June 2009 Amish Problem

The following problem question is posted in the June 2009 issue of Family Life. To subscribe, send $12.00 (US) to Pathway Publishers, Route 4, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada, N5H 2R3

Note – Three answers to the April question, from Family Life, have been posted in the answers section of A Real Amish Question. 

Next Problem

    The thing I have been secretly dreading for years is now in front of me. I am about to become a mother-in-law.

    It is my heart’s desire to have a loving and peaceful relationship with my son’s wife. Yet I’m not sure I know how. So often there is tension between in-laws, especially between the mother and daughter-in-law. What causes this? Why is the mother-in-law often regarded as a thron-in-the-flesh? (Or it can be vice versa)

   While I do not want to be a meddling, overbearing mother-in-law, neither do I want to cut myself completely out of the lives of my son and his wife. Can those with less than peaceful relationships tell me what I shouldn’t do? Also, those who have peace between them, what does your “mother” do that makes you fell loved and accepted?

   Is it okay for a mother-in-law to offer advice at any time? Or should she (no matter what) stay out of it?

                   – Wanting peace

Editor’s note —  I believe this has the potential to be a very helpful discussion. Let’s hear from all of you who have had experience, both positive and negative. Is there a special pitfall if in-laws live on the same property and rub shoulders every day? How can trust and understanding be built up rather than undermined?

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7 Responses to “June 2009 Amish Problem”

  1. I could say alot of things about being a mother-in-law. But the scriptures say it best. Matthew 19:5 -6″For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6: Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore G-d hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

    Your son and his wife are now one and are their own family, which comes before the extended family of parents and others. One should not meddle in their lives. Or talk badly or negatively to one about the other even if it is brought to you. This could do permanant harm. If they need some sort of help or council, there is professional help and or clergy. their new family together goes before blood family in anyway.


  2. I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law. She never meddled, but was always ready with advice WHEN ASKED. I have done the same with my sons’ wives. It helps that I really love both my daughters-in-law. I do listen when they complain about their husbands, but I bite my tongue. Learning not to speak is way more important than trying to figure out what to say. Most of the time they just want someone to vent to, and responding with any unkind words, even in agreement with them, is a mistake!


  3. I am not yet a mother-in-law, but my son turned 16 yesterday and he and his girlfriend are committed to marry someday as they feel that they were brought together by the Lord. With that said, I may possibly already have my future daughter-in-law. Since my son was little I have always been of the thinking that I was raising a young woman’s future husband. I have taught him to be a gentleman and he is able to cook, clean, and iron…he even rubs shoulders and feet without prompting. I tell him that if I want to see him after he gets married someday then I need to raise him right so his future wife will appreciate the man he is and let him see his mom.

    The other thing that I feel strongly about is treating her like she is part of the family. She is often with us and has imput in activites, meals, etc. She cooks with me in the kitchen…she says so she is able to cook all of his favorites. We talk and joke and enjoy each other’s company. Additionally…our families are also close. We spend time doing things as a combined family…going to the beach, eating dinner, going on college visits…and I think it has made us all closer.

    In the end…I am hopeful that all that I have done will mean I get to see my son. We are so incredibly close and he is very protective of me. At the same time, he is a young man now and has his own life and interests…so he needs to be independent. And…as much as I have tried to fight it…sometimes I am jealous that he spends more time with her than with me…but then I have to remember that this is simply another part of God’s plan for his life. He must take these necessary steps in order to move into adulthood and become a Christian husband someday…whether it’s with girlfriend or with another woman the Lord has chosen for him.

    Keep the communication open with everyone involved. Be there to offer help when it is needed or just be there to offer a listening ear. I’m often surprised what both my son and his girlfriend will come to me with because they know that I will listen and not judge. And I try to give advice that is level and rational and not swayed by my heart…not always easy…but worth it. After that…I pray…and pray…and pray!


  4. As the parent of two adult children I am at least relatively close with and one who has forbidden us to talk to, visit, or even acknowledge her children, I feel I can have a little different perspective on things because of the situation I am in.

    No matter what happens, pray for your children and their spouses. Remember that we made mistakes coming up, and they are bound to make a few as well. Some of them will put themselves in situations that will lead them away from God, no matter how hard we pray and intercede for them, and will even forswear the faith they were raised in and choose instead to live in bitterness and a life away from God’s guidance.

    Our problem is compounded in that we share property lines with this child and her spouse and family. It is diffcult mowing the yard and being called derogatory and profane names, of being accused of things we all know are not true.
    At these times, all we can do is offer them up to the Lord, keep them in our prayers and intercession, and let them go no matter how difficult it is. God,s plans are far above ours and letting the rebellious ones pass into His hands is, though difficult, the best thing we can do.

    When I look back at how I raised my children on my own after their father left us, I remember taking them to church and teaching them the Word and how to pray and listening to godly music and the like; and it seems, at this point, that it didn’t maybe do all that good. However, if and when I remember that God sees so much more than I do, and that He has things in His hands, I am at peace. I know that I did the best I could. I prayed for their spouses even when they were young. I trained them all, teaching them to do basic household chores like laundry, cooking, dishes, mending, mopping, simple sewing, baby care, and the like. I prayed for my children every day, and I still do.

    Sometimes, it is all we can do, and it is important not to let our peace be stolen by one of the greatest thieves of all. I will pray for them, and lift them up, and stand, having done all I can do. I will rest in the peace of Father God and trust that He knows far better than I do what paths my children must walk to reach His side, and that He is far more capable than I of directing them to those paths.

    All being said and done, I rest in His hands and trust Him to know and do and allow what is best for all my loved ones, even if it passes the limits of my earthly understanding.


  5. Being an in-law can be what we determine it to be. We can learn from our experiences with and from our own parents and in-laws… the things we have seen work/not work in our parent’s home with our spouse/ourselves. We can chose what we know has worked and nurture it… we can shun what has not worked. We must love unconditionally, as Christ loves us. All are different individuals with opinions of their own that must be respected. Our children’s family/homes are their private havens, so we must not interfere in any way. We can/should advise when asked, otherwise, be silent. Try to imagine your children living far away from you where you would not be able to intermingle with them as often/much and make each visit from/to them a welcomed/special event. Remember the in-law is part of you and your family, not an outsider.
    As Ms.Godwin wrote, allow interaction into your family activities before your children marry… build friendly relationships with the other’s parents/family. Love and prayer always work. With God’s help, we can make a difference in the lives and homes of our children by how we teach/train them – by example, in the Bible, in praying with/for them and their spouses, and by accepting/respecting the differences of each person. Remember that our children, prayerfully with God’s help, make their own choice of their spouses, so if they can accept/live with the differences, we should also.


  6. I had a rocky 10 years with my daughter-in-law. It was terrible at times and the grandchildren were kept away and son was estranged for some time because of it. It nearly broke my heart.

    Recently my daughter-in-law became a born again Christian and she is like a different person. She is now a child of God and now with us both being Christians we have it in common and things are going very well.

    I have not ever meddled into their lives, I am very proud of all of my children and grandchildren. The best thing is to never meddle, Answer for advice only when asked and in a way that would not point fingers at
    anyone. Just love her as you love your son, let her know that she is very welcome in your home. If she lives close by include her in your life and have an occasional outing with her. If my daughter in law was closer in distance that is what I would do.
    God Bless you – you know what to do and what not to do – it is just all common sense.


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