How to Thrive With Your In-Laws

Family Day 2

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8


  • It’s time to meet with your Jesus! He’s the One, who “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). Pray and ask God to speak to your heart about your relationship with your in-laws and for Him to bless it.
  • Ask God to heal any broken places in your family and to bless it more than you could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He delights in answering prayers for healing and strengthening for ALL relationships. God wants us to love one another deeply (1 Peter 4:8)! 
  • Read Colossians 3:12-14 and Ephesians 6:2-3. Write what the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart in your journal.

How to Thrive with Your In-Laws

Have you ever gone to the internet for advice? Sure, we all do, and I (Deb) remember one-time typing the words, “How to be a good Mother-In-Law,” and quickly regretting it! I began to discover the unpopularity of mothers-in-law, and it felt very discouraging to me as I pondered the world’s view of this important relationship.

When I became a daughter-in-law, I felt blessed to have another mom. My mother passed away when I was 20, so I was thankful to have someone to call “Mom” and to step in where I needed maternal influence and help. I will always be grateful for the wonderful Joan Weakly!

While praying about this Bible study, I felt a deep desire to share a message of hope which says you CAN be close to your in-laws. It is possible! So much of the time, what you think about, you bring about (Proverbs 23:7). Going into your marriage believing you’ll have great relationships with your parents and in-laws will help you to thrive together.

To add another perspective to this study, I asked my daughter’s sweet mother-in-law, Mary, to write with me. By God’s grace, we are great friends and thank God for bringing us all together. We always assumed we would be friends and God has blessed our faith!

I (Mary) have also noticed that mothers-in-law are often the subject of jokes, and it presents a pessimistic view of that family relationship. Does it need to be that way? No! I enjoyed a beautiful relationship with my mother-in-law, Anne. Did it take time, flexibility, determination and dependence on the Holy Spirit? Yes. But it was wonderful! I learned SO much from her!

I know she tolerated many things in me when I did things differently than she would, but I always felt her love. I tried to show her love in many ways including saying, “I love you” and calling her “Mom.” I sent notes of blessing and tried to treat her with respect. Anne was a real blessing to me!

We hope this study gives you encouragement as you develop your vital relationship with your in-laws. We are still a work in progress and have made many mistakes over the years, but thankfully, our in-laws gave us much grace.

Here are some tips we found helpful in our relationships to encourage you in yours: 

  • Pray for each other and your relationships. God will show up.  Ask God to bless your relationships and for the help to love each other in a way each person feels loved (Ephesians 6:18).
  • Be humble and give grace as much as possible (Ephesians 4:2).
  • Try to find the good in your in-laws. Most of the time you will find what you are looking for in a person. Look for the good (Proverbs 11:27)!
  • Be kind and refuse to gossip when you talk about your mom/mother-in-law. NEVER vent in front of or to your children (James 1:26, Proverbs 11:13).
  • If your in-laws aren’t believers, give lots of grace. Who knows how we would all act without the love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives (Ephesians 2:1-2)?
  • If there are ever issues, try to assume the best. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt (1 Corinthians 13:7 and Philippians 4:8).
  • Do unto others as you would have done to you. What goes around, comes around. Remember, you are going to be a mom-in-law and a mom of grown children someday. Your kids are watching you (Matthew 7:2)!
  • Help your children cultivate a relationship with their grandparents. God uses children in mighty ways (Romans 12:10 and Matthew 7:12).
  • Keep trying. Don’t ever give up on the relationship. Don’t allow hurt to fester. Talk about it or overlook it. God commands us to forgive and get rid of ALL bitterness (Ephesians 4:31-32)!
  • Encourage your husband to be close to his family. Do your part to being close to yours. Parents enjoy spending one on one time with their children on occasion (1 Corinthians 13:7).
  • Write notes of thanks and encouragement. Be specific (1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 3:13).
  • Make an effort to be together (Hebrews 10:25).
  • Call your mom and mother-in-law. Make sure your children Skype if you live far away.
  • Don’t listen to Satan. He is a liar and wants to cause trouble in your family. Guard your thoughts. He hates families, especially Christian ones! Overcome evil with prayer and the love of Jesus (1 Peter 5:8).
  • Remember, the world is watching. Jesus says they will know we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).

