“Two Special Women In One Man’s Life”

Since the beginning of time loving brides and grooms have had the privilege of picking out their life partners. However, it’s a different story for the groom’s mother when she becomes partners fused together with her daughter in law after the “I Do’s.”  Mother in-laws have shared that at first they find their new role was a daunting challenge especially if she wasn’t consulted or didn’t give her consent. But it’s a challenge that can be overcome the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is without question is like a complicated dance.

Yet, by the very nature of the relationship, the two are expected to immediately move freely and beautifully in synchronized harmony. Rarely is this connectedness and closeness realized overnight. He does, She does but what about you, the mother of the groom can you take her? The candles are lit, the room grows with a soft yellow hue, the groom, the pastor, and the wedding party are in place at the altar.  As all eyes eagerly watch the closed-door at the chapel’s entrance, suddenly the air is changed from the sweet stillness of anticipation to the first notes of the beautiful music chosen for the wedding processional. As the doors swing open, the bride’s heart races at the sound of the melodic cue to make that long-awaited, slow walk down the aisle of matrimony.

But as the song plays, the lovely bride does not realize that she is not the only lady in the room who has been cued by the music. Her mother-in-law to-be is also called to respond to the melody! While the young woman in white moves gracefully with the music toward her chosen one, the song calls the mother of the groom to graciously step to the side. In reality, the wedding processional is not just for the bride, it is also a cue for a lifelong dance to begin for two special women in one man’s life.

How true it is that so much changes for a family when the adult children fall in love and marry. Suddenly that are new members who, by decree of law and circumstance, are expected to be embraced and included into the fold. By all means, the challenge is a daunting one, especially for mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. The daughter-in-law who may have chosen to join with her husband in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in a holy alliance with the rest of his family. By the sheer nature of the relationship she is expected to melt into a household of family members that are often unfamiliar and at times very different from her family of origin.

The reality is that every holiday, every special occasion, even the continuance for the coming generations pivot on the choice to unite families through marriage. Whether the parents-in-law or the adult children realize it or not, the choices that are made are life-altering for the entire family. For most parents, the grace to love and enfold those new family members by law is a mere continuum of the parental love they enjoy with own kids. However, there are those situations that may require an attitude adjustment. What does a parent do when their child’s preference of a mate is contrary to their personality or taste?  Or what if the offspring ventures outside of their culture, social class, or religion? Is is possible to accept and even cherish the chosen one when they are an unnatural fit? And what about the daughter-in-law? What is she supposed to do when she’s thrust into a new family that may already established traditions, modes of interactions, and common activities that perhaps she doesn’t readily accept or enjoy? She, along with her mother-in-law, can find comfort in knowing that they are not the first to venture out on that sometimes slippery dance floor.

My friend Jane had always dreamed of the day when she would fully embrace a daughter-in-law with the same energy and vitality  with which she loved her own daughter. The two of them always had best of times, they could shop-till-they-dropped with the best of them. Their home was full of the two of them laughter and talking throughout the house when they were together. To Jane’s thinking, adding a daughter-in-law simply ment one more girl with whom to chum around. However Jane’s daughter-in-law was not like Jane’s daughter. She didn’t readily laugh a lot, and she seemed to always isolate herself from the rest of the family. For instance, when the other women were in the kitchen preparing the meal for a family gathering Jane’s daughter in law would sit all alone in the living room quietly leafing through a magazine.

I asked, Jane if she encouraged her to join them and her answer demonstrated the patient wisdom she possessed. Jane replied,  “No.”  As much as I would love for her to feel comfortable being with me and the rest of my  family, I’ve decided to give her space enough to choose whether she stays in the living room or comes into the kitchen. For too long, she’s had someone telling her what to do, and when she didn’t do it fast enough, she was punished. Jane didn’t want to be another person demanding to have their way.

Jane went on to say, I love her and I believe in time she will feel that love. Until then, I will continue to be patient and understanding. “She’s a wonderful wife to my son and that’s all she owes me.” My friend Jane might have selected a different life-partner  for her son when Jane found out that her son was marrying a woman who had a bad life and had been previously married to a man who beat her and her child but instead she decided to love, respect and except her daughter in law the results were amazing.

 Jane learned valuable lessons over the past few years as she has invested into her daughter-in-law. The two women have since grown amazingly close and continue to do so. Jane’s  understanding and kindness has been instrumental in healing hurts of a lovely young women. Jane did it right, and she has reaped the joyous benefits of her choices.  As you establish a rhythm of love and grace, you’ll find that you and your daughter-in-law/ mother-in-law can dance a loving and joyful dance too!

Would Your Rather Clean Your House Than Spend The Day With Your Mother In Law?

 Would you rather clean your house than spend the day with your mother in law? A survey by iVillage in 2010 found that 51% of DILs (daughter-in-laws) said, they would rather spend the day cleaning their house than with their MIL ( mother in law); and 28% percent they’d rather have a root canalA Cambridge University study of hundreds of families over a twenty-year period found that more than 60 percent of the women said, their relationship with their mother-in-law was stressful for them! Daughter-in-laws had a chance to vent about  their mother-in-laws and grandmother in-laws. The answers were immediate, intense, and anxious often saying, “What ever you do, maintain my anonymity. 

