Today’s post is from my friend, Hannah. I wrote a blog post about a time we recently spent together and when I learned she was a writer, an idea was born! She just celebrated her NINE MONTH wedding ann- iversary and I knew her fresh observations as a daughter-in-law would be useful to me. Lord willing, one day I will welcome three daughters-in-law into this family. Here’s her story and reflections.
I marry my best friend at the not-so-young age of 19. He’s been my best friend since I was 15 years old and my childhood fleets quickly. A ring finds its way on my finger, one on his too. We become one, and I become a Daniel.
August 4th, 2012 is birthed into this earth and the small church to the right of the one-road-town fills quickly.
Marrying Andrew is the best decision I ever made, besides my salvation. But can I share a not-so-secret? Not only did I hit the jackpot by marrying an incredible God-loving, handsome man, but I hit the Lotto when I got his family as mine, too.
Not that mine is bad but I enter his whole family coming from a broken one. There was yelling, stubbornness, and a divorce after 28 years of marriage for reasons I’ll never fully understand, yet my mum+dad love me, all the same.
For those reasons there is something almost magical about being a part of a family whole, untainted. Why? Because I’m now (treated like) part of a whole.
Especially by his Momma.
I know, right? She is much less Monster-in-Law’s (the movie with J-Lo) Jane Fonda and more like an angel from heaven that you get to call mom, gives the best gifts and hugs and advice…and serves the best FOOD. Yes, always food. I TOLD you I hit the Lottery with this gem of a family! So bear with me while I brag, because if you wanna know why she is the best mom-in-law (MIL[s]) everrr and what you future or current MIL’s can do have an awesome relationship with your daughter-in-laws..weeeelll, I’ll let you in on her secrets.
Sincerity – It’s all you need, really. Be a momma to your new daughter—You have raised a man that she loves, so find out why he loves her back! Be a spirit-bearer (Galatians 5:22-23), and invest into her life and get to know her. Personally, I know I felt home (yes, it’s a feeling!), when I felt like she wanted me to be there, a part of her family.
Get to know her, and want it – Especially as a new wife, it’s tempting to keep all the bad stuff about you hidden and only let the most spectacular things about you shine. Yet, somehow, this home feeling came for me when I knew she wanted to get to know me, not this fabricated version of who I’m not. Ask her to help you fold laundry as a means for talking (yes, domesticity made me feel like family) and gain a level of friendship with her. Sincerely mean it when you say she’s family.
Acceptance – From what I’ve observed, MILs see their daughter-in-laws (DILs) as a nuisance—someone invading and imposing on her family. I would hope DILs, just like MILs, are seen as a joy to be around.
Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor (DILs included!) as ourselves, and that can be a difficult burden or a wonderful blessing. Nevertheless, your call is still the same, “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How? By letting facades fall: Be yourself and let her be herself (sins and all). You’ll become really appreciative of one another. (I know it’s true in my case).
And when all else fails –
Pray – Can anything good happen apart from the Lord? Pray for her personally as a woman, a sister in Christ. Pray for her marriage to your son, for them to have a thriving marriage, reflecting the parable that it is: Christ and the Church. Pray for your relationship with her (especially if loving her is difficult).
Love her, sincerely; Accept her, fully; Pray for her, continually.
And I bet you will be a mother-in-law who is cherished.
Questions – What advice do you have for mother-in-laws? Daughters-in-law, what have you learned from your MIL?
Check out Hannah’s blog at Common Thought. Such a sweet and gifted young woman.