Having God's Heart for Your Mom-in-Law

David dealt with King Saul respectfully, David and Saul teach us about mother-in-law relationship
There are a number of things that set King David apart from other men and women in history, but God summed it up by saying David was “a man after God’s own heart.” *

One thing David did out of his deep love and respect for God was to honor King Saul. The fact that Saul was also David’s father-in-law makes this even more pertinent to us. I think you'll see how pertinent as we look at David's story.

Saul was a terrible king. God removed favor from Saul early in his reign but allowed him to rule 40 years. Saul deceived David, lied about him, turned others against him, threatened him, gave his wife Michal to another man, and tried to kill David. 

But David knew that God had given Saul his position as king, and David trusted God's purposes. Because David understood God's heart, he respected Saul.

David had many opportunities to discredit Saul, depose him and kill him. Sometimes those around David encouraged him to kill Saul because it looked like God had given David the go-ahead. But David refused to do anything to bring Saul personal harm. Before and after Saul’s death, David spoke of him with respect.

So how can we apply these principles to respecting our mil?
1. Realize that God gave our mil a position in our husband’s life and we inherited that position when we married him. Just as God chose Israel’s first kings, God alone chooses our parents.
2. Realize that our mil doesn’t lose her position or rights by being ungodly.**
3. Realize that well-meaning friends (even counselors) may encourage us to cut off relationship with our mil or “kill” her place in our family. Sometimes it may even seem that God is giving us opportunities to do this. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. (1 Samuel 24
4. Realize that God will reward us for honoring those who do not deserve honor.

I don’t know about you, but I want God to call me a woman after his own heart and I don’t want my attitudes toward my mil to disqualify me.

Homework this week: pray about the principles in this story and ask God to give you a deep respect for His choices in your life, especially the choice of your mil.

* David plunged into sin at one point and brought permanent damage to his life, but he restored his relationship fully with God through repentance. That's why God continued to call David a man after his own heart.
** Because Saul was unstable and violent, David didn’t trust Saul but he showed him respect. If your mil is unstable or violent, you will need to take measures to prevent her from harming you or your children, but please don’t use this excuse if you simply don’t approve of her.

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  1. This is a fabulous post and full of wisdom! Thank you so much for sharing this! I could have benefited from this counsel years ago! This is very practical and wise counsel that could serve many young couples well!!

  2. Interesting application from the story of David and Saul.

    I am so thankful for the positive relationship I have with my mother in law. She is such a blessing!

    Mary Beth

  3. I've had a roller coaster relationship with my MIL. In the beginning it was great, she was much more free-spirited than my own mother so I was drawn to her. But after the birth of my first son I felt that she was trying to control the way I parented and resentment began to build up... it was a very difficult time. After a few years we noticed a pattern and found that a lot of the drama between the two of us was being created or at least fueled by an outside party. Once we realized that we have been able to get along quite well for awhile now.
    THanks for sharing on this subject! God Bless You!

    1. I'm so glad that things have improved for you. I know God wants this relationship to be a good one, and in most cases it can be if we apply Biblical principles to our attitudes. It was wise for you to see that a 3rd party was part of the problem. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Great post. I am so lucky to have a wonderful loving MIL with the biggest heart, we didn't always get along like we do now, but she is a wonderful friend now on top of being my mother-in-law

  5. Thought-provoking post indeed! Glad we were neighbors today at Thought-provoking Thursday.

    This was a tough lesson for me to learn...and I'm so ashamed to say it took me years to fully appreciate my MIL. But I do. God is good.


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