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More entrenched than we realise


In a recent message to me, a lady recounts: “My sister-in-law and I have not really been relating and it has to do with an incident that took place early this year. She is my husband’s younger sister by the way.

“She had visited us here in Lagos from her base in Ibadan…because I invited her to our baby’s ‘church outing.’ She came on a Saturday afternoon, the day before the ceremony. She came with her five-year-old daughter.

“When they arrived, there was no cooked food in the house and the soup in the freezer (which I forgot to bring out) was really frozen. It was a hectic day for me… supervising a whole lot of other arrangements. So, when she arrived, I asked if she could help me fix dinner (of jollof rice).


“She said: ‘I don’t have the stamina, abeg,’ but she was busy opening pots in the kitchen to see which had food in it. Fortunately for me, a girlfriend arrived shortly after and it was this girlfriend of mine that eventually made dinner for us. I can’t remember if my sister-in-law served herself because I got busier with other things. My mother was also around but she was busy with the baby.

“The next morning as we prepared to go to church, my sister-in-law made no moves to join us. The only thing I did was to lock my kitchen as we left for church, because there were a lot of people in the compound and anybody could walk into my kitchen to pick what they wanted.

“When we came back from church, I heard my mother jokingly scolding my sister-in-law that she should have let her daughter come to church with us, even if she (the mother) didn’t want to.

“The next thing I learned was that she had gone back to Ibadan. She didn’t tell me. And she left even before the party began at home.


“Since then, we have not communicated with each other. And none of their relatives has asked me about the incident. I just want you to tell me where I had gone wrong in all these.

“Your advice on the way forward is welcome, too. I am 30 years old. Not yet employed. My sister-in-law is about three to four years older. Thank you.”

The least you can do for a visitor you are expecting is to ensure there is food in the house when they arrive. And with in-laws…you are even expected to go a tad further with such efforts. It is called being HOSPITABLE! A quality that every considerate person should imbibe in life.

Even if she were to help you fix dinner, would she do that on empty stomach? Did you even spare a thought for the little child she came with?


The age gap between both of two is irrelevant…you are to treat everyone the way you would love to be treated! What other efforts did you make towards their refreshments before ordering her to the kitchen?

Frankly, you have attitude!

Even when she seemed to take things hard, did you make any efforts to smoothen things over before the next day? She is your guest first and foremost, and she is there on your invitation.

Morning came and you locked your kitchen…that must have sent a wrong signal of distrust to your guest. It didn’t even occur to you that they (especially the little child) would need to have breakfast. The kitchen should not have been locked!

Did you keep gold there? Can you lock up your kitchen if it was your own sister that is in the house? Couldn’t you have asked her to keep an eye on things for you?


May God save us from “dear Mothers” who can’t tell us the raw truth. Would she be happy if any of her son’s wives treated you that way?

We will behave more conscientiously…when we learn to assume ourselves in the other pair of shoes. Frankly, I expected your mum to step in and smoothen things over a bit.

I can’t really find a single thing that you did right here…besides inviting her for the event. What was even the need of inviting her over when it was herculean to host her properly?

Even when your friend eventually fixed dinner, you couldn’t care less if YOUR GUEST or the little child with her had something to eat.

Women really should begin to let go of whatever it is we have against in-laws. It is so entrenched that every little misunderstanding brings it to the fore and then, we gleefully mishandle things.

If you can get over yourself and NOT still wondering what you did wrong…please pick the phone and tender an unreserved apology to that lady!


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