The Mother in Law

Dollarphotoclub_31011326.jpg - Mother in LawAre you having trouble with your mother in law? The articles below address this issue. They also offer helpful insights. 

Although it happened over twenty years ago, I remember it clearly. It was a Friday night, and Wes and I were headed out of Oklahoma City to visit our families for the weekend. Wes was still in school and I was working as an occupational therapist. We were so looking forward to this weekend away. To top it off, a favorite cousin of mine was getting married. I was eager to see the family members I hadn’t seen in a while.

Partway there, Wes suggested I go to the wedding without him. I was stunned and angry! This was a family wedding, and I expected him to go with me. We discussed the issue the remainder of the trip. He didn’t change his mind, and I didn’t, either.

The Vote

We arrived at his parents’ home and greeted them, a visiting brother, and a guest. To my amazement, Wes brought up the topic at dinner. Suddenly, everyone was bantering back and forth about what Wes should do. So much for privacy! The next thing I knew, someone was calling for a vote. “Who thinks Wes should go to the wedding with Connie?” (The vote was zero. I was stunned I forgot to vote!) “Who thinks he should stay here?” (It was basically the rest of the group.)

I sat in disbelief, wondering what kind of family I’d married into. How dare they so freely air their opinions about matters that didn’t involve them? I had temporarily forgotten that Wes had actually invited their input.

My family kept private matters private. You won’t find us discussing who we voted for, how much money someone makes, or how much a new car (or anything else) costs. We wouldn’t discuss whether or not someone should attend a cousin’s wedding! Wes continues to be amazed at our tight-lipped approach. He says my family redefines “private affairs.”

When two people marry, they bring with them their own traditions and patterns. This often creates conflict-to say the least! And when the “conflict” is an opinionated mother-in-law who lives under your roof, things can become rather interesting, rather quickly!

This section was written by Connie Grigsby. It is an intro to this next article:

The Mother In Law

This next article concerning the Mother in Law is written by Diane Riley:

Mom Reilly came to live with us at the age of 79. She had been living alone as a widow for 15 years. We’d been married for 9 years and had 4 small children. “Mom” was determined to get as much attention as possible from my busy doctor husband, who was rarely home. She’d rise early —4 or 5 in the morning. And then she’d start banging a spoon on the kitchen table. She was announcing it was time for her coffee.

She insisted on never being alone, which meant I couldn’t even go to the bathroom alone. “Diaaaane,” followed by knocks on the door, could be heard throughout the house. Carpools weren’t immune to her, either. She became a fixture in the front passenger seat with her hand on the horn if I walked a child inside and took too long. She was also a joy to shop with. When buying school clothes, I would find a comfy chair for her in the shoe department before heading out. Ten minutes later, I’d inevitably hear my name paged over the loudspeaker system!

Changes in Our Lives

When Mom moved in, Bob and I had recently changed churches. We found one that was filled with the joy of the Lord. We were in church almost every time the doors were open, and everyone in our family was growing spiritually. Bible studies on marriage were especially important. That is because we knew little about God’s blueprint for marriage. A “quiet and gentle” spirit I did not have, but desperately wanted —and needed!

I was in daily turmoil over the increasing demands I tried to place on myself in an effort to be the perfect wife and mother, with my “thorn,” Mom Reilly, burrowing deeper and deeper into my side. Her tongue was so sharp. Nothing I said or did pleased her. I became compliant on the outside, but seethed with resentment and anger on the inside. She was my “ball and chain.” I took out my frustrations on my patient husband. I was sideswiping him time and again about being a workaholic. My tongue became as virulent as if, not worse, than Mom’s.

A friend called from the East Coast one night, wrongly supposing we were three hours later rather than earlier. So wide awake at 3:00 A.M., I decided to spend the next hour with the Lord. God met me in a powerful and unexpected way.

God’s Teaching

I was reading the crucifixion story in John’s Gospel. Jesus is on the cross looking down at His mother and His beloved disciples. With great tenderness and compassion, He says to John, “Here is your mother.” He was giving me His mother-to love and care for —just as He had given His mother to John. Was I not also a disciple? Was I not also commanded to love others as He loved me?

My heart changed that night. God gave me His heart for Mom Reilly. No longer was it an effort to love and care for her. She lived with us for 16 years. We now see her time with us as a divine gift to bring supernatural love into our family. It was the Lord who asked for a gentle and quiet spirit from me. And it was this thorn of adversity that caused me to learn how to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I fell more and more in love with Jesus, and my husband, as I practiced on “His mom.” And as my heart changed toward Bob and he was no longer battling my angry and critical spirit, we began studying, applying, and then teaching God’s blueprint for marriage.

One of the best things we did was to begin praying together. Our times together with the Lord are our most intimate. It’s hard to be angry, critical, or disinterested when you go into the throne room together. We pray together daily and communion is so sweet. We also honor Mom Reilly and thank God for her, His special gift. From the bottom of my heart I can say that she gave us far more than we gave her.

In Conclusion: CONNIE writes:

I had an awakening when God showed me that if I was one with Wes, then his parents should, in a sense, be my parents. They’d never take the place of my parents, of course, and I’d never share with them my many wonderful childhood memories. But in the sense of honor and regard, they were to be as my parents. I had never treated them poorly —in fact, I’d always tried to treat them well. However, I now wanted to elevate that to a higher standard.

Loving your in-laws is one of the dearest ways you can show love to your husband. So often, women share with us that their in-laws just aren’t lovable. Those seemingly unlovable people are the ones who need love the most! “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Isn’t this the way you want to live? Isn’t this the way you want to love?

This article was originally titled, The Mother-in-Law —Sometimes the Best Picture a Woman Has of Herself Is How She Treats Those Closest to Her Husband. The Introduction and post-script is written by Connie Grigsby. She co-authored, along with Nancy Cobb, the book, The Best Thing I Ever Did for My Marriage: 50 Real Life Stories, published by Multnomah Publishers. The rest of this article is written by Diane Reilly of Marriage Ministries International. This book contains 50 eye-opening, sometimes humorous true stories. They are aimed to help wives problem-solve and better cope in the situations they find themselves in.

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Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents

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4 responses to “The Mother in Law

  1. (USA)  How do you cope with a mother-in-law that won’t let go? We have been married for 17 years, and my m.i.l. still babies my husband. She thinks he’s 12. We recently separated, because she enables him. She gets this sick satisfaction out of making this cushy little world for him when times are tough. The night of our disagreement, she got him a plane ticket to California. In the past two weeks, she doesn’t acknowledge our kids, but she has bought him a surf board, a bicycle, new clothes, ILLEGALLY obtained anti-depressants for him, and told him he needs to relax and don’t worry about finding a job. My kids have said, "She will never be grandma again." They have seen this same routine played out many times over the years. It’s absolutely horrible. And, I know he is guilty, too. We are believers in Christ. I know there are answers. Thanks, Pam

  2. (ZIMBABWE)  Dear Pam
    I think you are giving your mother in law too much blame in this situation. No matter how much you parent wants to help you it is your husband who needs to grow up and be first and fore most a husband to you, and a father to his children. He also has a responsibility to be an adult son to his mother.
    The Bible clearly say a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. That means the foundation of marriage is were the problem is. Your husband never left his mother. He has to learn to leave his mother, emotionaly and financialy for your relationship to work. Even if she spoils him but if he is attached to you emotionaly and financialy you might see your mum in-law in a different light.

  3. (USA)  Rumbabwe is 100% correct. My mom always says that you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink. If your husband was willing to take his new life change with his mom, it lets him be free from complications dealing with his responsibilties. It is easier to be a child, than a adult, when things aren’t easy.