There are many wives who have experienced tension in their relationship with their mother-in-law. If you are someone who is struggling with this or not I know that this article will bless you. I am glad that Tayler has brought such an encouraging message for all of us wives to be inspired by and I hope that you are just as challenged as I am to love your mother-in-law all the more!
I have a far from perfect relationship with my husband’s mother. After her and I had a dispute at my husband’s and my engagement party, things went downhill fast. She and I did not speak for four months after that. I remember standing in my parents’ kitchen with my now husband, bawling my eyes out and telling him he had to do something about it. It was toxic for our relationship. He was trying desperately to mend this broken relationship. He felt helpless—and I felt bitter. I remained that way for quite some time, and I still battle bitterness almost daily.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that it is between myself and God to free myself from that bitterness. I may never have a picture-perfect relationship with my mother-in-law, but I can love her the way Christ calls me to—the way He loves me.
Through this hurtful time I’ve learned five ways that I can love and bless my mother-in-law, regardless of the situation. This is not a list of ways to set boundaries, or how my husband can stand up for me. These are ways in which I am to deal with my own attitude toward her.
1. Pray for her daily
This is a difficult task. I’ve come to realize that the difficulty of this one results from the pride that is nestled deep in my heart. Deep down I want to remain bitter and justify my sinful feelings towards her. Luke 6:28 calls me to set down that bitterness, and to instead bless her and pray for her. As I pray for my mother-in-law, my bitter heart slowly softens. It’s tremendously difficult to remain hateful towards someone while you’re praying for them. Through praying for her, I begin to see her as Christ sees her—a sinner nonetheless, but a daughter of Christ. I am called to forgive her as He has forgiven me, and love her as He loves me.
2. Never speak harsh words of her in front of my husband
I am honestly ashamed at the amount of times I’ve vented about my disdain for my mother-in-law in front of my husband. Stating facts and expressing my distress is one thing—bashing her is another. She is the mother who raised my husband to be the man that I love. She is the woman that he ran to when he was a child and needed to feel protected. She is the mommy who carried him in her womb. Although I am now the most significant woman in his life, she is still important to him. When I insult my mother-in-law it isn’t respectful to her, and it hurts my husband.
3. Put forth effort to include her in our life
Sometimes I feel as though she would kidnap us and lock us in her house if she could. The frequent invitations to dinner can become exhausting. However, I know it blesses her when we go out of our way to spend time with them too. It’s extremely tempting to avoid her—especially when we’re in the middle of a disagreement. I must remain intentional about spending quality time with my husband’s family. Although they may drive us crazy at times, I know he loves them and they will always hold a special place in his heart.
4. Give her grace
I am no perfect human being. And although the manner in which she treats me hasn’t always been kind, the way I’ve reacted isn’t exactly tasteful. I have to make myself constantly aware of the fact that I am a wretched sinner in need of God’s grace. I am no greater than her or anyone else. We are both in dire need of Jesus’s love and refinement. His love towards me isn’t conditional, and my love for my mother-in-law should also be unconditional. Instead of trying to punish her for her sometimes harsh actions, I need to run to the foot of the cross. This is where our relationship will find healing.
5. Never Give Up
My relationship with my mother-in-law is still not perfect. She makes me extremely irritated at times. I know she will do things in the future that will temp me to stop speaking to her, shut her out of our lives, and give up. But I am confident that God has a plan for our relationship. I know that through it He is teaching me how to love more like Him. I am to be a light to her. The only thing that truly risks ruining our relationship is my pride, and I pray that I will never let my pride get in the way of expressing Christ’s love to her. When I am tempted to give up I must bring myself back to number one on this list—and pray for her.
I am called to be a godly daughter-in-law. I am not called to try and change her. Instead of trying to shape her actions, I need to deal with my own pride and bitterness. I am called to respect her. I am called to pray for her. I am called to love her—out of love for my husband and love for my Savior.
– Tayler Beede