I Love My In Laws

Love my in laws Dollar PhotoI was reading an article a while back titled, “In Love With My In Laws” in a copy I purchased of Marriage Partnership Magazine. In it the author, Renae Bottom, wrote something I can relate to. It’s one that many couples can’t but others, including myself and my husband can. I love my in laws. I’ll say it again:

I Love My In Laws.

In her article, Renae wrote:

“I have a confession to make. I like my in-laws. Since that disqualifies me from ever starring in a television sitcom based on my marriage, I’ll make another startling revelation. My husband likes his in-laws too. Call us weird, but Mark and I don’t suffer from the Dueling Mother-in-Law Syndrome. It’s one that has fueled decades of prime-time comedies. In fact, the relationship we share with our in-laws actually enriches our marriage.”

There are so many people who have problems with their in-laws. So it’s refreshing to think there are actually those out there (ourselves included) that love them. And Renae is right in saying that as we lean towards getting along together with our in laws, it does enrich our marriage.

Building Relationship Bridges

One of the things I determined years ago was to look for ways to build relationship bridges with my in-laws. I did this so we’d grow closer rather than treating each other like we’re opponents. I figured if they raised such a wonderful man as my husband Steve, and my husband loves them, I would make every effort to grow in my love relationship with them also.

It has meant that at times I’ve had to over-look some minor (and even major) offenses. It also meant I’d give grace and space and look for the best rather than allow myself to be easily offended. My husband has done the same with my parents. This is something I greatly appreciate. I know my parents weren’t perfect.

And when I did find myself offended by my in laws (they have since passed on to Heaven), I worked hard to get past it. This is something the Lord has done for me. He has gracefully forgiven me of my offenses. If I call myself a follower of Christ, why shouldn’t I have extended the same grace to my in-laws that I have received from Him?

It wasn’t always smooth sailing. There were some problems. But it was worth every effort it took to keep building, rather than allowing our relationship to be torn down.

Bridges of Love

Not all in-laws are open to building bridges of love. But if there is any way you can do this, it’s sure worth the rewards. The Bible says, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18) And for my part, I determined to do whatever I could to build a healthy, loving relationship with them.

It is a love gift that I have given to my husband —because he loves them. And I don’t want to put him into the position where he has to choose between me and his family. It’s a love gift that keeps giving in many other ways also.

One of them is what a person can learn about their spouse as they embrace his/her parents and his/her background. Author Renae Bottoms says this about what she learned:

“When Mark and I were married, I didn’t fully appreciate the way our separate pasts would affect our combined future. As we worked through our early adjustments, getting to know Mark’s family helped me see our relationship in more than just two dimensions. I see his side and mine.

“Slowly, over those first few years, our relationships with our in-laws helped us recognize there was a third dimension to our marriage. It’s the family experiences that had shaped each of our contrasting styles.”

Come to Better Understandings

That’s exactly what I found. As I look at my husband’s family, I can better understand his reasonings sometimes. (Other times I have no idea, but it’s important to look, all the same.)

Renae wrote something else I’d like to acknowledge. I agree with it, as it pertains to my marriage with Steve.

She wrote:

“When we marry, God gives us a whole new family to love and to learn from. After all, the vows do not say, ‘To love, honor and endure my in-laws, till death do us part.’

“The marriage vows join us with a person. And that person is already joined to a family. These small glimpses of Mark’s early life, these family stories in which he plays a part, may not seem like much to a lot of people. But because I love Mark, they are precious to me.

“Getting to know, and growing to love, my husband’s family has made me a better person and a better wife. I want to know the people who are important to Mark. I want to search out his character and come to appreciate him with the intimacy that love demands. And I rejoice in knowing that that journey will last a lifetime.”

Thank God for Holding Tongue

It has been that type of ride for us. As I think back over the years I had with my in laws, I thank God that I held my tongue when I needed to. I spoke truth “in love” when I needed to, and invested in showing love to them. This in turn warmed my husband’s heart, as well. It’s nice to look back and not have regrets of bickering back and forth.

I know that many couples can’t say this about their experiences with their in laws. And for them, I am sad. But I wanted to write this blog to acknowledge those out there that are able to do so. There’s no doubt we are blessed. I don’t only want to talk about tough times we have in marriage, but also acknowledge when blessings are ours. For me, my in laws were, and through my memories, they will always be a blessing.

So, thank you Keith and Mary Wright. Thank you for loving me. And thank you for being the type of in laws that I could love with all my heart. I miss you… but treasure your memories.

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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7 responses to “I Love My In Laws

  1. (USA)  I know this sounds strange but I have been with my husband for 4 years now and I have never had any problems with my mother in law. I love her, she is one of my best friends in the world and I am always begging my husband to let us go out and visit. I am blessed!

  2. (USA)  My son (23) came to talk one day about a girl he liked but felt she was shallow as a Christian. I counseled him and he felt he should call it quits. He knew to do right but did wrong. He ran to her. He was not living close to God as he had in the past and he fell for Satan’s trick. He began staying with her at night. I said some strong biblical things to him. He talked to her –but from the slant “mom says” = a big mistake. She was mad at my advice.

