Build Positive Relationships with Your In-Laws
- Sunday, November 23, 2008
When two women who love the same man are thrown together, the results aren't always pretty. Mother-in-laws can have trouble letting go of their sons. Daughter-in-laws can struggle to embrace their husbands' families. Mutual understanding and wise negotiations are required to help mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws fuse healthy relationships with each other.
Here's how you can get along with your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law:
• Choose to act in love. Don't depend on your feelings to guide your actions. Follow God's guidance instead. No matter how you feel, decide to act lovingly toward your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law. Trust that once you act in love, God will reward you and transform your heart in the process.
• Be patient with each other. Don't expect to be close right from the start. Give your relationship the time it needs to grow.
• Bless your mother-in-law. Try applying these tips to your relationship with your mother-in-law: love your husband, be teachable, be yourself and relax, love your mother-in-law and tell her you do, be patient with your husband's mother as she tries to let him go, pray for your mother-in-law (God can change her even when no one else can), don't complain about your husband to other people, keep close to your own family (you need their support), maintain your personal relationship with Christ, pay attention to your own marriage, don't compare your mother-in-law to your mother (appreciate both of them and their differences), tell your mother-in-law how much you love her son and what a good job she did raising him, work out holiday schedules well in advance, give your relationship with your mother-in-law time to grow closer, and keep your sense of humor.
• Bless your daughter-in-law. Try applying these tips to your relationship with your daughter-in-law: be positive and encouraging, pray for your son and daughter-in-law's marriage, respect your daughter-in-law's different ways of doing things, let the couple live their own lives, don't meddle, send cards and acknowledge important days, be sensitive about when to share your thoughts and when to be quiet, give advice only when requested, don't set too many expectations for your daughter-in-law to meet, give her time and space, affirm her every chance you get (compliment her abilities, taste, and character), be a Christian example of love in action to her, praise much (consider criticism poison to your relationship), don't compare your daughter-in-law to your daughter, and have a sense of humor.
• If you're a mother-in-law, lead by letting go. Realize that, biblically, it is the mother-in-law's responsibility to act first by letting go of her son and lovingly releasing him to establish his own married life and routine. Know that, by doing so, you'll be clearing the way for a healthy new relationship with him - and his wife.
• If you're a daughter-in-law, choose respect. Remember that the scriptural mandate to honor your parents extends to your in-laws as well. Show your mother-in-law respect.
• Respect the power of words. Be aware of the tremendous power words have to bring people closer together or tear them apart. Restrain yourself from criticizing your daughter-in-law. Affirm her whenever you can. Give advice only when asked, and when you are asked, keep it brief and sweet. If you're not asked for advice on something you care about, pray for God to send the couple information and inspiration from another source. Be on guard against speaking careless words. Before deciding to speak, ask yourself, "Is what I'm going to say true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?"
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