When I first married my late husband, I decided to call my mother in-law, my mother-in-love. After all, it was love that brought us together not the law. I remember always encouraging my late husband to take his mom out on dates. Little did I know, when he took her out we were actually teaching our three sons how to take care of me, their mama. Example is the best teacher! So if you have little ones now, what is your role model to them regarding your parents?
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
How to love. How to be intentional. Intentional means to be determined, purposeful, bold and steady. As my sons are getting married I realize I have an opportunity, privilege and responsibility to pray for our growing family, not only do I have daughters-in-love, but I have her parents, siblings, their spouses and grandparents too! Remember, they are now starting their own family.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Ephesians 5:31
Discuss expectations. An expectation that is not discussed is a problem waiting to happen. Holidays are big; don’t ignore them and expect things will be the same as before they were married, a whole other set of traditions are involved. Encourage your children to take time alone without feeling obligated to call or visit right away, they need to nest and cleave to one another.
Be determined and purposeful. God gave us one mouth and two ears, so listen more than you speak. Give advice when asked. Surrender them to the Lord completely. They will figure things out. Pray that they will have the freedom in their minds and heart to come to you. Whenever I speak to my sons, I always ask how their wives are. By speaking love to their wives, I am acknowledging that they are now married. I text or email all my sons and daughters-in-love regularly.
Get to know their parents. I’ve gotten together with both of my girls parents. Sometimes its a bike ride. Other times it’s lunch or dinner, or spending the night and going to their parents’ events. My future daughter-in-love’s parents live in Chicago, so it has been a bit more challenging. Asking what her mom likes has been helpful, as I am sending a care package to her mom. I know this attitude blesses my sons and daughters, because they know their parents are loved.
It’s difficult and I miss my sons and daughter as only one lives in the area. The prayer of my heart is that when they have children they will live in the area. The Lord is teaching me to enjoy the time I get with my children and not be concerned over who gets more time with them, because seasons do change.
Work on building a lasting love with your in-laws. They are your children and they will be raising your grandchildren. What legacy will you leave? If God has blessed you with children from previous relationships, embrace them. John and I refer to our extra sons as Our Bonus Boys. Whenever we are with our adult children my husband John and I pray with them before we leave. God was intentional in placing your children in your life and circle of prayer.