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Mother/Daughter “In-Law” Relationships

April 28, 2015|Posted in: Family and Relationships

In Laws

We all know the relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law can be a precarious one. There are a plethora of jokes about meddling mothers-in-law.  If we’re honest, almost all of us will admit to laughing at a few of those jokes!  Being both a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law, I’ve experienced and considered the relationship from both sides.

A mother loves her son, wants his time and attention and is passionate in her desire for him to have what’s best for him. A wife feels the very same way about her husband. If the two feel they’re competing for his time and attention, or they have a difference of opinion as to what’s best for him, that’s where the conflict comes from.

Obviously, the best thing for a man is to have a healthy, loving and supportive relationship with both his wife and his mother.  Therefore it follows that  the two most important women in his life should encourage him in his relationship with the other.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done! I’ve felt the feelings of competition and jealousy as both a daughter-in-law and as a mother-in-law. But if you really and truly do want what is best for your son or husband you’ll be supportive of his relationship with “the other woman!” (Winky face).

Mother’s need to acknowledge and accept that their son has a wife now and that she should be his first priority.  Wives need to acknowledge and accept the fact that their husbands were once little boys whose first love was their mommy.

Choose to assume the best of intentions in your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law. Believe that she cares about you, because in all likelihood she probably really does.  Include her in your life, make an effort to share your son or husband and encourage his relationship with her

A really good way to love your husband is to love his mom!  A great way to love your son is to love his wife!

By the way, all of these thoughts apply just as aptly to your children/grandchildren as they do to your son/husband. Kids are most often a major part of the complicated mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

If you’re a young daughter-in-law who hasn’t yet had the benefit of looking at things from the perspective of a mother-in-law, it’s helpful to consider your own children (or future children). Imagine how you will feel about them when they are grown and how you will feel about their spouse. What are your hopes, dreams and desires for them in that time. Your mother-in-law’s feelings are probably very similar for her son, his wife and his children.

Focus on how you treat your mother-in-law and/or daughter-in-law, not on how she treats you. Encourage his relationship with her.  Make it a practice to love and care about her, be willing to share and make an honest effort to include her.  Then, on a regular basis, come right out and tell her that you love her and are willing to share and want to include her. If she doesn’t already feel the same way, she soon will!!

Although My mother-in-law has always lived in a different state, our relationship has been a good one.  My husband is close to her and seeks her advice and counsel and I’m thankful that he has her in his life.  My two daughters-in-law are both loving wives and caring, attentive mothers and I’m very proud of both of them. I will admit that over the years there has been a rough spot or two in these relationships. Honestly, the same is true of my relationships with my husband and sons.  That’s all part of loving someone and being a family.   All in all, I’ve been quite blessed; I love all three of these ladies very much and I’m thankful they’re part of my family!!

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6 Comments

  1. Crystal
    April 28, 2015

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    Great post! I am very, very close to my Mother-in-law and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way! I just pray that I have as much grace when my son starts dating and eventually gets married!

  2. Lisa
    April 28, 2015

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    In-law relationships are hard. I didn’t know that until after we were married. Thankfully my husband and I live in a different state so we don’t see them all that often. I’m really trying to make an effort to better understand my MIL and hopefully in the years to come we can continue to build a relationship.

  3. Meagan
    April 29, 2015

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    So true! I completely agree. It’s good to develop a healthy relationship with spouse and mother-in-law. My mother-in-law unfortunately passed away from cancer about 2 years after I was married. I wish I would have gotten to know her better, but in the beginning it was a bit of a rough adjustment. I think now we would be a lot closer and good friends, but it was a hard relationship to build when we were first married.

  4. Annette
    May 1, 2015

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    These are all great points and advice. Thanks!

  5. Adrian
    May 7, 2015

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    Great post! I always make an extra effort to be nice to my daughter-in-laws because my mother-in-law always treated me poorly and it hurt so much. I don’t want them to ever have to feel the way I felt all those years. Plus, I don’t want them to move away and take my son with them. That’s what I ended up doing, partly because I felt my in-laws were toxic and I didn’t want my children raised around them. One thing I always do is introduce them as MY daughter-in-law and not as my son’s WIFE. It’s a subtle thing, but it makes a big difference.

    • LoriGraceH
      May 7, 2015

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      That’s a great idea Adrian! Sounds like your daughter-in-law is blessed to have you for a mother-in-law.

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