The mother-in-law's insult

A young girl had been recently married. She was always afraid of staying alone. She wanted to be with her husband, but she could not accompany him to his office. So whenever her husband was at home, she was always nearby him, feeding him and so forth. She was absolutely so fond of her husband and he, in turn, was very, very happy that his wife was so fond of him.

One evening, the husband returned home and saw that his wife was crying and sobbing. He asked, “What has happened? What has happened?”

His wife said, “Your mother has insulted me so badly.”

He said, “My mother? How can it be? My mother is not here. She lives hundreds of miles away. How can she insult you? Did she call you on the telephone?”

The wife said, “No.”

He asked, “Did you call her for anything?”

The wife said, “No, I would not dare to call her.”

“Did she call you?” the husband asked again.

The wife said, “No, she did not call.”

Now the husband was really puzzled. He asked, “Then how could she insult you so badly?”

The wife said, “A letter came for you from your mother, so I opened it.”

The husband was shocked. He said, “You opened my letter?”

She said, “I am your wife. We two are one. So I am entitled to open your mail.”

He said, “This is true. Now tell me, what has my mother written?”

The wife said, “Your mother has written how much she loves you, and how much she is missing you.”

“Then where does the insult lie?” asked the husband.

The wife said, “In a postscript she says, ‘Dear Linda, please do me a big favour and give this letter to my darling son Patrick’. What an insult! What an insult! Throughout the whole letter she has repeated how much she loves you, and she has not mentioned my name at all. Then at the very end, she had to add this postscript. Can you imagine! She knew that I would read the letter before you. As if I would not have given you the letter! Your mother does not trust me in the least. How can I live with you when my mother-in-law does not trust me at all?”

The poor husband said, “What am I going to do? I am not responsible for what my mother says.”

The wife continued, “In her letter she has said again and again, ‘Dear Patrick, darling, you are so good. Nowadays you have no time to think of me, but before you got married you were always thinking about me. Now you are all the time thinking of your wife. You never think of me.’ She used the word ‘darling’ over and over. Your mother calls you darling. I lost my mother at a tender age. My mother is not here to call me darling.” With that, she burst into a fresh flood of tears.

He said, “But I call you darling, I call you darling.”

She said, “You call me darling, but your mother calls you darling, and my mother is not here to give me that kind of affection.”

The husband said, “What can I do? Your mother has passed away. How can I bring your mother back here? If you want a mother’s affection, then you have to start pleasing my mother.”

The wife said, “I do so much for your mother whenever she comes here. I try to please her, but she has never liked me, and she says she will never invite me to come to her place.”

The husband said, “Who cares? If she does not invite you, then I am not going to her place.”

Then his wife became so happy that her husband would not go to his mother’s place if his mother did not invite her as well. She was very, very happy with her husband’s loyalty to her.

In silence the unfortunate husband said, “Alas, alas! O God, why did You create both mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law on earth? Could You find nothing better to do with Your precious time?”

From:Sri Chinmoy,Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles, part 4, Agni Press, 2001
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