The topic of relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law is as old as the world. Often, even today, due to the intervention of mothers-in-law in the relationship between a son and his wife, families are collapsing, but in South Korea, this problem has somewhat different roots.
Korean women sometimes simply refuse to get married, even without being familiar with the family of their chosen one and, in particular, with their mother. Even oral folk art reflects how unenviable the share of the daughter-in-law in the house of newly acquired relatives.
Roots of the problem
In fact, it is especially scary to marry a Korean if he is the eldest or only son in the family. According to traditions, he is obliged to stay with his parents to help and support them in adulthood. Accordingly, if he started a family, then his wife came to live in his father’s house. This tradition is still observed today. In 1974 and 2010, surveys were conducted in which several thousand unmarried Korean women took part, and the results of both were very close.
None of the girls expressed a desire to marry a young man if he was the only one in the family. More than 60% of respondents could marry their younger son, but less than 14% expressed a desire to marry their elder son. The rest of the fair sex did not answer this delicate question at all.
The daughter-in-law, who came to her husband’s house, had to obey her mother-in-law in everything. The whole seriousness of this can only be reflected by one fact: when a Korean woman’s mother dies, her mourning lasts one year, but after the death of her mother-in-law, the daughter-in-law must grieve for three whole years.
Of course, the head of the family, that is, the father-in-law was considered the main thing in the house, but he was always absent, doing business in the “outside world”, but his wife was the undivided ruler in the house in general and the female kingdom in particular.
If the son’s wife did not show due respect to her husband’s mother or was disobedient to her, then she could at one moment be on the street. The husband had the right to simply expel his wife, even with the children. Begging for forgiveness, in this case, was often very difficult.
Unfortunately, women fell into such situations not only in the past, even today, but an objectionable daughter-in-law can also easily lose her husband in an instant just because of a bad relationship with her mother-in-law.
Sphere of influence
A mother-in-law in Korea is usually called a mother, however, her relationship with her daughter-in-law is often not easy. And it is often not the latter who is to blame for this. A few decades ago, the son’s wife, getting into the house of newfound relatives, became something like a servant. At the same time, she had to do all the housework under the strict vigilant gaze of her mother-in-law.
She had to learn how to cook exactly like the mistress of the house, and she received a serious scolding for the slightest mistake. If the husband wanted to help his wife, then the daughter-in-law who exploited the poor man is still guilty. But the most terrible test is family holidays when the daughter-in-law has to prepare a huge amount of festive food for the whole large family, without making any mistakes and taking into account each guest’s preferences.
Sometimes even living separately from the husband’s parents does not save the situation. A man can go on business from the very morning and help his father, and the wife at this time, having arrived at her mother-in-law, cooks, cleans, erases and fulfils all the instructions of her husband’s mother all day. Arriving home, she must cook dinner and clean up her own house. By the way, the mother-in-law can descend with a check at any moment.
The most amazing thing is that every mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law, but after the change of status, many seem to be trying to take revenge and make the daughter-in-law feel what they themselves once felt.
Fortunately, there are still those who treat their daughters-in-law kindly, do not require servitude, but are ready to teach their son’s wife all the known wisdom. Perhaps the last thing they want is for their son’s marriage to break up due to wrong relationships within the family. After all, even famous women often initiate divorce proceedings without finding mutual understanding with their husband’s mother.