The MIL Chronicles
The MIL Chronicles
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Category Archives: Daughter-in-Law

What Does Forgiveness and Moving Forward Look Like?

Can you have one without the other? That is, moving forward without forgiveness? For me moving forward is a combination of knowing where you stand, accepting a person for who they are, and establishing boundaries “from this day forward” so to speak; never again being caught off guard or expecting someone to behave in a manner other than their true character. But does forgiveness mean you’re supposed to welcome the person back into your life as if nothing ever happened? Wipe the slate clean for instance? And if you’re not able to do this, does that mean you haven’t actually forgiven the person? What does it mean if you simply don’t desire a close relationship with your MIL after years of a tumultuous dynamic at best? Does that make you a horrible person incapable of forgiveness? Should you just take on an “it’s water under the bridge” attitude and be open to becoming “BFFs”? I know of many daughter-in-laws that struggle with this, and begin questioning their ability to forgive. I especially do when my mother-in-law wants to have small talk, for example, like we’re old girlfriends. It’s honestly uncomfortable for me because I don’t want to let her in; which means not having much to say. Blog Poll

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“When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them”

It’s one of my favorite quotes from the great Maya Angelou, and it’s so very true in every sense of the phrase. Yet many times we naively think, “he or she will change”, and “it will be different this time”. Then we’re surprised when someone does something that is in their true character to do, after turning a blind eye to the realities of the situation. I remember talking to a counselor and telling her about my mother-in-law’s behavior following a recent visit. I was surprised as she seemed so nonchalant about what I was telling her. In contrast, I was livid! My mother-in-law’s horrible behavior had reached new heights! Then she looked at me and said “I’m not surprised, and I don’t know why you are either.” She continued by telling me that my mother-in-law had been consistent, and had shown me who she truly was a long time ago, so why was I surprised by the things she continued to do. I was dumbfounded. All I could do was be silent and reflect on the magnitude of her incredibly simple summary of the situation. I realized I naively thought things would eventually be different; that with time she would change. I had given her the benefit of the doubt time and time again, but at that moment, I realized I hadn’t accepted her for who she truly was. Accepting someone for who they are goes hand in hand with the saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” I remember a friend of mine calling me while her mother-in-law was in town for a visit. After a horrible series of events during my friend’s baby shower, it was the first time she was seeing her mother-in-law since everything unfolded. Her MIL had offered … Continue reading

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“When You Marry Him, You Marry All of Us”…

Has anyone with a strained in-law relationship ever thought to them self, “This is not what I signed up for?” I know there have been many times that I’ve not only thought this, but I’ve even uttered the words! However, it’s a phrase everyone has heard at least once in their life regarding marriage; “When you marry him, you marry ALL OF US!” But is this really what you sign up for when you say “I do”? To be committed till death do us part to an entire family? While I think most people understand that marrying one person, means having to interact with the other person’s extended family with some level of frequency each year, but are you pledging the same vows to your spouse’s family as you are to your actual spouse? For the purposes of this blog, this question really comes into play when there is a strained relationship between a wife and mother-in-law. When there is continuous disrespect on all accords with no hope in sight, as in the case of Melissa and Betty, should you continue to forgive time after time and work on continuing a relationship because it’s your spouse’s family? Or is there ever a point in which you say, “I married you not your mother/ family and I’m done?” According to Dr. Phil, one quarter of divorced couples report that in-laws were “somewhat” responsible for their marriages ending. That’s 25% of divorced couples! It’s amazing to me that people outside of a marriage can have that much influence on what goes on between two people within a marriage. Maybe as our expert, Kimberly Gist Miller explained as it relates to the field of psychology, there are not only 2 people in a marriage, but at least six and maybe more! To some … Continue reading

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Rite of Passage – You Can’t Say “I Do” and Still Be a Boy

