Who hasn’t heard of the world-renowned Moroccan culture? The Moroccan hospitality, the one, and only Moroccan sensational, mind-blowing mint tea, the exceptionally scrumptious tajine, the majestically elegant couscous, the Moroccan distinct and splendid architecture, the extravagant ancient monuments, the glorious Moroccan wedding ceremonies with flamboyant and sumptuous Moroccan traditional clothes, the worldly acknowledged Moroccan tolerance are all universally distinguished constituents of this miscellaneous very deep-rooted culture that make up the Moroccan identity and embody aspects of its existence.
Moroccan people feel great pride in their culture and adhere and cling to its traditions and are sluggishly reluctant to relinquish them, even when some of the customs no longer fit or become obsolete, or even when they bring about more trouble than good.
The Moroccan culture comprises some practices that Moroccans themselves reckon ought to be set aside. Here are a few Moroccan habits that engender considerable harm.
Promoting toxic in-law relationships:
Very saddening are some stories we hear about the disputes that occur between family members of Moroccan couples. It needs to be clearly pointed out and unquestionably emphasized here that cultural doctrines play a central role in promoting and fueling enmity among in-law relationships, for it is cultural norms and expectations that dictate how a person should behave in specific situations, especially marital relationships in which each member is allotted a role to play and it is those expectations, when not met, that trigger stern reproach and very profound grudges.
The mother and father-in-law are expected to act and talk in a certain way, and so are the sisters and brothers-in-law, the husband, the wife, and so on. Every little detail is counted. Every little word, utterance, facial expression, gesture, and behavior matter, even silence matters. The risk of possible misunderstandings, misconducts, and clashes gets higher in a culture where the number of family visits, reunions, and continuous interactions heightens. The more contact the higher the risk.
The reality is not always as critical as it seems to be, though. There, actually, is a vast floor for very diplomatic, very peaceful, very civilized, and even very nice and happy family-in-law relationships. The credit of which goes to very smart, tolerant and patient, well-mannered, and loveable family members, people who master the art of socializing, who know what to do and what to say (and what not to), when and how.
However, certain mere misunderstandings, or malicious and egocentric beliefs and behaviors from a wicked, undiplomatic, uncivilized family member, husband, or wife are able to end the peace and harmony inside in-law family relations, and sometimes forever.
The Moroccan culture is filled with illustrations of such wicked behaviors. The mother-in-law, for instance – and I stress: for instance – is notoriously (though many times mistakenly) portrayed and conceived in both the Moroccan man and woman’s mind as a mean nosy woman who often dislikes, always grumbles about, and sometimes even loathes her son’s or daughter’s spouse and who would incite her married children to be tough and most important of all to be cautious, especially with their family-in-law.
In fact, a pretty high number of mothers and sisters-in-law (very rarely fathers or brothers) do consciously or unconsciously personify this portrayed character. Their presumable mission – according to real stories in the culture – is to ensure that their married daughter or son, brother or sister is – rather than happy in marriage – winning in the marriage “battle”, enquiring about their life details, their choices, their decisions, misunderstandings and quarrels, their trips, family visits, their family-in-law, the money they spend; in short, about everything, and disseminating that information to other members in the family through gossip, giving themselves the right to make comments, judgments, take positions, and interfere sometimes.
It is very common in the Moroccan culture to find a mother who would want her daughter’s husband to be a tender, open-handed, considerate, helpful, flexible, loving man while she would not want her son to be so with his wife. She would rather be glad to see him playing the role of the “MAN,” to have his voice heard, to be respected, served, and definitely not open-handed, or very tender. She would want for her daughter-in-law the very opposite of what she would wish for her own daughter!! And in her endeavor to accomplish this goal, she – with the alleged assistance of her other daughters – would not slip any imaginable piece of advice, tip, or remark to guarantee a “victory” for her beloved married son or daughter.
On the other hand, it is not hard to find wives embodying a traditional negative perception of the wife, that of a woman who would take the son away from his family (especially his mom and sisters), who would strive to detach him from his family bonds, and impel him to focus on her only, and his kids. This wife, in the Moroccan mind, is the one who would seek to make her husband restrict the number of family visits he pays for his family and would protest against the “numerous” visits his family members make, if not prevent them, grouch about his mom or sister’s interference. She would grudgingly and hardly bear her husband financially supporting one of his relatives. At the same time, though, she would very gladly maintain excellent, and close relations with her family through all the possible means thought of, not forgetting, of course, to play her traditional role of the sister-in-law (mentioned above) vis-à-vis her married brothers and sisters, drawing an extremely contradictory image, added to that drawn by the mother-in-law as well.
Countless also are the stories of Moroccan husbands exemplifying some of the worst attributes that could be found in men. A significant number of cracked family-in-law relationships emanate from the misconducts of a certain kind of husbands that mistreat their wives.
It is not surprising in Morocco to hear about husbands belittling women, battering them, abusing them, cheating on them, being irresponsible, disrespecting their wives’ family members, neglecting their obligations (especially financial ones), or being addicted to alcohol or drugs and subjecting their wives and children to the effects of their addiction. There are also numerous cases of husbands taking their wives’ money, and many other appalling practices that fuel predictable tension, disrespect, and hatred between such husbands and their in-laws.
Many are the instances of toxic in-law relationships and if we dig deep enough in the Moroccan culture and listen to the stories circulating, we wind up concluding that the enmity and toxicity, and misunderstanding usually stem from a number of cultural practices, expectations, and lack values.
It is what a wife culturally expects from her mother and sisters-in-law, what a mother culturally expects from her daughter or son-in-law, and so on and it is the values that these people have (or don’t have) along with the frequency of interaction between them that either promote a healthy happy relationship or a toxic and tense one. It is also couples that manage to draw red impenetrable lines around their private intimate life that often relish a peaceful and happy marital life.
Ironically, family members targeting a possible “victory” for their son, daughter, brother, or sister often cause them to live in hell, with a myriad of disputes and quarrels, sometimes violent brawls, ending up with divorce, unfortunately, in many cases. It is no surprise that the Moroccan courts are full of such cases.