1. Take It to God
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It’s possible for your mother-in-law to disapprove of you and still treat you with extreme love and kindness, but sadly I think that’s rare.
Most disapproval is played out in harshness, a lack of love, and mistreatment. This can lead to disappointment, discouragement, heartache, and if we’re being honest, it can make you question if you’re a good match for your husband.
Mistreatment can bring up feelings of shame, cause you to question your worth, and even trigger PTSD if you have abuse in your past. It’s important to remember that whether or not her disapproval of you is valid, mistreating you is never okay.
Lamentations 3:22 reminds us that “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” You can take your anger, your heartache, and your questions to God. He will listen, he will care, and he will give you comfort because his compassions never fail.
Praise God for that! Acknowledge the pain you feel and talk to your husband about setting boundaries that will keep you safe and protected from mistreatment.
Remind yourself of who you are in Christ and that your approval in Christ is not dependent on the approval of your mother-in-law.
2. Be Humble
Whether we’re in physical danger, or under the scrutiny of a critical eye, it’s in our nature to defend ourselves. Nine times out of ten when we realize that someone doesn’t like us, we immediately fall into defense mode and point, with blame, to the disapproving person.
My first word of advice is to remember who you’re pointing at--not some stranger on the street, but the mother of your husband. You, as his wife, have the potential to make or break the bond between mother and son. Be humble. Don’t be defensive.
Don’t speak harshly to your husband about his mother--even if he agrees with you! However, remember that being humble doesn’t equal being a doormat. You can glorify God in your response to your mother-in-law while also setting boundaries to protect yourself.
Reflect on Philippians 2:3-11: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men...”
This brings me to my next word of advice:
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