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.
- 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!