You can create and maintain a healthy relationship with your mother-in-law through proper communication.
I remember picking up a joke book as a twelve-year-old girl and finding an entire section on mothers-in-law. The in-law relationship between daughters and moms is presented as one of conflict and impossibility. At twelve, I couldn’t know what my future relationships would look like, but I knew I didn’t want what the joke book described!
10 things I’d want my mother-in-law to know:
1. I love and respect your son.
I married your son because I loved him. But I also made a vow to respect him. No matter what, I’m committed to loving and respecting your son, and God holds me accountable to that.
2. I believe in a better future for everyone.
Not all of us come to marriage with the equipment for a great relationship (I’d wager most of us don’t!). No matter what happened in your family and no matter what happened in mine, I believe there is a better future in store for all of us. I’m committed to keeping Christ first in my marriage so that everyone is blessed by His presence.
3. Your son can only be husband to one woman.
I am so grateful you raised my husband. But he’s your son… not your spouse. He can’t be your emotional support or the person to “fix” your own marriage.
4. My intentions are peaceful.
I want peace between us, no matter what! And though some conflict might arise along the way, conflict is good when it leads to resolution. I am not afraid of conflict if it brings us closer and helps us understand one another better.
5. I want your grandchildren to have a great relationship with you.
My children share your blood, and I want them to have a good relationship with you. I will do my best to facilitate that on my end, and I appreciate your efforts in that area too.
6. I believe in honest communication.
I promise never to participate in passive aggression. I believe in honest communication, in telling you the truth instead of expecting you to guess it. I hope you will do the same.
7. I am thankful for how you remember birthdays and holidays.
Your thoughtfulness around these days reminds me of how grateful I am you raised my husband.
8. It helps me when you give us space to become a family.
When I married your son, he had to “leave and cleave” to me; he started his own family. We need space and time to develop that relationship. I know this will be a hard transition for both of us, but I want to work through it with you. When you give me space to create this new family dynamic, you don’t need to be afraid of losing me. That space creates a place for love to grow.
9. I won’t compare, and I hope you won’t either.
I want to create something new with you, and that means I can’t compare to the past. Comparison is a thief; a thief of joy, happiness, peace, and goodwill. Let’s accept one another for who we are and reject insecurity at every opportunity.
10. I pray for you.
Inviting God into any situation is the game changer. I don’t want a joke-book relationship with you – so I pray against that! I pray for His presence and guidance in our relationship, and for an even deeper appreciation of what it cost you to raise a man as wonderful as mine.
Looking for more resources on loving your in-laws?
This week's post at Kindred Grace:
When Queens Collide: How to Become a More Gracious Mother-in-Law
Phylicia Masonheimer is an author, speaker, and founder of Driven Women. She teaches strong-hearted women how to follow Christ’s call in work, home, and the world. She writes about the Bible, productivity, and sexuality on her website, and her book on biblical sex can be found here: Christian Cosmo: The Sex Talk You Never Had. She lives with her husband and daughters in northern Michigan.