“That’s easy!” Ever heard those words?
“It’s so simple!” Really?
The word “simple” is an indication of the level of complexity of an activity or concept. “Easy” refers to the level of comfort that a person experiences in that activity or with that concept.
So, “simple” and “easy” are not synonymous.
Check out what these terms might mean when applied to the MIL/DIL relationship.
Having a healthy, thriving relationship with your MIL or DIL is really simple! All you need to do is practice mutual respect, consideration, forgiveness and love … all the time. Simple. It’s not rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. Both of those require years and years of schooling, training and experience. Both involve complex computations, scientific equations, skilled manipulations and expensive equipment.
Not so with having a great MIL/DIL relationship! It requires none of the above. It’s really simple. Don’t you agree that everyone knows how to forgive? Weren’t you taught at a very early age to respect your elders? Remember that old adage your mom drilled into you – “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Of course.
So, we all know how to do what we need to do to enjoy those Hallmark holiday celebrations with the family; to have great conversations and interactions with our son’s wife or our husband’s mother. And might it be significant to these special men in our lives if that were the case? I hear a resounding “Yes!” from “the peanut gallery”.
Simple? Yes. Easy? Not so much.
Jimmy Evans presents marriage enrichment seminars for couples from age twenty to 90. And one of his premises that I remember really well is that “We – all of us – are ‘messed up!'” So, when we accept the fact that every one of us has failings, weaknesses, brokenness, quirkiness and irritating habits, we understand why “easy” isn’t the word to describe many relationships.
True, none of us are perfect. If I’m not perfect and you’re not perfect, chances are that – thrown together for any length of time (and isn’t that what happens to MILs and DILs?) – we’ll unintentionally rub each other the wrong way, miscommunicate, misunderstand, disappoint, offend and disagree.
Simple! Be kind in all your dealings with your MIL/DIL. Speak, act and even think respectfully in all your dealings with one another. When you are offended, forgive quickly. When you offend, apologize sincerely. And be generous when patience and acceptance are needed. And they regularly are!
Easy? Nope. But, think about this: Are you even able to do that with your spouse? The person that you love most in the whole world? Rarely is that easy. But, it’s oh so worth it.
Why do I say that?
Because of the person you will become in the process.