Tag Archive | MIL/DIL Relationship

Affirmations for MILs & DILs – Round 5

They keep coming in!

Here are a few from a woman whose DIL and daughter text her regularly during the day, including her in the messages to each another when sharing ideas, experiences and questions. A bit of comfort in those relationships, eh?

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I will remind myself that my DIL has her way of doing things and I have mine. Neither is wrong – just different.

I will always give her space to build her own family. I need to let them establish their own home.

As a MIL, I will remember how it felt when I was the DIL and let that guide my words, attitudes and actions.

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That last concept …. You MILs out there, didn’t you use it when you were raising teenagers? It helped, didn’t it?!

Do it.

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The Wedding

When our son asked Juliana for her hand in marriage, we were delighted! We had long thought that they seemed so right together and after three years, they were still so enamored with one another. Especially since we had seen him with no other girlfriends along the way, we thought “This is the one!”

What we weren’t prepared for was the social minefield into which we were so cavalierly stepping . My older sister whose son had married a couple of years before shared with me the traditional advice given to mothers-of-the-groom: “Shut up and wear beige!”

Ouch! Are you offended by that? I was. I look terrible in beige. 😉

Obviously, the advice was intended to counteract what often happens between young ladies – who’ve been dreaming of this day since they were young children (think Cinderella and Prince Charming) – and mothers who’ve been waiting – and perhaps praying – for decades for their sons to “tie the knot”. Rarely are these two groups of people playing the same movie in their heads.

Ta da! Conflict!

“Wait a minute!” the soon-to-be MIL thinks. “That’s not how this scene looks in my version of the story.”

“Of course” muses the soon-to-be DIL. I’ve always known that I would get married in jeans on the beach.”

So, let’s take a look at the traditional advice a bit more closely.

1. “Shut up!” Realize whose day it is and whose “once-in-a-lifetime” event it is. Yes, there might be cultural differences involved. Respect them. Yes, there will be differing expectations here. Respect them. This goes both ways. At the same time when a man and a woman decide to commit to one another for life in a sacred ceremony, they should be the ones to have the final say on how they do it, don’t you think? For others – even family – to force their wishes on an engaged couple is to plant the seed of resentment right in the middle of that relationship.

2. Wear beige. This day is about the bride and groom. It’s their party. Have you seen the movie “Monster-In-Law”? The mother of the groom was afraid of her very significant role becoming – all at once – so very insignificant. She feared “disappearing” in the estimation of others. She desperately wanted – even needed – affirmations to shore up her self-esteem. So, she dressed like a peacock and was ready to strut around, enjoying the admiring stares of all.

This is not the time nor the place to act like a supermodel. Realize that “It’s not about you!” Ask your STBDIL what she’s thinking about for colors and styles and then find something simple, yet flattering that would fit the category described. Be comfortable in it, but don’t plan on being the center of attention. The Mother-of-the-Groom is not the star of this show. She is merely a supporting actress.

Ah, the wedding. Mothers-of-the-Groom:  Heed the spirit – but perhaps not the letter – of this advice – Shut up and wear beige.

Acceptance – Let Grace Abound!

How do I do this MIL thing well?  What are the “tips”?  What is the secret to being a great MIL?

After a bit of searching online, I did find some advice about MILs and DILs that is worth repeating. Here it is: from http://www.grandparents.com:

“Let go of your expectations about how things should be

and work with the way things are.

This means accepting the complete cast of characters

who make up your whole crazy extended family ….”

 

Acceptance. Yeah. That’s a major component of a great MIL/DIL relationship.

When the Unthinkable Happens (part 1)

Exploring MILS & DILS as “Family, Friends and Allies” led me to visit with Susan, a woman who has 33 years of experience as a DIL with “a very strong-willed woman” as her MIL.  In her words “We have journeyed along a hard road, but have successfully traversed that road to arrive where we are now finally friends.” Here is part of her story – truly “a hard road” which, by the grace of God, their relationship survived and it continues still.  Read on ….

Susan has six sons.  She brags about it on her car’s license plate.  I’m envious, although it’s highly likely I would have lost my mind if I’d had that many kids, never mind all boys.  She rattles off their names, pausing to do the math when I ask their ages. mom & baby2

“I had a daughter between Alex and David.   That’s why there is a gap ….  I wasn’t slacking off!  She died as a baby at two and a half months old.”

I think my heart skipped a beat as the shock of what she had just said registered in my mind.   She had lost her only daughter?  I told her that she didn’t need to talk about this, if she didn’t want to.  She suggested that it was pretty pertinent to our discussion about the MIL/DIL relationship.

Susan and her family had been traveling from Oklahoma to Virginia and had stopped along the way to visit her in-laws.

“We had brought a crib and had set it up in the van.  It was sturdy with wooden slats on the sides.  When we got to my in-laws’ home, we planned to  bring in the crib for our infant daughter.  My MIL said ‘No, we have a crib.’  It was really a playpen with mesh sides and a pad on the bottom.  I wanted to bring the crib in because Sophie was used to it and it was safe.

‘No, no, no.   Use my crib” her MIL had said and Susan had relented, yielding to her MIL’s wishes.

I held my breath and pressed my lips together, sensing that my heart was about to break on Susan’s behalf.  Please don’t let her say what I think she is going to say next!

“So, I used her ‘crib’ and that night Sophie got wedged between the mattress and the sides and she suffocated.”

Silence.

In the middle of a busy afternoon at a coffee shop, the two of us were caught in a moment where there was no sound … no movement …. just deep sadness & pain. I looked directly at her, stunned.  More than 20 years later, her eyes watered and she blinked back the tears.

“How do you get over that?”  I asked as much to myself as to her, wondering if one ever could.tulips

“God” she replied simply and then repeated herself.  “God. That’s the only way.”

I’m trying to imagine the extent of the anger toward the woman who had played such a role in the death of a child and I just had to ask.  “How do you forgive your MIL after something like that?  And not simply forgive, but want to continue the relationship … and even…”  I paused here, considering …  “… even love her?”  Is it possible?

Susan repeated her answer.  “God.  God is BIG!  He’s SO big!

To be continued ….