The MIL Chronicles
The MIL Chronicles
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Tag Archives: Leaving & Cleaving

The Top 7 Issues Mother-in-Laws Have With Their Daughter-in-Laws, and a DIL’s Response

  1. You’re now most important in his life. To this I say, “Shouldn’t I be”? If the most important relationship and union is that between a husband and wife, how strong and successful can the foundation and future growth of this relationship be if someone other than the spouse is put first? How would you feel if your husband put another woman before you? No one can ever take the place of you as a mother, and I don’t know any married woman that wishes to assume the role of “mother” to her husband. However, part of growing and moving through the stages of parenthood is understanding and accepting your change in role once your child enters into adulthood and eventually gets married. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t important, but rather that your role in his life must change if you want your son to have a successful marriage. 2. You’re creating your own traditions that sometimes don’t involve me. Mother-in-Laws I beg you to read my blog post titled “It’s Not Your Time”. Give us the space to embrace our time as parents. We need, and have every right to create our own traditions that we too will have to adjust once our time has passed and it becomes our child’s time to have the same opportunities with their children. Show that you respect the fact that it’s not about you, that it is not your time, and that we are the parents. And while you may not always be able to be part of every single tradition, you will be welcomed to experience the majority of them. It’s important that our dreams of our own traditions are able to be realized, as I’m sure you wanted yours to be.   3. I’m still his Mother. This … 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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“Enmeshment” – How This Concept Can Hinder the Ability to Cleave

It has been said that when we marry, we must “leave” our family of origin and “cleave” to our spouse. Additionally, when two people marry there is an idea of the couple joining to become “one”. Two people join together, bringing all of their life experience, beliefs, and hopes to create a hybrid sense of “oneness”. Ideally, that sounds so sweet and blissful. Yet practically, it can be a challenge. And for many newly wed and not so newly wed couples, it is a huge undertaking. Sometimes, it’s a disaster. I suspect the reason this blissful joining is so challenging for some is because of the relationship with their family of origin. I would like to propose that one of the biggest challenges of “two” becoming “one” is that “two” really isn’t “two”. “Two” in actuality tends to be “six”. In the early stages of my clinical training, a very wise clinical supervisor said to me, “Kim, when you are in a room working with a couple there is at least six people in that room”. In my very green and inexperienced way, I looked at him and said, “huh?” “He then responded, “When you do couples therapy, you have the couple and two sets of parents in that room with you”. In my 20 years of experience, I have found that to be quite true. When we marry and become “one”, we tend to bring our family of origin with us. This is often unspoken and subconscious and is primarily conveyed in our beliefs, values and expectations. In some marriages, one or both partners are still very bonded with the family of origin. In my world, this is called being “enmeshed”. This bonding shows up in the partner’s inability to “leave” and hesitancy to “cleave”. This can play out … Continue reading

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My Rite of Passage – A Husband’s Perspective

The makeup of my family seems normal from where I’m from, and I have the typical single mother story. I am the oldest son of 3 children on my mother’s side, and my mother became pregnant just before my father left for college in 1974. The issue was that she was 14 years old when she got pregnant with me, and my dad was 19. My mother met my father sometime before she went to high school. I never really asked her much about it, but as far as I could tell she loved him. She has told me that she was in love with my father, but I believe it was more so infatuation. My grandmother gave me most of the information about my father. She said that my father was the youngest of 14 children. I don’t think my parents had a very long relationship, as my mother was extremely young when she pursued my father. No one has ever opened up about it, but I think my mother may have led him to believe she was much older. My grandmother said that she didn’t blame my dad, because she knew how manipulative my mother could be, and that she was accustomed to getting her way. Obviously my mother kept the baby because I’m still here, and I know that she loved me. I’m sure abortion was never a question for her because she needed to feel loved. And her baby would always love her, as long as she was an involved mother. I was the first grandchild, and everyone showed my mom extra attention because she had a baby. I think my mom enjoyed the attention, and she at least had love from her child even if she no longer had a man. My grandmother said that … Continue reading

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Therefore Shall a Man Leave His Father and His Mother…

In the animal kingdom, though it varies by species, a mother releases her young into the wild as soon as they’re done nursing, learning how to hunt, and have been given the necessary tools to survive. The mother trusts that she’s done her job in preparing her young, and seems to inherently know that she must let go and is easily able to do so. The young grow to procreate and form their own families. So why in the human species does there seem to be such difficulty giving in to this rite of passage? Do animals in their most natural environment have it wrong? “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis chapter two verse twenty-four describes the biblical interpretation of a man’s rite of passage as he enters into marriage. Interestingly, the biblical command to leave is given to men. However, veteran marriage counselors and authors of “Restoring the Christian Family”, John & Paula Sanford, explain that far more often they find men rather than women unable to do so. It makes me wonder why this is the case, and what is it about the relationship between a mother and son that creates this inability to “cut the cord”? According to Bill Lawrence, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries, and Adjunct Professor of Doctor of Ministry Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, marriage demands a commitment of the deepest nature because it requires a total identification between husband and wife. And before this identification can take place, there must be a separation from other relationships that have been given identification in the past. To leave means that both people must change the way they relate to their parents. It doesn’t mean that we cease … Continue reading

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