I thought Andrea did an amazing job with her guest post last week about her relationship with her in-laws. It seems as though, more often than not, most women that I talk to really struggle with their in-laws. And let’s be frank. It usually is a difficult mother-in-law relationship. Collectively readers across the country are groaning as you think about your own in-law relationship.
Now if you are blessed with an awesome relationship with your mother-in-law, you are truly truly blessed. I hope you know that and don’t take that for granted. If you do take it for granted you needed to stop right now and go call that dear woman and tell her how wonderful it is to have her in your life. Seriously, go do it. We’ll wait.
For the rest of you, may I share a very personal journey that God has been taking me on the past year? Well I am going to share and you can decide whether your heart needs to hear the same things he has been telling me.
I married an only child. The only boy of a mom who raised him by herself. His dad was very involved, but they divorced when he was very young and so for nearly all of his life at home, he was the man of the house. Until this sassy, cute young thing (i.e.. me) came and swept him off his feet. Hmmm……do you see the problem.
Now to be fair, my husband’s family has lovingly brought me into their fold with open arms. They have always been kind and accepting of me. And they have frequently expressed how happy they are that I married their son. This is so wonderful because I unfortunately know women whose husband’s families have made it clear they are not thrilled with their son’s selection in wives.
That all being said though,the in-law relationship can be hard. They are hard because they just aren’t your family. They do things differently. The communicate differently. And they just don’t do things the way you do things. Your husband doesn’t either, but you have figured out ways to work with that because you stood up and said, “for better for worse” and so you have learned to “tolerate” those things.
I think when you stand up and take your vows there should be a part where the families stand up and agree to take each other for better or worse as well. Because although when you get married you are definitely starting a new, completely separate family of your own, you are also taking on each other’s families……for better or worse.
And I have learned is that one of the best ways I can love and respect my husband is to love and respect his family. You know the things that drive you bonkers about your own family that you complain about to your spouse? Have you ever noticed how defensive and angry you get when he complains about the same thing? Nobody likes to hear their family disparaged. Even if your family is full of a bunch of nut jobs. (not our family mom- we are all perfect….ahem)
So this past year I have been trying to do a better job at loving my in-laws. Reaching out more, communicating better, offering far more grace and over looking misunderstandings. Trying to realize that things done differently aren’t personal affronts but simply things done differently. And most importantly not sticking my poor hubby in the middle of every misunderstanding that occurs.
And miracle of miracles, a little more effort on my part is changing relationships for the better. You know those ways Jesus tells us to act really do work. It is a shame it takes me so long to figure that out sometime. And if you, like Andrea, have a more difficult, even toxic set of in-laws, I think we can still honor our husbands and our God by doing less complaining and more Christ-like loving. Whew, it’s a tough one, but I honestly believe one that God will radically change our hearts through if we simply let him.