A friend, John Backman, has recently written a book entitled Why Can’t We Talk? .. Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart. In it, he speaks about the “soul work” that must be done by those who truly desire to dialogue with people of all different worldviews, backgrounds, cultures and persuasions. It has struck me that I’m hearing this same idea in regards to building and growing a great MIL/DIL relationship. The condition of the hearts of those involved is tantamount to its success or failure.
Are the MIL & DIL automatically comfortable with one another? If so, great! If not, then what? Do they easily find topics of common interest so that there is no lack of stimulating conversation? If so, great. If not, then what? And do they bond quickly and permanently?
Even thought they both love the same man, they grew up in different generations. One knows better who their man was and the other knows better who he is. Oftentimes, there is discomfort, unease, misunderstanding, awkwardness, barriers and unrealistic expectations between the two women. What then?
That’s the opportunity – not the problem. That’s the place of growth, personal as well as relational — blossoming, refinement, discovery – about oneself, others, this world and, perhaps even what God is calling one to become.
“In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet.” — Alice Abrams
“Soul work” is challenging. It is uncomfortable, even painful. It calls for the continual cultivation and practice of humility, forgiveness, graciousness, patience, kindness, generosity, acceptance and love.
Whew! Now, I’ve got enough to work on for the next 50 years. And by then, the MIL/DIL relationship will no longer be an issue for me. 😉