    I eventually asked her to forgive me for upsetting her. She said no. They married. He never brought her before the marriage and after 6 months he still won’t bring her around. It seems he turned his back on his family and God. He always told her before the wedding he didn’t want to bring her around because we were harsh.

    Well yes, he would say that because he was guilty. He knows we raised him with the word of God. He was afraid to bring her around because we would confront them. We would not confront her but we would and did confront him privately with scripture.

    We were at the wedding. We were not very well received. The month of their engagement he began having some serious medical issues which are still with him. I need spiritual and scriptural encouragement. I want a relationship with my son’s wife. I love my son and don’t like the division.

  3. (UNITED STATES)  Linda, As I read your story I was overcome with thoughts of times that I have treated Jesus the same way when he spoke truth to me and I did not want to hear it. However even when I had hurt him deeply and treated him horribly he still loved me with kindness and love. He was patient and faithful to me. I think you have an amazing opportunity to show your new daughter-in-law and son the heart of Jesus by doing the following;

    1. Sit in the presence of Jesus and worship him. In the light of his magnificence he will show you your heart and thoughts that need to line up to his ways and his holiness. During this time ask him how to approach the issues surrounding this marriage. Ask him to show you his heart for your son and daughter-in-law and their marriage.

    2. Pray for their marriage. Marriage is God’s representation of the church for the world.

    3. Ask Jesus to reveal a Bible story that parallels your story and see how it plays out in scripture. Use this a guide for processing your actions and reactions.

    4. Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.

    I have found that when I practice this that Jesus never discusses the other person with me unless it is to show me his heart about the matter. And I have found that my heart always needs to line up with his. Celebrate the process of your journey. It is the process of the journey that Jesus uses to bring us a greater revelation of who he is.

    Blessings on your journey, Linda

  4. (CANADA)  Hello, A very sad mother in law here. My Christian virgin 27 year son fell for his wife literally 8 weeks into the relationship. God exposed the fornication to my husband. “Can a man take fire to his bosom and not be burnt?”

    The marriage occured 8 weeks later. They were in sin the whole time. We knew this was not good. Three years later the fruit has been rotten. My son works all day, comes home, has to cook, wash dishes, clean house, and provide child care. Her job is done, the house is typically a disaster. She does not work. All gifts given, are thrown on the floor for the dog to sleep on.

    My goal is to be a kind, quiet mother in law, and not interfere. It’s difficult though. The baby clothes and gifts are in garbage bags, not used. I bought her clothes and nice things to bless her; she could care less. I bought her Christmas decorations to show love, because their finances are low. This includes table cloths, napkins, placemats, oven mitts, cookie jar platter, glasses, advent calendar, and many nice things. She did not diplay anything or use anything. We are not a rich family. I did yard work to earn money to bless her.

    When their home was ice cold we bought them a wood stove etc. I am not even offered a cup of tea when I visit. She has not been interested in visiting my home in three years. She has been to my home three times.

    My son tries his best to please his wife. At this time it is like love goes into a black hole and darkness prevails. The saddest part of the sad tale is the absolute disrespect she has for my mom, a widow, who has had a stroke. Her words are rebuking and hurtful. My husband has discussed this with her. Her solution is she does not visit my mom with the grandchildren. My mom does not drive so it is very sad for her.

    My son tries to keep peace by trying to please her and not causing problems. We do not talk to him about this because he has enough stress. He is not the head of the home; she is. The sad part of all this is she is quite religious, in the loose use of the word. Honoring parents is not one of her convictions. She is 28 years old.

    This situation is sad. My son was well loved and had an excellent relationship with our family and was taught the scriptures. He knew God’s word. We warned him of the dangers of sin.

    Their poor dog sleeps outside, freezing to death. I would love to buy the skinny little thing a coat but it would not be used. They have little kittens, 8 week old, with no bed, and no blanket on a cold floor, living in a bathroom.

    There are no words to describe the sadness of all of this. The couch is so dirty no one wants to sit on it. She is university educated, a missionary for two years, a worship leader, attended Sunday School, but is unteachable, strong, rebuking, and bitter. This is truly a sad tale. Signed, a sad mom

  5. I’m only engaged right now, but I love my future in-laws… The entire time my fiancé and I have been dating, they’ve been nothing but supportive of me and him. They’re more open to our interracial and interfaith relationship than my own parents –in fact, most of my family may disown me for even wanting to marry him, because he’s Catholic and Mexican. But if I gain a non-abusive family for the first time in my life, it will be more than worth it. I honestly feel more loved and open to my fiancé’s family than I ever have to mine.

  6. I loved reading this blog it touched me big time. Although I did not get the chance to be with my mother in law (she passed on before I got married) but being with my father in law and sisters in law I can call it a blessing because we really love each other and we treat each as blood sisters; at times we even forget the in law part. I really love them a lot.

    1. Thank you Nombuso, for sharing your comments. It’s so good to hear from those that do enjoy their in laws. I was blessed with good in laws (and so was my husband), and we have good relationships with our daughter-in-laws. These can be such rich relationships when we work together to bless each other rather than pull and tug against each other and fight back and forth. I’m so glad you enjoy being with your husband’s family. This blesses your husband, your marriage, and your life together all the more. “May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” (Jude 1:2)