Having mother-in-law problems is nothing to laugh at. In reality, a single visit or phone call from your mother-in-law frequently injects us with a serious dosage of tension and aggravation that lasts for weeks, months or longer.
The solution to one’s mother-in-law problems seems obvious, although not the sensible solution. You could live as far away from her as possible, restrict her visits and exposure to your children, and make sure your spouse knows his/her mother is the sole culprit in the bothersome relationship. In other words, you could establish that you’re usually right and your mother-in-law is frequently wrong! Surely these are not the most sensible solutions!
Having realistic expectations is vital when addressing mother-in-law problems. We all want to keep our sanity, while not allowing a tense situation to escalate. Is there a sensible solution for all concerned?
Three Steps to Sanity:
* Become One – Marriage unites two unique individuals into a single body, mind, and spirit. Tension arises when either spouse includes a relative or non-professional into their personal decision-making process viz finances and family planning. Even the best intentions do not justify a mother-in-law’s involvement in the marriage union. The husband-wife relationship is one of honor and respect for one’s spouse intimate and separate from outside influence.
* Set Priorities – Loyalty and devotion to your spouse’s well-being is crucial. Loyalty, however, doesn’t justify taking sides against the mother-in-law. Are you fueling animosity towards your spouse’s mother? Does your spouse have to defend your fiery attacks on his/her mother? If your mother-in-law is a constant irritant, address the issue constructively. In choosing to protect your marriage, you will give priority to cultivating harmony instead of hostility towards your spouse and both mothers-in-law. Through your “oneness,” a couple can establish the priorities and attitudes that foster a loving atmosphere in your home.
* Exchange Respect – Your mother-in-law is the mother of your beloved. Her personality, physical characteristics, and care-giving shaped your beloved life-mate. As a mother-in-law, she must realize that she contribute to that relationship viz good, bad, or ugly with that unique individual, her child’s chosen partner for life. Even with diverse backgrounds and traditions, it is possible to exchange mutual respect.
Your response may be “I am constantly having mother-in-law problems! You don’t know my circumstances!” You doubted that your mother-/daughter-in-law’s relationship could ever change. You had forgotten the healing power of faith and forgiveness.
God heals damaged family relationships. But we have to relinquish our rights: to get even, to find fault, and to be angry. Only then can He accomplish the impossible through us.