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Monday, July 9, 2012

Making Your Mother-in-Law Your Friend

If I were giving advice to a woman about to be married, it would be this. Do your best to make your mother-in-law your friend. I know there may be women who would say, "But you don't know my mother-in-law!" I'm sure there are very hard cases where you feel that you don't care for her or you feel she doesn't care for you.  But as much as it relies upon you, be at peace with her. Make good choices and take the high road in the relationship.

I am blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law. In fact, I told my husband the other day, that I consider my mother-in-law, Faye, to be one of my best friends. Let me tell you a little about why I feel this way about her.

In 1992, Dave and I were told that our one year old twins had cerebral palsy. About two years later, they were both scheduled to be fitted for wheelchairs. I stayed with them at the University of Iowa Hospitals while Faye stayed at home with our other two children.


 On the day we arrived in Iowa City, I was so burdened down with sorrow I felt like I could hardly function. I remember being shown a catalog of wheelchairs and then somehow found myself sitting on the floor crying. I knew wheelchairs were something that had to be done, that this would be best for them, but the deep feeling of grief can hardly be described.

The kids and I stayed there that week while they were being measured, fitted, and re-measured for their wheelchairs. We came home for the weekend and then returned the next week for another few days. At night, when I finally got them both to fall asleep, I would sit and look out the window at a clock on the campus grounds, and wonder if things would ever get better. It felt like there was no place I could put this weight of pain that I was carrying around.

Finally, we returned back home at Teen Challenge. We pulled into the driveway and I remember asking Dave if somehow he could put the wheelchairs somewhere that I wouldn't have to look at them for a while. We lived in a pretty small place, but somehow, after putting the kids down, he was able to place them out of my direct line of vision. I laid down for a while in the back bedroom and listened to the sounds of conversation in the house. I could hear Faye in the kitchen making supper for us and our children's voices. When I walked into the kitchen and saw Faye making meatballs and talking with Dave, I felt comforted. It felt like the heaviness lifted a little, and that everything would be okay. I'm sure Faye probably hugged me and cried. That would be the thing that she would have done. But to tell you the truth, the details of that day are a little foggy. All I really remember is that her presence in our home at that time made so much difference in my pain filled mind.

Just a short few months later, Faye just "happened" to be spending the night at our home when Alex, one of our twins, suddenly went to be with the Lord. She stayed back with our other children while I climbed into an ambulance with Alex in the early morning hours, and Dave drove to the emergency room. She was waiting for us when we arrived back home later that morning alone.

There have been many instances like this one in my life. She has been there through thick and thin with Dave and I.  I don't remember when I stopped looking at her as just "mother-in-law" and started looking at her as "friend", but that is what happened. You may feel like you don't have a lot in common with your husband's mom, but this is where you need to become creative and find the areas where you have shared interests. After all, you married her son and that is a good starting place. Sometimes it just starts with a decision that you make. It can really start with you.

 Faye has taught me a lot by her example. When everyone else around her wondered if one of her sons would ever turn his life around, she never doubted. She always believed. It reminds me of a book I read a few years ago where a lady went to heaven and asked about the thrones she saw lining a wall. She was told they belonged to the praying mothers. I can't find anything in the Bible that supports that, but I wouldn't be surprised either!

Honoring your mother-in-law really isn't an option. Praise her to your children and set aside times to have fun with her. Speak to others of all the good things that you see in her. Someday, you and I will be the "mother-in-law"and what we have sown, we will reap. I want to reap a good relationship with my someday daughter-in-laws and sons-in-law, but it starts now.



Ice skating with Grandma


 Linking up to www.homestoriesatoz.com
 and www.impartinggrace.com  and www.frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com

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French Country Cottage

22 comments:

  1. This is such a sweet post and one MANY women need to hear. I'm happy to have a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law, but since we will be spending the week together next week, this message is timely to remind me to honor her.

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  2. Thank you so very much for your reply! I'm glad you have a good relationship with your mother-in-law, too:)

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  3. Great story. My mother in law and I have our differences, but I appreciate her and know she would be there in a heart beat to help us if needed. :)

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    2. Oop, sorry, I had made the same reply twice:)

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  4. I also share a very strong relationship with my MIL. My husband and I have been trying to have a child for several years now. My MIL also had infertility issues and she has been so supportive. Sadly, my SIL does not share the same close relationship with my MIL. I constantly encourage her to build that relationship, but you can't make wine from water.

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  5. Maybe as she watches you, she will have a change of heart one day. I'm glad you have that relationship with your MIL and I speak blessings over you today. Let me know how things are going with the infertility issue if ever you can. I would be interested to know:)

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  6. Kathy, this is just beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. You've encouraged me today to start being a better daughter-in-law. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for reading, Becky. Blessings on your day!

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  7. What a great post and how lucky you are to have such a wonderful mother-in-law. My mil was the nicest lady but sadly passed away a year after she and my father-in-law moved to our neighborhood from another state to be close to us.

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    1. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that, especially when they had made that move. Thank you so much for writing. God bless you!

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  8. I was so touched by this post! It caught me eye immediately in the Grace at Home linkup because we both wrote about in-laws this week. I love mine to pieces, but this inspired me to open up more contact. We live states away but keep well in touch, but it's more often my husband the one who is talking (on the phone), rather than me. I'd like to improve that. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Erica,
      I noticed we had both written about in laws, too!
      Thank you so much for writing. I look forward to Thursdays when I can read all the blogs that have linked up. Blessings!

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  9. Excellent post! Most of us forget that this is a two way relationship but we are only unltimately responsible for the way we try to build the relationship. You are so right to urge us to "make it work."

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  10. Pat, thank you for your comment! We have a sweet relationship and I'm so thankful.

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  11. Btw, I liked this so much I posted it on facebook. :)

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  12. An excellent post! My mother-in-law has really been there for me through thick and thin, too. And my own mom died in 1999, so I'm grateful that we have my mother-in-law.

    Thanks for writing this!

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    1. I'm so glad. Sometimes mother-in-laws are overlooked, I think. I'm glad you have her, too. Thanks for writing, Richella!

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  13. I absolutely agree with this post and love the reminder. I have been blessed with a fabulous Mother-in-Law and Step-Mom. Though they are not blood related they might as well be. They take good care of their families and have been there for me when my mom bowed out of wanting to be involved with my family or kids. I remember when my first baby was born, they both stepped up and were a huge help around the house and with meals and when I just didn't feel I could go on. I don't know if I would have made it that first week of motherhood without them. I love them both dearly!

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  14. Hi Chantelle,

    I'm so glad you have them in your life, too! What a beautiful story. Thanks for writing!

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