I live with my husband and his mother. My mother in law seems to have issues with me; she picks fights and tries to manipulate my husband into treating me like dirt just the way she does. She is more than just a meddler. She seems to have strange episodes that might qualify as a mental problem such as depression. My husband always takes her side and goes crazy on me saying that his number one responsibility is to his mother. My question is what is the morally acceptable thing here? Does my mother-in law deserve more of my husband's 'respect' than I do? It seems that he thinks I should never say ill about her even when she's clearly in the wrong.

What a difficult situation! You may be dealing with a matter that involves different cultural traditions. If, for example, you and your family's background is Confusian there may be a primacy of hnor due to parentss, but if you are in Jewish or Chrisitian context then, while honor is due to parents, your primary loyalty is to the marriage partner (Genesis 2:24 institutes marriage as a matter of of a man and by implication, a woman leaving father and mother and father and "becoming one"). But setting aside cultural or religious expectiations, I think most people would understand the vow that established your marriage as promising always to love and respect each other. Sometimes this vow includes a line about "foresaking all others" which suggests the primacy and exclusively important nature of the marriage bond. In light of that, I find it difficult to believe that respect and love would lead to the kind of reproachful behavior you are describing.

It would be interesting (but probably most unwise and dangerous and messy) if you and your husband were to be in a house if only for a weekend with one of your parents in which you all acted out the kind of behavior you have been subject to!

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