Anne-Marie Scali: So you married your soul mate and are about to walk down the aisle toward the start of something special. Don't be alarmed if there's a tugging at your sleeve as you link arms with Mr. Wonderful and head off into the horizon.
That's not an overzealous bridesmaid biting at your heel; it's your husband's mother.
Before becoming your husband, the man of your dreams was the center of someone else's universe: his mother's. Mama's boy or not, your husband's mother had first dibs on your guy even before you were old enough to walk, let alone say "I do." Now that you're married, there are a few things she'd like you to know about the man you now call your own.
Reader's Digest recently published a list of 13 Things Your Mother-in-Law Won't Tell You, compiled by Susan Abel Lieberman, Ph.D., author of "The Mother-in-Law's Manual," and Jane Angelich, author of "What's a Mother [in-Law] to Do?" A few mother-in-laws chimed in, anonymously of course, but as expected.
We thought we'd take a stab at her, err, it, as well.
1. He'll treat you the same way he treats me. If your guy calls his mother every day, chances are he's just as likely to check in with you as often. Likewise, if a man forgets his mama's birthday, don't expect there to be frequent bouts of flowers and chocolate.
2. I'm ready for you to have children even if you're not. Although the word "grandma" might not be her cup of tea, from the moment your man left home, she's been craving the opportunity to cradle a little one. Just because she's not taking you shopping at Babies R Us doesn't mean there's not a stack of onesies waiting in the guest bedroom.
3. If you leave me alone in your house, I'm going to snoop. Oh please, as if you wouldn't do the same. Bedrooms may be off-limits, but the kitchen is fair game. Don't stock your fridge with frozen dinners unless you're prepared to be judged.
4. I care about your sex life. This has less to do with the aforementioned child-rearing and more to do with the fact that good sex usually leads to a healthy marriage. She may not want to hear all the details, but she cares about your guy's happiness just as much as you do.
5. He loves you more than me. Difficult to prove, but definitely fact, you are the center of your man's world right now. There's a very expensive rock on your finger that, in addition to the mother-in-law he just inherited, proves he's willing to move mountains on your behalf. Tread lightly on this one, as mountains tend to shift, but chances are your mother-in-law sees the way he looks at you and knows, deep down, he's gone for good.