The Benefits of a Strong Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationship
Since the mother-in-law is the more mature of the two women, she may have more of the responsibility to steer the relationship with her daughter-in-law into the haven of love. The responsibility begins with her determination to love no matter what or with the same unconditional acceptance that a mother demonstrates toward her newborn. Even if the daughter-in-law enters the relationship with an attitude of defiance or indifference, the wise mother-in-law can find ways to love the young woman into a friendly, supportive relationship.
Tips for developing a good relationship are listed by Barbara Graham who writes for the American Grandparents Association site. Some may be difficult, but not impossible.
Here we want to discuss five important benefits for the mother-in-law who invests in a loving relationship with her daughter-in-law. The aim is not just to be civil, but to really love—like a mother-daughter relationship. It happens! (Check out the how-to video at the end).
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.— Robert A. Heinlein
5 Benefits of a Strong Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationship
1) Her Daughter-in-Law Keeps on Loving Her Son
When a son chooses a wife, wisdom dictates that his mother respects his choice, decides to love her, and commits to supporting their marriage. What woman doesn’t want her son to be loved by the woman he loves? So she makes it easy for his wife to love him. She affirms the wife, makes her feel accepted and significant; because the wife who feels loved is empowered to give love.
The mother who rivals her daughter-in-law for her son’s attention or approval creates problems for her son. She may get some evil thrill from making her daughter-in-law miserable, but if she raised her son to be a real man he may stand up for his wife at the cost of upsetting his mother. Some wives have left their marriages when the husband's mother creates too hot a hell for the couple, or when the son buckles under the dominance of his mother.
On the other hand, the woman who loves her daughter-in-law gives her one more reason to love the man who brought her an angel for a mother-in-law.
2) Her Daughter-in-Law Trusts Her With the Grandchildren
Distrust of the grandparent (the mother-in-law) causes the mother (daughter-in-law) anxiety concerning whether the grandmother should or should not spend time with the grandchildren. She wonders:
- “How can she really love my children unless she loves me?”
- “What will she do to sabotage my parenting?”
- “Will she even try to keep them safe?”
None of these negative concerns surfaces in the mind of a mother (daughter-in-law) who knows that the grandmother (her mother-in-law) loves her and always wants the best for her and her family.
The two women may not always agree on parenting issues, but the grandmother gives her daughter-in-law the right to make the laws that govern her children’s lives. She facilitates her trust by respecting those rules in the interest of the children. The little ones will learn more positive lessons from watching a loving relationship between mother and grandmother than from forced adherence to a habit that creates strife.
3) The Mother-in-Law Gets the Chance to Be a Mentor
There are women who set out from day one to underscore their daughter-in-law’s incompetence and set themselves up as experts on supplying their son’s needs. They are crazy and will spread craziness among those who let them.
How will life for them be different if the mother-in-law offers to help when the daughter-in-law requests it, rather than criticize her efforts to make her husband happy? Chances are that when the younger woman tries and fails, and is convinced that her skills are limited, she will feel comfortable enough to seek help from his mother if:
- His mother has proven her ability to coach without being critical and judgmental;
- She does not barge in uninvited to take over, but waits for an invitation to help;
- She admits to her own failures before successes, in personal stories that encourage her daughter-in-law.
This is the beginning of a mentor-mentee relationship that can last as long as necessary.
4) Both Women Enjoy a Supportive Friendship
The two women do not have to share intimate details of their entire lives in order to share support for the part of their lives that they have in common.
In the interest of her son and his family, the mother-in-law can stay socially close, offer assistance and advice when asked, look for opportunities to compliment and appreciate her daughter-in-law without meddling into her private affairs. The daughter-in-law can show similar respect and appreciation for a mother-in-law who contributes to her family’s happiness. They can enjoy spending time together with the children or working by themselves on other common interests. What is important is that they consider each other to be an emotional, social and even spiritual asset. Mutual love will eventually blossom.
5) The Joy in Her Son's Family Contributes to Her Joy
Despite what the Mother’s Day card says about the world’s best mom, most mothers will admit to falling short in some area of their parenting. They want to succeed in loving their grandchildren in ways that they failed to love their own.
A visit with the grandchildren gives them that opportunity. The long distance to get there seems nothing but a passing breeze. Arthritis pains, medical bills and insurance premiums cease to matter. It is sheer joy to celebrate single-digit birthdays, listen to show-and-tell stories, watch the grandchildren rip the gift paper from around the new gifts, and get lost in the embrace of a second-generation offspring.
Who wants to miss out on happy moments like these? A wise mother-in-law will learn to appreciate the daughter-in-law who invites her to participate. Love seems like the most appropriate response from a mother-in-law toward the woman who causes such boundless joy to her son, her grandchildren and to her.
Four Very Helpful Tips in Six Short Minutes
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Dora Weithers