In preparing for this series on mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships, I asked several women what they thought was the ultimate goal of their relationships with their in-laws. I loved the responses and wanted to share a couple here today:
To bond together by means of our families, through the eyes of Christ. To see one another as equals, knowing that grace levels the playing field. To care for one another, showing support and interest in one another's lives. Building one another up, for the sake of the Gospel. Being her Ruth, and her being my Naomi. Together, worshiping Christ at the foot of the Cross. - Lauren
To enjoy and love each other. When you are both believers, to enjoy fellowship with each other in Christ. Visits with my in-laws were a tear-bringing, anxiety and anger-inducing event when we were first married. It was taxing and stressful on me and my husband, and even within my relationship with my husband. Now, as we've both grown in our relationship, it is fun, pleasant, a blessing, and enjoyable for everyone involved. - Melissa
I think, particularly in difficult situations, it's easy to have a "grin and bear it" mentality about in-laws. Yes, we've heard the idea that you're not just marrying the man, you're marrying his family. But you probably didn't know his family when you first decided you might want to marry him.
What I love about the two quotes above is their focus on the ultimate purpose-- redeemed relationship, bonding, blessing worshiping.
You may have a great relationship with your in-laws, or it may be just horrible. You may be misunderstood or falsely accused. But as my friend Lauren said, grace levels the playing field. When we see ourselves as sinners, undeserving of love and grace, it becomes easier to love others. We love God because He first loved us. And we love and forgive others through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, empowering us to take the love we've been given and give it out as well.
As we continue in this series, we'll look at the hard stuff as well as the good stuff. We'll see more examples of what Christ has done in these relationships. Hopefully we'll all be encouraged to give out the grace with which we've been so richly blessed.