that she engage in outdoor leisure activities, she accused us of attempting to oust her from her house.

The breaking point in my decision to distance myself from my mother-in-law and her relatives came when her younger sister visited us. Though I returned home early and arranged for my husband to take time off to prepare dinner and host her, my mother-in-law reprimanded me, claiming her sister felt my husband was disrespectful to her and her sister. When I addressed her sister’s derogatory comments about my family, my mother-in-law turned the accusation back on me, claiming I verbally abused her sister.

When I called my sister to clarify matters with my mother-in-law, she didn’t respond and even called the militia to arrest my sister, who had done nothing wrong.

Adding to my burdens, my husband began physically assaulting me, once attacking me over a minor argument. I believe every spouse may nag at times, unless they are uncaring or that their partner is flawless. No one deserves to be subjected to violence merely for nagging.

My husband promised to only visit his mother again once he had built a house larger than hers. Despite my advice to drop his idea, he ignored it, so I worked hard to buy land and build a house to ensure he would visit her. I feared he would regret not visiting if I did not intervene, and he would face criticism.

Yet, when my mother-in-law’s students and relatives criticized my husband for not visiting her, he blamed me and became violent. I believe these relatives influenced him, fulfilling my mother-in-law’s wish to undermine our marriage because I didn’t comply with her demands, despite all I had done for her and her family, including selling nearly a tael of gold from my family to cover expenses when my father-in-law was hospitalized and neglected.

I regret that my sacrifices and care over the years have gone unrecognized. I do not desire my in-laws’ assets, as I earn significantly more than them.

All I wish for, like anyone else, is a happy life. I hope that as parents and in-laws, you can show forgiveness and love towards your children, treating children-in-law as your own rather than as outsiders or servants, and avoid imposing responsibilities that breed conflict between spouses.

Is my viewpoint justified?

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