In the midst of our wedding excitement with all the plans, the details, the joy, the anticipation, it is almost easy to forget that the wedding is actually just the beginning! It is the beginning of two lives being united, families being enlarged and intertwined, a new home, new routine and a new life for the children and the parents.
Our family of all boys is thrilled to be adding a girl to it!! Which means...I will be a mother in law! The very word tends to usually bring reactions from people. We've all heard horror stories about 'the mother in law".
Unfortunately, many mothers-in-law have earned the reputation, read these two examples!!!
Consider the story of a bride who wanted to please her new husband. He often mentioned how much he loved his mother’s chocolate chip cookies, so his wife asked her mother-in-law to share the recipe. Instead of recognizing the request as a sincere compliment, the mother-in-law coldly responded, “That’s my recipe, and I bake those cookies for my son. Why would I give the recipe to you? Of course you can’t have it.”
Another young wife opened the door one morning to discover her mother-in-law standing there armed with a mop and a bucket filled with cleaning supplies. “I’m glad you’re home. I've come to show you the proper way to clean a bathroom.”
Thankfully, the family I married into welcomed me and made me a special part of their lives. The mother in law God blessed me with is the best!! I want to carry that tradition on!! I began praying early for my sons future brides. I prayed for their parents and asked God to give them wisdom as they raised the young women who would someday become part of our family. God has truly answered our prayers!
I searched for advice from those who had good, loving relationships with their daughters-in-law. Here’s a few tips I found that will help me and others who have that desire for a great mother in law relationship.:
- Make an effort to help your daughter-in-law feel welcome in your family. She is not an outsider; don’t treat her like one. Include her in conversations, activities and family photographs.
- Don’t force your son to choose between the two of you and don’t put him in the role of playing peacemaker. Realize that you and your daughter-in-law are not competitors; you are allies. Your son has enough love for both of you.
- Notice your daughter-in-law’s good qualities and then sincerely compliment her. Is she thoughtful and kind? Is she an exceptional housekeeper or a good money manager? Is she an accomplished cook or a talented decorator? She will appreciate knowing you recognize her virtues and talents.
- Think before you act or speak. Remember what it was like to be a young bride.
- Pray for your daughter-in-law every day. Tell her you are praying for her, and ask if she has any special requests. Better yet, pray together if the opportunity arises. Perhaps your daughter-in-law is not who you would have picked for your son; pray that God will help you to love her.
- Remember her birthday and celebrate her achievements.
- Don’t speak negatively about your daughter-in-law to others. Be her biggest cheerleader.
- Does your daughter-in-law make your son happy? Then send her a card or letter expressing how much you appreciate her love for your son.
- Don’t give advice unless it is requested. You’ll be surprised how well the young couple will manage without your help. They know where you are if they do want advice.
- Don’t interfere in their lives, and don’t take sides.
- Be available, but don’t be constantly underfoot. Give them space to live their own lives and build their own traditions.
- Take your daughter-in-law to lunch or go shopping together. Spend an evening experimenting with new recipes. Find a mutual hobby or volunteer together. Make an effort to bond with the “daughter-in-love” God has placed in your life.
I hope my daughter-in-law never consider me a nightmare. I genuinely want to be a good mother-in-law to the one God has placed in my life. But, this is a new journey for our family and I'm believing these tips and a heart centered on loving as the Lord loves us will bring about a beautiful relationship that will flourish and grow for many years.