6 Things I Did Wrong as a Daughter-in-law

how daughter-in-laws make things worse with mother-in-laws
It's so easy for a daughter-in-law to have a messy relationship with her mother-in-law, and we usually lay the blame on the mom. But I realize I did 6 things in my relationship with my mother-in-law that caused major problems:  

1. Thinking she should do things like my mother 
We all grow up with certain expectations of family life…who will help with the dishes, who initiates holiday events, how gift-giving is handled, etc. We need to allow our husband’s mother her differences without being offended. 

2. Sharing my beliefs in a self-righteous way 
Whether our in-laws are Christians or not, we can offend them by sharing our faith without love and grace, kind speech and pure motives. We are more apt to win our MIL with kindness than preaching.

3. Handling Conflict poorly 
Conflict is a real test of honor. Honor requires that we express our differences with grace and respect, listening carefully, trying to understand, answering carefully and prayerfully. Even if our in-laws show little respect for us, we're called to the high standard of honor.*

4. Not Encouraging My Husband to Honor His Parents 
If I’m my husband’s helpmate, I’ll encourage him to become the person God wants him to be. This means reminding my husband to call his parents, to remember the things that are important to them, to pray for them, to build his relationship with them—it’s commanded by God with a promise attached…a promise that will affect my life and my children’s lives, not simply my husband. 


5. Having A Selfish Perspective 
It wasn’t until God got ahold of my heart in this area that I started looking at things from my mother-in-law’s perspective instead of simply from my own. When I did, I could look back on things we’d said and done and realize how disrespectful or hurtful they had been. 

6. Being Petty 
Sometimes we just need to overlook the small stuff…not even talk about it…just let it go. 


Homework: study these verses this week and ask God to help you apply them to your relationship with your in-laws. 

Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value [your mother-in-law] above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

* Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 

Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your [mother-n-law’s] eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your [mother-in-law], ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your [mother-in-law’s] eye. 
All Scripture NIV

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18 comments:

  1. These are spot on. My husbands family is wonderful, but I have to remember these. I think the hardest one is #3, it is so easy to over react. Stopping by from the link party. I am a new follower. Hope to see you at True Aim! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Tulip, I think #3 is probably hardest for all of us. But perhaps the most important of all. Thanks for sharing, Gail

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  2. These are great tips for more than just MIL/DIL relationships. I am blessed to have an awesome MIL but even then there are times we disagree. :)

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    1. You're so right, Mindy. These things will make any relationship better. Thanks for that reminder. Gail

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  3. I just lost my mother in law to cancer two months ago. Looking at what you wrote I know I probably did a lot of that in the beginning. It took me most of my marriage to appreciate her for who she was and the ways in which she supported me. At the end of her life, I know that she loved me as a daughter and thought I was the best for her son. I truly wish I had cultivated our relationship earlier.

    What a great inspiration for daughters in law...thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Lisa, my story is much the same. I have a wonderful relationship with a wonderful mother-in-law now, but there was a time when I saw things so differently. I'm so glad God got a hold of my heart. Thanks for sharing! Gail

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  4. It is always great to link up on Titus2sdays. Thanks for this great blog on accepting mother in laws. It took me many years to realize that my mother in law was raised differently and has been alive for 30 years more than me, so sometimes here perspective on things is better. I look forward to staying connected (deloranow.blogspot.com)

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  5. I'm over from Haven of Rest link up. Yep, I too fall short and often only think of things from my perspective. It is challenging to embrace our husbands' families, but at the end of the day I'm am so thankful for they job they did raising an amazing man, and I'm blessed everyday by their son.

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  6. Thanks for this post. I haven't seen too many around online about m-i-l relationships. Thankfully, I've been uber blessed to have the greatest mother-in-law that a girl could ask for and we get along well. Found your post from Pieces of Amy.

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  7. Great post! I haven't really thought much about my relationship with my MIL before reading this. Mostly because of distance, we don't spend much time with my in laws and I feel like I really don't know my MIL very well. Your post has encouraged me to work toward knowing her better.

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  8. thank you so much for this series. I have really enjoyed it. In my case, I can apply this to my parents since they are both still living. My mother-in-law was so sweet but I know that sometimes I hurt her because we did things differently. In my youthful way, I was not always considerate and while being too protective of the children, hurt her, I am sure. I would have loved to have read this post about twenty years ago and I am sure you would have loved to have reached this level too.

    Thank you so much, Gail, for linking up at WholeHearted-Home Wednesdays. I love your blog and read it just about daily, or catch up :-)

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  9. Lovely and insightful words of encouragement for all married women!
    Pride, jealousy, self-righteousness. Never pretty, never helpful. Thanks for sharing your story to encourage other wives to reach out in love to their MIL's, and thanks for linking up to NOBH.

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  10. This is a great series. The problem I have is I don't trust my Mother in law. I try to make an effort but I really don't want her talking about me to everyone else. Also her humor is usually at someone else's expense. For instance we go to my father in laws church (Nazarene) and she goes to a Catholic church. The pastor called one day while we were at her house and she said something like oh I thought it was someone important. Another time a girl came from our church that was friends with my SIL in school and used to be into bad stuff. She said oh they let anyone in at your church. So, how do you handle those kind of comments?

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  11. How I see it is, my own family can wear me out at times. I feel like I don't have much left to try to go beyond what I can with my husband's family. I am a bit of an introvert so it makes it extra hard and I suffer from depression. I have been praying about it.

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  12. Also my husband is not close to his family. They never hug or tell each other that they love each other. This really bothers me and makes it hard to go to family gatherings. I hug his parents and they hug me, but I find it hurtful that they never hug my husband.

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  13. I am guilty of most of these in the early years of our marriage also. Now I am the closest to my mother-in-law. She calls me first for advice, or needs and has already asked when she was sick if she had to tell her children since she told me. lol. What a change in our relationship when you are willing to do the necessary work to respect and honor her. Thanks for the post.

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    1. I love hearing others who've seen the same results in their relationship with their mother-in-law. Not sure I would ever have believed how close we'd be had I not experienced it. God's commands are so wise.

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