4 Tips for Building a Strong Relationship with Your Daughter-in-Law
Are you trying to improve your relationship with your daughter-in-law? Do you want to create a better understanding and reduce tension? If these are a few of the questions that frequently enter your mind, then read on for some answers.
Mothers Are Always Mothers
I’d like to attempt to answer the question about why there is tension within the relationship. Mothers are always mothers, even when they become grandmothers. When our son marries, we often feel relegated to the back seat, second place and total background of his life. The sad truth is that this is the way life unfolds and it is a natural, necessary process. We cannot change this and must accept it.
The good part is our son will always have a place in his heart for us and he will always love us. If we accept his love, no matter how it filters our way, then we are not going to be as bothered with the changes.
Change is a Huge Issue
At a time when our children are getting married, we are going through menopause. We are experiencing the empty nest syndrome, and the reality of retirement. We deal with illnesses we have acquired along our life’s path. The frosting on the cake may be our feelings of loss.
Transformation is difficult. However, life is not over and when we get through the thickets we see relief and a new existence unfolds. Like the butterfly, we must peel off the cocoon to make life alterations. We fear this because even new changes are difficult to cope with. We are comfortable within our current existence and don’t want to move forward, although we realize changes happen throughout our lives and are at the core of our existence.
I remember being at one son’s apartment helping him hang up curtains one week and within a short time, I was told to call before coming over. It is a part of life’s alterations even if I or others don’t like it.
Start the Relationship with Your Daughter-in-Law Early
Trouble begins at the start of a son’s relationship if a mother does not recognize the potential girlfriend as a possible future wife and daughter-in-law. Even if you have gotten off on a bad start to the relationship, it is still possible to rekindle it and evolve the bond into a happy relationship.
As difficult as letting go can be, a problematic relationship with your daughter-in-law is painful and full of stress and anxiety. I choose peace.
Respect the Boundaries
Mothers-in-law have a new playing field. They need to refrain from disregarding boundaries, respect rules – even if they don’t agree with them and think they are ridiculous. Your son loves this person. She is now his family. Stepping back a bit and recognizing the importance of his union and the onward cycle of life is crucial.
Mothers give their children strong roots of stability and growth. No one should cut those roots nor break them down. Daughters-in-law give their husbands wings to fly to new places and experience new beginnings and life itself. We do not clip the wings. How fortunate is the man-in-the-middle who is able to keep and nurture both wings and roots.
I have been studying this relationship for over 20 years and have found some things to be true. My surveys and investigations span two generations. I began my books as a daughter-in-law and finished them as a mother-in-law. It allowed me to discover both points of view, not only through my mind but through my heart.
Are you a new mother-in-law? How are you building a strong relationship with your daughter-in-law? What have you found most challenging? What has been the most positive outcome of the new relationship? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Pamela Reynolds is a Connecticut-certified teacher in elementary and Special Education. She taught for over 20 years in public and private schools and is now retired. The author of The Princess and the Queen, Pamela also writes about relationships on her website. She is married and has four children, three daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and nine grandchildren.