Ninety-nine percent of the time being in a bi-cultural marriage (Fancy! I didn't know that's what I was in until Marvelous Mom's church ladies asked me to come and speak to their group on the subject!) is a total non-issue for Husband and I. He was 16 when he jumped into a pool without checking for water first and moved to the states with only the clothes on his back so he has assimilated (BORG!) into American culture seamlessly.
We only fight about normal things like the fact that he never listens to anything I say so I have to tell him things forty-eleven times before they sink into his thick skull and the fact that he still hasn't re-caulked the fucking BATHTUB even though it started to mold WEEKS ago!!!
Sorry - got a little worked up there...
My point is that the fact that he was born and raised in Iran and I was born and raised in the US has never been an issue for us.
Except when his mother visits.
Intellectually I know that Iran is a rabidly patriarchal society (unlike the U.S. which is only common cold-ly patriarchal) and that Motherinlaw is a product of seventy some odd years of that culture. However, knowing that does absolutely NOTHING to offset the unbelievable frustration with her behavior, most of which is the product of her culture. The rest of it is age related. I know because Grandmother acts the exact same way. It's uncanny sometimes.
When a woman lives in a rabidly patriarchal society, she learns to get her way by being passive-aggressive, manipulative and emotional. At least that is what Motherinlaw does to get her way. I think my deduction that it is a result of her cultural heritage is pretty spot on because when first your father, then your husband and then your oldest son can do whatever they deem best for your life regardless of your own wishes and desires then you HAVE to be a sneaky bitch.
This is not to say that Motherinlaw's husband was a tyrant - he peeled her tomatoes for her for fucks sake, or that her oldest son who just happens to be Husband's brother is not trying to do what she wants, she is just physically and mentally incapable of being straight with him. She tells him she is just fine staying here another two months - because that's what she thinks he wants to hear - and then when he is not around she makes my poor sisterinlaw's life a living hell. (Lucky for me it is their turn to have her staying at their house, I got the first tour of duty this year.)
She really isn't a nasty person, or even bitchy, this is just how she deals with unexpected circumstances that have postponed her planned return to Iran. I totally understand that she wants to go home but I also am frustrated that she won't be straight with her sons about what she wants and flat out refuses to make the last leg of the trip - from Europe to Tehran - by herself because she is afraid of getting lost in the airport in Tehran. The city she lives in. Surrounded by people who speak the same language she does. With signs posted in the same language she reads. It's calculated helplessness and it's driving me around the fucking bend!!!
The end result of all these shenanigans is that Husband will be taking her back to Iran on July 31st and returning on August 9th. It is safer for him to take her because he is not a U.S. citizen like his brother, but given the precarious political situation there right now I'm still very nervous about him making the trip. Not to mention that he wasn't originally going to be the one to take her home so he has to rearrange his entire life to do so.
I am trying very hard to keep my BIG FAT MOUTH shut about everything and not lash out at husband because I'm frustrated with his mom. I *know* it's cultural, I *know* she's an old lady and isn't going to change anytime soon and I *know* I don't understand but it's still driving me bonkers! So y'all get to read my rant instead. Lucky you!
But if husband gets thrown in an Iranian jail I will show Motherinlaw what a strong, straight-talking, direct woman looks like! ;)