Archive | April 2014

MIL/DIL Counsel: Never Heard This Before!

Recently read this interesting counsel on two-older-black-women-outdoors-14309798Tips to Improve Your Relationship with Your MIL:

“If you have the same standard for your mother-in-law as you have for your mother, then the problem will be gone.”

I’ve never heard that before!  Have you?

What do you think about that idea?  It sounds intriguing to me.  Could it work?  What would that look like and sound like?  How might it specifically play out?  About what standards are we talking here?

“Say it ain’t so” that we should take this to mean that if one has an unhealthy relationship with one’s mother that she should use this as a template with her MIL  So, should we talk about patience, kindness and respect?  Am I as considerate of my MIL at family gatherings as I am of my Mom?  Am I as willing to overlook her occasional faux pas?  What about including her in activities, outings, parties and discussions?

If I love my mother, should I also look to love my mother-in-law?  The answer, of course, is a resounding “Yes!”  And love means, in small part, to be generous in one’s thoughts about another.  Love results in a willingness to forgive and keep no record of wrongdoing, especially if it was inadvertent.Smiley Face Cupcakes Royalty Free Stock Photo, Pictures, Images And Stock Photography. Image 7823065.

Is this realistic?  Clearly, we are not proposing that we treat our MIL exactly the same as we treat the woman who wiped our snotty noses, got her hands goopy with Play Doh, made cupcakes for the classroom holiday parties, waited up at night when we were out on a date, and prayed for our spouses since the day we were born.  No, if we were blessed with a mother that nurtured and cared for us, that woman will always hold a special place of honor in our hearts.  And she will not be replaced by another.  Still, that doesn’t mean we cannot have a special place in our hearts for the woman who did all those things for the man we chose – of all the men we’d ever met – to do life with.  Perhaps, this, more than anything else is what is meant by “have the same standard”.

Are you interested in trying this on for size?  Let me know what you learn about her … and yourself. 😉

 

 

Advertisements

Over a Bowl of Fruit at Sammy J’s (part 2)

Bonnie and I continued our conversation as we nibbled on chunks of pineapple, plump, sweet blueberries and red, ripe strawberries at Sammy J’s Breakfast Cafe.  She was sharing her experience with her soon-to-be MIL.

Hmmm … curious.  Had she recognized before the engagement that Matt’s mother might not welcome her into the family?

“Bef-euro-diamond-engagement-ring-platinumore we (Matt & I)became engaged, I was a friend of the family.  I had dinners with them, participated in activities with them.  No one really took our relationship seriously.  I think they knew it was coming, but denial is a beautiful thing!”  She again broke into laughter.

She and Matt had dated for two years and when she became his fiancée, things picked up speed.  In the short three months between engagement and wedding, “there was an epic battle.”

“Over what?” I asked.

“The wedding … where we would live … everything!  I yielded on the things that I didn’t care about – like what dresses the bridesmaids would wear.  Have your way!”

The blender whirred in the background and I imagined fruit, milk and honey being blended into a lip-smacking smoothie.  Blending… smoothie … The situation Bonnie described was an example of neither and I pondered how I might have reacted were I “in her shoes.”

“Your attitude was basically “Do whatever you want?” I offered.bridesmaids dresses

“Yeah.  And she did.  His mom planned the whole wedding.”

Matt’s sister chose the bridesmaids’ dresses.

“Yeah, and she let me pick the color.”

Bonnie had wanted a small, intimate ceremony and reception, but that was not to be.

**********************

It could easily be argued that a bride and groom should be the ones to plan the details of their own wedding.  At the same time, I recognized that Bonnie had employed that wise principle of “choosing one’s battles.”   “Do you really need to ‘die on that hill’?”my husband would ask me when we were raising our two sons.  “Can you let go of this issue and allow them to do it “their way?”

I never knew a battle that I didn’t want to fight to the finish.  … But, that’s not wisdom.  Bonnie, on the other hand, must have realized that, to have any kind of a chance of a decent relationship in the future,  she would need to allow her MIL some “say” in the matters about which she felt strongly.  And there were many.

Is this one factor in fostering a great MIL/DIL relationship?   Yielding to another for the sake of peace?  Sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no”.  And for soon-to-be-MILs:   Whose “day” is it, anyway?  It’s your son, but it’s their wedding – one of the biggest days of their lives.   Is there any good reason for demanding, manipulating, and otherwise overruling the wishes of the two to be wed?  Wisdom suggests a different course of action: open communication, honest conversations, and a cooperative approach – no matter who’s paying for it.  This is an event that will be remembered by all for many, many years to come.  And it often sets the tone for the future MIL/DIL relationship.

Five Minute Friday: Writer

woman-writing-in-diaryIt is time for Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo and her writing community. We write for just five minutes without editing.  It’s like an impromptu speech, but it is impromptu blogging.

This week the word is “writer.”

I am a writer.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing … in diaries, in journals, … poems, theatrical skits, …. magazine articles … eulogies for family members … I am a writer. And when I write, I smile! Because it’s one of the things that I do that makes me feel special and talented. I have a gift for it, you see, and I know it.  With that comes responsibility.  I’m exploring that now.  When one is called to write, she must write!  Whether anyone will ever read or pay to read her writing, write she must.
This putting of pen to paper makes me think that one day I will be noticed for my writing and that people will recognize that I have something worth listening to, something worthy of reading, something valuable that I’ve been able to articulate – beautifully, artistically, and ….
Stop.