Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

10 Things Your Daughter-in-Law Wants You to Know

woman on couch talking to mom or mother in law

Joining two families together can come with some growing pains. Every family has a distinct culture and way of doing things that are unique. When you come together in marriage everyone has to adjust and learn each other’s differences. Stereotypically the daughter and mother-in-law relationship can be a more challenging one to navigate. Sometimes it can feel like our differences are too great to overcome but that is not true. With some extra effort, love, and grace the daughter and mother-in-law relationship can grow into a beautiful thing.

Here are a few things that daughters-in-law want to share with their in-laws. Most of all they want you to know that they love and appreciate you! They are so thankful for the work you put into raising the one they now love, and they want to love their spouse and their family well.

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1. We are on the same team.

When entering a new family dynamic sometimes intentions can be misunderstood. We can misinterpret each other's actions and begin to feel like we are working against one another rather than working towards the same goal, which is the success of our loved ones. Your daughter-in-law wants you to know that she is on the same team, wanting only good things for your children and grandchildren. Just because she grew up doing things differently or may choose a different path than you would expect does not mean she is trying to work against you.

2. We fiercely love your children and grandchildren.

We want you to know that we are doing all we can to love your children and grandchildren well. We are looking out for their best interest. We are fighting alongside them when they face struggles. We are giving all we have to help them succeed in their work, studies, friendships, health, and more. Sometimes our efforts can feel overlooked or undervalued but even so, we keep at this good work. Even when we feel unseen, we don’t stop because we love them so much. Please remember that even when we do things differently or even when we make mistakes, we are doing our best to love our families well.

3. We want to be a part of the family.

At some point over your marriage, you may cross a threshold in which you have been married and an official part of your spouse’s family longer than you were single. I don’t think you should have to wait till you reach that many years of marriage to fully feel like you are a part of your spouse's family. The beauty of marriage is that it enlarges your family unit!

You now have 2 sets of parents, cousins, siblings, nieces, and nephews. The matriarch of the family has so much say on whether or not you are fully allowed in the family club or if you are to spend the rest of your married adult life feeling like an outsider when attending events with your spouse's side of the family. Embrace us fully so we can feel seen, counted, loved, and fully present when we all get together to celebrate the big and little moments of life together.

daughter in law happy with mother in law and husband

4. We want to hear all those silly stories about our spouse’s childhood.

Our partner may hate hearing all the silly stories about the mayhem they caused when they were growing up, but we love hearing these stories! We want to hear about how picky they were as a toddler or how they snuck around as a preteen. We want to hear all the dirt!

We aren't’ just interested in these stories so we can tease our spouse but also because we want to know all we can about who they are. These stories give us insight into their growing up years that we may never get without you sharing these tales.

We also want to know what we may be getting into with our own kids who now share our partner’s DNA. There is a chance that my picky eater may have come from a long line of picky eaters and somehow this information is comforting to me as a parent.

5. We want you to love our kids well.

One of the things we care about most is our children and your involvement in their life matters so much! When you take the time to give them gifts, babysit them, ask about how they are doing, or sit to play a game with them our heart swells. Grandparents are such gifts and having you in their life means so much to us. Don’t shy away from taking an active role in loving our kids. They need you and all the wisdom you have to share with them.

We may not always want to ask for your help with babysitting because we don’t want to burden you with requests so please take the initiative and ask if you could take the kids. We need all the help we can get as parents and truly appreciate the extra hands when in the weeds of motherhood. You have so much to add to our kid’s lives, so don’t shy away from being a strong influence in their lives.

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6. We want to be included when you are making family plans.

Every year families have to decide how they are going to celebrate holidays together, plan vacations together, go on outings together, and sometimes we have to make large decisions about how to take care of each other as we age or when life suddenly changes. We want to be a part of these conversations for your family. We care deeply about the well-being of our extended family and desire to have a seat at the table when decisions both big and small are being discussed and made.

7. We want to build a strong relationship with you.

The mother-in-law comments are so common in our culture – probably because building a strong relationship with your mother-in-law can be challenging. Our differences can get in the way of growing close over the years. The truth is your daughter-in-law really does want to build a strong and meaningful relationship with you. She wants to hear your thoughts about life and plans for the future and wants to feel safe to communicate openly with you.

Take a chance and open the door to growing a more intimate connection with your daughter-in-law. Invest time into getting to know her and allowing her to better understand you. Keeping a strongly connected family takes effort and fostering a strong connection with your daughter-in-law is really important to make sure you keep closely connected to your family.

8. Please share your opinion just once.

We want to hear from you! We love to know what you are thinking and feeling when it comes to our life choices but please don’t keep repeating your take on an issue over and over. We promise we have heard you the first time and are taking it into consideration. While we love hearing what you have to say it does not always mean we are able to follow your advice.

When advice is repeated multiple times without an invitation our relationship starts feeling awkward. We may feel bad that we are unable to do what you want us to do. We also may feel like we have disappointed you or that because we took a different path, we no longer have your support. Each of us has to find our own paths forward and it is important to our relationships that we respect one another’s decisions.

mother in law and daughter in law walking outside on hike

9. When it comes to gifts, we often appreciate you fulfilling a need or providing experiences over things.

One of the greatest gifts my in-laws have gifted my family is the opportunity to join them on family vacations. For most of our marriage, we have had just enough to make ends meet and never enough to pay for our own vacations. We have been so blessed to be invited to tag along when my in-laws rented beach or mountain lodges. Our kids most favorite memories have taken place on these amazing trips! Not to mention the concentrated family time with their grandparents and cousins is priceless.

Most of us have more “things” in our homes than we know what do with! We are drowning in toys, gadgets, clothes, and more! The generosity of grandparents is an amazing blessing to their kids and grandkids, but instead of loading everyone up with more stuff, consider fulfilling a specific need or gifting an experience.

Another great gift from my in-laws was money for our kids to enroll in a Karate class. My boys absolutely loved this class and we honestly would not have been able to enroll them without the help of Mimi and PawPaw. Helping create opportunities for your children and grandchildren is an amazingly generous gift and is so appreciated!

10. We want your support when it comes to parenting and decision making.

Your support means the world to us! We relish your compliments, advice, and encouragement. When you see we need an encouraging word or when you see us excel don’t hold back in cheering us on. We value your opinion so much and hearing from you that we can do something or maybe that we are doing something in our lives well means the world to us!

We need to hear that we are doing a good job as wives, in our careers, and as mothers. Don’t shy away from expressing your pride, love, or giving us some loving advice. Hearing that you believe in us is a great blessing to our lives. Having your support when we make decisions in our marriage, work, homes, parenting, and more helps us feel loved by you.

Genesis 2:24 tells us that in marriage two join together to make one flesh. This also implies that two families join together to make one new family. What a blessing it is to grow a family through marriage! Supporting one another in our marriages and parenting is so important. In-laws are such a gift when they are able to embrace those who marry into the family fully. Lean in and grow closer so you can better enjoy the gift of family.

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Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.



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