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Surviving Your In-Laws- Marriage, Unwrapped

Every year we teach marriage prep one of the biggest obstacles couples face is navigating their relationships with their in-laws. In my conversations with friends, one of the biggest challenges they talk about is their relationship with their in-laws. I so appreciate Andrea’s bravery in tackling this subject in a respectful and God honoring way. I know you will be blessed by it.

My husband and I have been through sickness of a child, death of a loved one and the continuous walk towards financial freedom. Even with those huge things to face and overcome together, one of the most challenging issues we have faced in recent years has been our own family. The family that would support us and pray us through those challenging times became the biggest stress on our own marriage.

Have you been there too?

The relationship I had with my in-laws throughout our 19-year relationship (nearly 13 years married thankyouverymuch) was not ordinary. Through hearing of my girlfriends’ relationships with their in-laws, I can say that our relationship was very unique – in a good way. To put it succinctly, my husband’s parents were treated just like my own parents, possibly even better.

This relationship came to an abrupt halt with a Facebook status reply gone wrong. I found out in a roundabout way how his parents have really felt about me for the past 11 years. To keep it brief, I was an unfit mother, wife, cook, cleaner and was accused of infidelity. Oh, and my personal relationship with Christ was challenged and rebuked.

I was numb.

I felt like I was knocked down. I couldn’t breathe. I was heartbroken. To hear these things from people that you have trusted for so many years hurt. A lot. Lucky for me, my husband stood by my side and defended the wife, mother and Christian that I was, and am today.

He was extremely close with his family, as we all were. I know this was crushing him inside, especially when the attacks started on him personally after a while (whatever those were). I wanted to fix this for all of us. As I heard these things, and continued to see the emails they sent to him, I started to feel that maybe he did need someone who was better in all of those areas.

Even though he was sticking to our vows by supporting and loving me, I started to believe what they were saying. I guess it’s normal to believe something from people you have trusted for so many years. I wasn’t the perfect wife and certainly didn’t give 100%. I spent many nights in tears thinking that his life, and my boys life, would be better with someone who was just better

I wasn’t good enough and never would be in his parent’s eyes.

As all of this was happening, we were church shopping. Just months prior, we felt the call to find a new church home so we could truly worship as a family. We even consulted with his parents on the feelings we had because we trusted their guidance. So in the middle of all of this, we were left without a church family to help us through it.

Talk about Satan beating you when you’re down as you are trying to listen to God!

Yet, we managed to get through. Thanks to our personal relationships and even the online relationships (which his parents always questioned as being real) our friends are the ones who prayed us through it. Luckily, we had a strong relationship with Christ and had a burning love for one another and our family. The only way we got through this was through the Word and lots of prayer.

As of today, we are in the process of healing. It’s as work in process. Our kids act like nothing has changed when we visit, which is good since we have tried to shelter much of this from them. We take each day, each holiday, each new family issue we are aware of and each new event as it comes. There is more to the story everyday and we just wait for God to continue to heal everyone’s hearts involved.

I asked Jill if I could share my story in her marriage series because I know many people face issues with family members (especially in-laws). I want to encourage you to seek the Word and ask friends for prayer. On the nights when I was ready to leave, thinking I was not good enough and never would be, I would open my Bible in random places and scripture would speak to me. The Holy Spirit would visit with me. God was comforting me – and my husband – through the challenging time in our relationship. Looking back, we don’t know why He chose any of it to happen, but we are thankful for it.

You can find all the Marriage, Unwrapped posts here.

Comments

  1. wow. i’m speakless. because i could have written this post word for word….except for the word “facebook”, insert “email”. wow. I am heading over to her blog now to comment. Thanks so much for this. I feel the same way. I know God is at work in this. He’s got this. I too have a huge story to tell. I would LOVE to write a post for your marriage unwrapped series. Considering we just ended 7 months of marriage counseling and we’ve never been closer to each other and God, I feel like I sort of have a thing or two to share. ;) Great post!
    xoxo, cat

  2. Wow, Andrea. What an awful, hurtful situation! I’m so thankful, on your behalf, that your husband stood up for you and that you are all working through this. I can’t imagine going through it without a family of friends and God’s guidance. What an encouraging story of how and why we should persevere in relationships with our family members (even the ones we married into)! Thank you for sharing your story.
    Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect recently posted…Groupon Deal – 3 Redbox Rentals for 1My Profile

  3. Miranda says:

    Thank you for being so transparent Andrea. What you have said will help a lot of people. I’m very fortunate to have the in-laws that I do. They are amazing and I’m constantly in awe of them. I wish everyone was as blessed as I am.
    Miranda recently posted…Today Im ThankfulMy Profile

  4. Wow! I can’t imagine how hurtful that must have been. Since my father-in-law passed away a few years ago, the relationship with my mother-in-law has been strained. It is really hard knowing that you’ve been the best you can be, and were rejected by someone you tried to love and who you wanted to love you. Sadly, my husband was also caught in the middle. He is standing by me, but I know it has hurt that the rift is there. I don’t see much I could have done to prevent it, though. And I’m sure you’ve done your best also. Anyway, just letting you know that you’re not alone!

  5. I guess I should be grateful that my MIL says things to my face. Or that I’ve always known how she actually feels. I think she likes me OK and respects some things about me, but mostly I hear about how I put too many demands on my husband, don’t cook enough, don’t clean well enough, don’t raise my kids right, etc. But I think your situation — the betrayal and pretending — seems much much worse. I’m glad you’ve found comfort and strength through faith during your trial.
    Betsy (Eco-novice) recently posted…Another One Bites the DustMy Profile

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