It’s Mother’s Day and as we all wax lyrical about our moms’ virtues today, I thought I’d also give you an important reason to honor your mother-in-law!
Mothers’-in-law have long been stereotyped as the bane of married husbands (and wives).
A popular local TV programme highlights everything that can go wrong in marriage because of the mother-in-law from hell.
However, your relationship with your mother-in-law doesn’t always have to be antagonistic!
I’m fortunate to have a great relationship with mine, largely because of her extremely warm and accepting personality.
But understanding some things about your spouse’s family can help turn your relationship with your mom-in-law from outlaw to mother-in-love.
It’s important for every couple to anticipate that they will encounter major marital differences because of their different families of origin.
For example, each family has different rules, spoken or unspoken.
If in your family, the rule was ‘we always call if we’re going to be out late’ and your spouse’s family had no such rule, you may feel mistrusted while your spouse feels controlled.
Each family also has different roles assigned to each family member.
If in your family, dad handled all the money while in his family, both parents actively engaged in joint money management, it could lead to interesting dynamics!
In addition, each family has different rituals or family traditions, such as ‘we always celebrate Christmas together’.
Each family also has a different reason for being or ‘why we exist’; for some it may have been ‘education is everything’, for others, ‘the reason for money is so that we enjoy life’.
Unless you marry your sister (which is not only illegal but genetically detrimental) your different upbringings will naturally lead to disagreements!
To ensure these don’t harm your marriage, you must together commit to discuss the differences and agree on what rules, roles, rituals and reason for being your new family unit will observe.
The good book says ‘therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two shall become one flesh’.
So commit together to lovingly but firmly set up boundaries that protect each other from the expectations of your families of origin.
Finally, agree on how to love and care for your parents together.
For instance, how much will you set aside each month to support each family? Be generous, but realistic, ensuring you are also meeting the needs of your own home.
And be completely transparent with each other – always remembering that you are a team.
Remember, nothing shows your spouse how much you love and accept them as clearly as when you show love to their family members.
So this Mother’s Day, don’t just get your own mom a card or gift.
Get one for your spouse’s mom as well. And let your spouse know how grateful you are for that lovely lady who gave birth to them!