10 Ways to Help Your Child’s Marriage Succeed

Be the Perfect Mother-in-Law

There are reasons that comedians and cartoonists find rich fodder in the topic of mothers-in-law. It’s never easy to blend families, and mothers find it really tough to allow another to fulfill our offspring’s every wish. We mothers do that for decades before interlopers – wives, boyfriends, life partners – glom on to our children and spirit them away. With a little forethought, you can keep your son or daughter’s affection and gain a friend. Here’s how to be the perfect mother-in-law.

1. The New Girlfriend. Don’t judge her appearance by yours. Styles change, social rules change, and women change over the years. Enjoy her differences in makeup, hairstyles, clothing – learn a little something, and maybe grow a bit younger!

2. Remember that your little girl is not a child. She’s an adult, a woman. She has her own ideas, goals, and rules. They aren’t just like yours, but they came from you. You get credit for the fine woman she is becoming. Relax, her new love might give you credit for raising her right.

3. You love your son or daughter unconditionally, and you want happiness and success for them. Therefore, since he or she chose the new mate, you can find it in your heart to love that person, too. When your child chooses a career, you don’t swoon and go off the deep end – you’re proud and excited about the choice.

4. Give your grown child the gift of dignity, from your heart. Don’t pry, don’t judge. Teach yourself to step a short distance away and be available to support when you’re called upon.

5. Open your arms, your heart, and your home. Invite the new partner into your life with grace and generosity. Engage him in social conversation. Show interest in her as a person. Treat this person, beloved by your child, as you want to be treated.

6. Never gossip. Keep what you know to yourself and never share your personal misgivings with anyone else – especially with your child. Your son or daughter is learning and growing and doesn’t have the tools to deal with your criticism, however well-intended.

7. Find your own way. Make yourself socially available, but find new ways to fill your time so you don’t cling. Volunteer. Reach out to old friends. Make new friends. The more engaged you are in your life, the more appropriate your relationship with your son or daughter becomes.

8. If there’s trouble in paradise and the lovers quarrel, use every bit of will power you possess to remain neutral but lovingly supportive. Open your ears and close your mouth unless you offer advice based only in wisdom and guilelessness.

9. Do something special. Learn what your new in-law likes. Cook a favorite meal or gift a specially chosen item. Invite him or her to a movie or lunch.

10. Love authentically. No faking – BS detectors run full steam around in-laws. You had your own opportunities, your own challenges, and your own decisions to make. You made your mistakes. Defend your child’s right to do the same.

It’s not as tough as it sounds. If we, as mothers, put aside our impulse to grieve when our child finds a partner and seems to take wing, we can thoroughly enjoy the sight of that son or daughter soaring higher than we could. Humans have an endless capacity to love, and the more we love, the more we are loved. The perfect mother-in-law knows that intuitively.

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4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Help Your Child’s Marriage Succeed

  1. Jacqueline

    Hello,
    This can be a very touchy topic, but I have learned with 6 sons stay neutral, let them work out there problems, I have found if I give advice, but goes bad, I’m the bad guy, so I just try to be supportive with out giving advice.

    I have also learned, love there girlfriend or wife, if there becomes tension or disagreements between you and them, it causes tension and distance between you and your son as well as the grand-kids… so its not worth it.

    Within time everything works itself out, I try not to be the overbearing mother-law, in fact I pull back a bit just to allow them to grow as a couple, that to me is most important, but too often, I definitely keep my mouth closed!

    Blessings and Big Hugs!
    Jacqueline x9472

    Reply
  2. misskrystalmisskrystal

    This was excellent. Wonderful advice.
    However, it will for sure take will power and effort-but yes, with some work and focus, and perhaps, print and save these tips, there is a lot that can be done to improve these types of fragile relationship situations. Well done. Thanks, Miss Krystal

    Reply
  3. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    HI,
    Great article……remaining neutral is very important.

    Remember that ALL couples have disagreements at some time or another during their union.

    My son-in-law and I have a great relationship….my daughter has been happily married to him for 15 years now. In fact, my son-in-law is closer to me than he is his own parents because I never judge him. Both, my daughter and son-in-law consider me to be ” neutral territory “, I only give my advice to them when they ask for it, otherwise I keep my mouth shut!!!!!

    So give them BOTH respect, love, and allow them the room to grow and evolve into that relationship.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

    Reply

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