“All I can do is go to her and ask her about it, when she denies it, what am I supposed to do? It’s my mom.” This situation and statement from Tiawanda Foucha’s ex-husband is all too familiar for daughter-in-laws, and ironically was recently discussed on an episode of Divorce Court. Which brings me to the title of this blog post, “Rite of Passage.” The show introduced Tiawanda and Tyron Foucha, who were recently divorced but contemplating getting remarried. Both were 27 years old, have 3 children together and had been together for 12 years. According to Tiawanda, her family welcomed Tyron with open arms, yet his family, i.e. his mother, did not, and was never welcoming from the beginning of their courtship. Three kids later, and Tyron has to tell his mother and sister to acknowledge and speak to Tiawanda when they come to HER house to visit HER kids. I think most people are saying to themselves right now that Tiawanda is a better person than they are because the mom and sister wouldn’t step foot through the door if they had a problem acknowledging the lady of the house. Her problem is his inability to step up, translation, have her back and put her first. His problem is he feels she’s forcing him to choose. To him, the situation is no big deal and something she just needs to get over. And like so many DILs, Tiawanda is screaming inside. The mother’s disdain and discontentment was further revealed during their wedding. The new “Mother-in-Law” didn’t give a gift, a hug, any acknowledgement or congratulations at all to her new daughter-in-law; another all too familiar scenario for some DILs. To her she hadn’t inherited a daughter, but had lost her son to the other woman. It’s interesting how … Continue reading

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When It Works – A Daughter-in-Law’s Perspective

Supportive, loving, nurturing, thoughtful, respectful, this is my mother-in-law in just a few words. If there was an award for best mother-in-law, I would nominate mine a million times over. From the beginning, she has embraced me as her very own daughter. She lives thousands of miles away so I treasure our time together. As a working mother of three, I look to her for perspective and guidance. She always lends an ear and offers words of encouragement & wisdom. I admire her commitment to weekly Skype check-ins, and value the connection she has created and maintains with my sons despite our distance. I never witnessed a successful marriage and the accompanying MIL & DIL dynamics. My parents married when I was 4 and divorced when I was 12. On the contrary, my husband’s parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year. My husband is the eldest of three, the only male, and the only married sibling. Shortly after we were married, my mother-in-law told me that calling her Mrs. Lovejoy was too formal, that I was welcome to call her Mom but she would understand if I didn’t want to since I already had a mother. She said that I could call her Mom Lovejoy or whatever felt comfortable to me. That brief conversation illustrated her respect for my feelings, my decisions, and my family. It showed me that she understood her role in my life and my marriage. Her honesty and openness created an environment for positive exchanges and mutual love & respect. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship is not always rainbows and butterflies. However, the positives far outweigh the negatives. In the rare instance when my mother-in-law & I have had a disagreement, my husband has stood behind me 100%. He listens to my point of … Continue reading

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The Single MIL Syndrome

Has anyone ever asked themeslf, how many women do I know that have a successful Mother-in Law/Daughter-in-Law relationship? To be specific, by successful I mean a relationship where both sincerely love each other and feel not as in laws, but as immediate family. Unfortunately, I think most women would say they don’t know many married women with a successful Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law relationship. There’s always the inevitable and dreaded MIL story or situation. Now ask yourself how many of those unsuccessful relationships involve single mother-in-laws? Sadly, I would predict it involves the majority of them. This is not to bash single mothers. However, I think there is a direct correlation between the breakdown of the family and what I call, “The Single MIL Syndrome”: an overly excessive social, emotional, and sometimes physical dependence towards one’s own adult son that hinders the relationship with any female suitor, or male companion of your own. From a biblical perspective, a man must “leave” his parents in order to have a successful marriage and become one with his wife. However, too often the breakdown of the family, and subsequently single mothers cleaving to their sons, disrupts the biblical foundation and responsibility of the sons to naturally leave their mothers. The son is then raised to believe it is his responsibility to emotionally, socially and sometimes financially support and protect his single mother as an adult. The continued “husband-like, and/or “child-like” relationship nurtures this sort of thinking. But fundamentally, this is not a son’s role or purpose. And it is crucial for both the mother and the son to understand this very fact in order for the son to be able to make the most important decision and commitment of his life, to be successfully married. If this rite of passage doesn’t take place, how can a … Continue reading

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