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.