Questions to Ponder

  • During your quiet time, pray and ask God to show you how to love your parents and in-laws with the love of Christ.

Faith-Filled Idea

  • Put feet to your prayers! Do something to show your love! Send your parents and in-laws a note telling them something you love about them or call them to see how they are doing, or whatever you feel God is laying on your heart to show them love. If it’s crazy or humbling, do it! The way of love is always best!


deb and mary 4

family 2a



Deb Weakly and Mary Frieg
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14 Comments on “How to Thrive With Your In-Laws”

  1. Trying to understand why my sister-in-laws don’t want me to be part of family get togethers.
    I helped take care of both their parents and would do it all over again if they were still alive. Since their passing the sister-in -laws have basically ignored me, not included me in get togethers. I was not included in a bridal shower for one of my husbands nieces. The bad part was my husband thought that I just didn’t want to go when in fact I was never invited. That almost caused a problem between my husband and myself. When he asked his older sister about why I wasn’t invited he was told that it was due to Covid but yet there were small children invited and others that weren’t even close family who attended. What made my husband even more upset was that when their Mom (My Mother-in-law) was at the end the same sister who didn’t include me, couldn’t help care for her Mom because of illness, so I took it upon myself and took her place, because her own sisters didn’t want to take her place. Now that none of them have any use for me I have just been discarded. I don’t know what to do. I know I have never wronged any of them in any way, so I need to know what I should do because my husband doesn’t want anything to do with that sister. I don’t like seeing this destroy their family. Please help if possible.
    Thank you so much in advance for any assistance.

    1. Hello Cindy,
      You have such a beautiful heart. What a gift you are to your husband and his family. You are so kind to care for your mother in law too. I am so sorry you are going through this. God is with you. Ask Him each day for wisdom and what He thinks you should do. So much of the time, He simply wants us to pray and wait. I am praying for you right now.
      With much love,

  2. I have a daughter & living with my defector partner😊We have been praying for our marriage 😭We both not working but I know there’s a God who will bless us financially 😢Have been having problems with my in-laws 😭It’s really hard dealing with them😭…

  3. This is such a good exhortation Mary & Deb! Every married woman should be encouraged to follow these great steps to a healthy M I L relationship. I did all the things NOT to do; I talked about my mil to my sisters, I complained about our diferences to my husband, I didn’t appreciate her experiences or wisdom and we struggled in the beginning…but God is good! With maturity and prayer – we now love one another. Thanks for helping other mamas get on track to a peaceful family!

    1. I am SOOOO glad to hear that things are good Rae-Ellen! God heals everything! It takes time, lots of prayer and work for successful relationships. I am so proud of you for continuing to work on your relationship with your in-laws.
      I’m sure they love you a whole lot!! 🙂

  4. Thanks Deb and Mary for such amazing grounded ways in which we should interact with our parents and in laws.. Thank You for allowing God to use you! Many Blessings!?

    1. I appreciate you, Pam!! God is so good to give us family to love! It’s a beautiful picture of God’s big family and how we have many wonderful relationships to look forward to in heaven! 🙂

  5. What a lifegiving, encouraging devotional! Thanks Deb & Mary for touching on this subject…I just recently became a M-I-L and want to thrive and love well in this role. The verses highlighted in this study are awesome!

    1. Thanks so much MariJo! It’s so wonderful to be a mom-in-law! I’m so thankful for our son-in-law, Alex!! Isn’t it wonderful to expand our families to include more children! 🙂

  6. What a unique and special relationship it is between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law! I am so blessed with my mother-in-law and am so thankful for that! But it is so wonderful you both wrote on this topic that we don’t hear about too often and you have provided such great scriptural advice! Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much Kristall!! I am so thankful you have such a wonderful mom-in-law!! I do too!! She is truly a gift from God to me and my family! 🙂

  7. Thanks Deb and Mary! Paul is on his way back from the airport. He picked up his dad who has been on a ten day trip to visit two of his children and their families. Since he lives with us, it has been a refreshing reprieve for us and our boys. I want to be gracious with a loving welcome upon his return. I appreciate this encouragement!

    1. Julie, you are such an amazing daughter-in-law! Not many women would move their parents in with them and I know God sees you and all of the love you show to Your father-in-law. You are such a blessing to all who know you!❤️

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