They might not apply to you at all, but it’s good to get a window into what DILs are thinking. If you’re sure you want to know what they said, here’s what they said… Thanks, but no thanks when it comes to parenting advice. They want to raise their kids their own way and make their own mistakes. The story you tell about how your son loves your home-baked deserts that you tell just as your daughter in-law brings out the cake she bought at the bakery is an example of a mother in law being passive-aggressive in her  behavior and if you are a mother in law you may be surprised to be told you are still being aggressive even if you are being subtle stop it!  Let’s stop standing on ceremony.

 One daughter in law said, it bothered  her mother in law when she didn’t send her a thank-you note for the baby’s birthday present. She though of her as family and felt like saying, to her mother in law, ” I am not the rude ingrate that you think I am and yes, I am good enough for your son”. It’s sweet that you think your son is so perfect, as long as you also understand that I’m perfect for him. DILs would appreciate it if  their MILs would ask them for some gift ideas and respect the limits  for birthdays and holidays.

They know that they are not like their mother in-laws. But that doesn’t mean they don’t respect the heck out of them.  Remember, she married your son knowing full well that “She married the whole family.” All this  Mother in law business is not a great mystery to daughter in-laws because after all they understand that  their mother in law was the first woman in her husband’s life and have known him longer (and maybe better) than she does. She has taken care of him… and did it very well.  She may be expecting to share holidays and all special occasions with her son’s wife and  family.

The mother in law has her own relationship with her children…the grandchildren and she will usually take her son’s side… even if she doesn’t say so aloud.You can decrease the issues somewhat and sometimes but not all the time. If  you are a mother in law you may be saying to yourself why brother? The answer is simply, you try your best for your grandchildren! You may wonder why should you make the first move? For your grandchildren’s sake that is why! Why let things pass? For your grandchildren that’s why! Let’s start with a few suggestions: See what your daughter-in-law is like with other people, and don’t expect her to be different with you.

On the other hand if she is kind and considerate to other family members and her close friends and not to you. There’s your answer, she doesn’t really like you but you still have to be kind to her for your grandchildren sake! Treat your daughter-in-law with the same patience and politeness you show your own daughter or your close friends or even new acquaintances. The odds are that your daughter-in-law will not have the same kind of personality as your daughter or your close friends because they are like you so go for new acquaintances.

If things get really tough, pretend you’re writing a movie and become an observer instead of participant… it will help to give you psychological distance and enough emotional breathing room to feel in control of your emotions, and sometimes a laugh. Look at the up side of this one you could end up writing a book or a movie script or just feel better and don’t forget to vent with all the other mother in-laws who are in the same boat. Remember you’re not alone just take a few minutes and read any book about DILs and MILs.

 You may be surprised to learn that there are many of blogs used for DILs or MILs as a place to vent. Take a look on-line there are thousands of  women venting about the women in their lives. The most important thing to remember is keep your sense of humor and pray, pray and then pray some more. Want to calm the stormy seas? Here are some tips: Never, never, never…say, “My son is right. Never say, “I think you should. Never say, “I just assumed that…”  You may be asking yourself is there anything we should say? Here are a few suggestions from seasoned mother-in-laws and grandparents…

Tell her stories about your son that will amuse her and interest her and not stories that will make her feel that you think he’s perfect. Make sure you say positive reinforcement statements and yes that can be a challenge when you know in your heart of hearts that she doesn’t like you or resents you but do it for the grandchildren. Say positive statements, like “I respect how you’re raising your kids.” They may not do things the way you did, but it’s a different world today. Find something positive to say that will ring true. Offer to do the dishes or the laundry… or make dinner, be there to help. Don’t be surprised if she tells you “know” that she prefers to it herself it’s an ego issue.  Try saying things like,” Don’t worry; you’re wonderful parents.” They’re probably nervous about every decision they make, and those kind words can make them feel so great and so warm toward you! Your children are wonderful.” All kids go through difficult stages. Tell her your kids did, and they turned out great.

“I’m here if you need me.” You know they’re up on all the latest information about child safety, diet, and development. Just let them know that if they want your advice, they can ask for it and you’ll be happy to share it. Daughter-in-laws usually turn to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts before they’ll ask their mother-in-law. Oops! Does that sting? “Keep in mind that all parents feel insecure sometimes.” Parenting can be learned only on the job, and not matter how many blogs and books they read or experts they consult or even if they ask for advice from you, nobody knows their child as they do.

In the Bible, Ruth praise, respects, and loves her mother-in-law, Naomi. Although some of your friends or maybe even you think that your daughter in law (DIL ) feels the same way, most say they are not as lucky as Naomi. They describe their mother in law/daughter in law relationships as one of the most sensitive and complicated relationships they’ve ever had. But at the same time, they know in fact we all know it’s one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have, because if we don’t have a working relationship with our daughter in-laws, we won’t have a relationship that works with our grandchildren! So if you have an excellent relationship with your daughter in law cherish it! And if you don’t, there are things you can do to improve it, the first step is to pray about it and talk to a seasoned mother in-law you respect.