New Family Ties Forged Through Marriage

My husband and I both have been very fortunate on the in-law front. There was some awkwardness getting used to each other’s families and with our Fathers but we both have good relationships with our Mother-in-Laws. His Mom and I were very close, so much so, that he has commented that his Mother loved me more than him. We became friends and I ended up spending a lot of time with her over the years. My Mother is also a great Mother-in-Law to my husband. She is very respectful of him and treats him like a son.

When my first son was engaged, I came to the realization that my opportunity to teach and influence him was coming to an end. I remember lying awake all night, thinking about what I had not shared with him that I thought he should know and have a chance to form his own opinions on. I also realized that if I want to stay close with my son, I needed to develop a relationship with his wife.

There are a lot of emotions and commotion that accompanies a child getting married and and starting a new life. During this period, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and business and act on instincts. It is often a stressful time and can be hard to take inventory of our emotions and feelings. This is a good time to be mindful about accepting this new person into the family and show love, understanding and charity towards them.

“Parents who can work toward inclusion of new son- or daughter-in-law and who show increased love and support have the best relationships with their married children and more influence in the lives of their grandchildren.” (Harper & Olsen)

I now have two amazing daughter-in-laws who we love and appreciate. However, we need to continually work at respecting our children’s decisions and supporting them through their challenges.

Harper, J. M. & Olsen, S. F. (2005). “Creating Healthy Ties With In-Laws and Extended Families.” In C. H. Hart, L.D. Newell, E. Walton, & D.C. Dollahite (Eds.), Helping and healing our families: Principles and practices inspired by “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (pp. 327-334). Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company.

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