As I walked up to the door I was nervous. I was meeting my future mother in law for the very first time. I knew she was concerned because we had only dated a short time. I had hoped she would like me that night to start our relationship off on a good note. I knocked on the door and the door opened. On the other side of the door was a perfectly dressed lady that looked like she had just stepped out of a Nordstrom catalog. The home was perfectly decorated as well. I smiled brightly and said, “Hi!” I recall her reaction as she observed my clothes I had carefully selected to wear that night and she with no smile at all responded, “Come in.”
I recall that night her not being very positive, but I kept giving her the benefit of the doubt that perhaps she was just as nervous as I was. Throughout the night she had made several comments that didn’t sit well with me about her disapproval of our upcoming marriage and if I really knew who I was marrying. I was young and naïve and shrugged them off determined to have a good relationship with her. In one study 80 percent of couple’s marriages end in divorce when their marriage does not have the support of the parents of who they are marrying.
A couple months later we got married. All the while I was really trying to breakdown her walls. I had invited her over for dinner one night when her husband was working and I made a no fail crockpot chicken recipe determined for her to at least like my cooking, but I even failed at that too, using soy sauce instead of teriyaki sauce by accident. I was mortified! Continuing to try and please her our presence was required at every family function including: Thanksgiving, birthdays, and Christmas leaving no time for my family or to establish new traditions. I was in a helpless situation; I knew she didn’t care for me, I didn’t know why and so I was bending over backwards trying to please her at every whim!
After several years of marriage, my marriage ended in heartache and again I was the one to blame in her eyes. In Genesis 2:24 it says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” We were never able to do this because so often we were always trying to please her. My husband at the time continued to refer to his mom on important decisions we should have been making together because he had always turned to his mom and didn’t know any other way. President Kimball said that married children should first counsel with their spouses, establish their own households, and then if counsel is needed outside of marriage the couple should pray together if this is necessary.
I am now remarried and have a wonderful mother in law that I refer to as my second mom. She really has understood her boundaries of what it is to be a mom with married children. She understands the importance of a husband and wife conversing together and sharing private and personal matters with only your spouse and when appropriate with her. She has worked hard to develop a good relationship with me by including me in family events and plans, phone calls throughout the week, sweet texts to say hello, and encouraging me in school, motherhood, and being a spouse to her son. My mother in law and I are different from one another, but she values our differences and cherishes them. She continually builds our relationship when we are together; at times I think she has a better relationship with me then her son J. I wanted to be accepted so much into my husband’s family and they welcomed me with open arms and lots of love! I am eternally grateful for this relationship with her.
In the book, Helping and Healing Our Families, it gives some advice to parents-in law it says ,“it will do well
To accept difference
Encourage marital identity by helping develop ad maintain the marital boundary of the children
Offer advice only when sought
Be accepting rather than crucial
And work toward developing a personal, positive, relationship with a son or daughter in law by creating opportunities to spend time one on one.”
I testify that these are steps to a great relationship with in laws. I am grateful for my in laws and the relationship I have with them.