I know that I’m very blessed to have such a sweet and godly mother-in-law! One of the things I appreciate about her most is that she may give suggestions at times, but she doesn’t ever tell me what to do or try to push her own agenda. She lets me be my own woman, while being there to help me whenever I need it. Do we sometimes have misunderstandings and unintentional hurt feelings? Yes! We’re still learning about each other! But with every visit, we seem to grow closer and closer. This past week, she came to stay at our house for a few days, and we had SUCH a good time together, as a family! She made food ahead and brought it with her, so that neither of us would have to fix meals, and so it wouldn’t be a financial burden on us to have her come for a visit. How many mother-in-laws do you know that would be thoughtful enough to do that?!
I’ve heard of the mother-in-laws with never a kind word, who call to talk to their sons twice a day and act like their daughter-in-laws can’t do anything right. If you have one like that, you may feel like you have NOTHING in common with her, and that you’ll NEVER get along. The truth of the matter is, however, that if we love our husbands deeply and think they’re sweet and wonderful, we usually have a mother-in-law to thank for it! And there’s surely SOMETHING good you can learn from them! You can be grateful even for an UNSAVED mother-in-law, and let her know that you appreciate her!
What does God want you to learn from other women in your life? What does He want to teach you through your mother-in-law? We can try to do it all on our own. We can imagine that we can take care of ourselves. But that isn’t the way God designed for it to be. Titus 2:3-5 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Before we were married, Brandon would talk about all the good food his mama made, and suggest that I take some cooking lessons from her. He meant well, but I’d grow tense and let myself feel hurt and defensive every time he mentioned it. And then there was, “My mom has taken care of lots of babies and children, why don’t you ask HER?” . . . But I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know what I was doing! I think this is, perhaps, the main reason for all of the jokes and comments in our society about “mother-in-laws”. As a wife, we want to be recognized for our own strengths and abilities, and are afraid of looking badly to the woman who raised our husband! Don’t you think SHE had to ask questions and learn some things, too, through the years?! This past week, my Mama #2 showed me how to cook pumpkin. We worked in the kitchen for HOURS, but chatted with each other, enjoyed the smell of pumpkin pies and pumpkin cupcakes baking, and had a great time together! My mom-in-law was being a “teacher of good things”.
Certainly, the perfect mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is found in the book of Ruth. “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried . . .” (Ruth 1:16-17) Later, in Ruth chapter 2, even Boaz had heard of Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law Naomi. “And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.” Do others know that YOU love your mother-in-law? Or do you only gripe and complain about her to others, and talk about how “miserable” she makes your life? The women of Bethlehem spoke to Naomi, calling Ruth “ . . . thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons . . .” (Ruth 4:15) Is that how other women see YOU as a daughter-in-law? Do they know that you love your mother-in-law and treat her well? John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”