Mother/Daughter-in-Law Survival Guide/ Part 2

Last week I shared three things a mother-in-law can do to keep harmony with her daughter-in-law.  Now, let’s look at what the daughter-in-law can do to promote peace and good-will in the relationship.

Acknowledge Her Sacrifice

Years ago, Steve wrote a song that captured the unspoken feelings of a groom’s mother following her son’s wedding. The chorus says…

But of all the words that were spoken on this his wedding day

No one thought about asking her, “Who gives this man away?”

Without question, the emotional impact of releasing a son to “another woman” can be painful. However, it’s a pain that can be healed with some understanding words. I know this from experience because my daughter-in-law of eleven years has said to me, and more than once, how much she appreciated the fact that I had invested lots of years into raising our son then graciously gave him up to be her husband.

Dealing with a Difficult Mother-in-Law

The reality is some mothers-in-law make it very hard to accept them because they are simply difficult people.

Romans 12:18 gives us the best advice when it comes to “getting along” with others.  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”   Even the Lord knows there are some people who refuse to allow love to permeate their hearts.

In the book, The Mother-in-law Dance (in the chapter, Boxers Dance, Too) a daughter-in-law shared what she did to help build a bridge instead of erecting a wall between them.

  • “I kept my distance.”  Instead of going to visit my mother-in-law in her home, we met at a restaurant or park.  That way, neither of us had to worry about the children making a mess or breaking a valued treasure.
  • “I kept my tongue.”  Making sure my words were kind and respectful made it possible to live a life free of regret.  After my mother-in-law died, it helped knowing I had not let her bad behavior change me and make me into someone I could not be proud of.
  • “I kept smiling.”  From time to time I sent humorous quips and jokes along with funny cards to my mother-in-law.  Little by little, the bricks of resentment began to come down.  I learned that returning good for evil and a blessing instead of an insult kept life more pleasant for our family and I was able to maintain a clear conscience before God.

Show Affection 

Every person longs to be loved, including mother-in-laws. If you’d like to express your affection for her, here’s a wonderful old poem you could either copy and give or read to her.


“Mother-in-law” they say, and yet somehow I simply can’t forget

‘Twas you who watched his baby ways, who taught him his first hymn of praise

Who smiled on him with loving pride when he first toddled by your side

“Mother-in-law” but oh, ‘twas you who taught him to be kind and true

When he was tired, almost asleep, ‘twas to your arms he used to creep

And when he bruised his tiny knee, ‘twas you who kissed it tenderly

“Mother-in-law” they say, and yet somehow I never shall forget

How much I owe to you, who taught him how to grow

You trained your son to look above; you made of him the man I love

And so I think of that today when with thankful heart I’ll say

“Our Mother”

(Author Unknown)


   If you have additional suggestions on how others can strengthen their relationship with a mother-in-law, please feel free to share them with us.

Blessings on you and yours

Annie Chapman



  1. Carolyn Norman says

    Having just become a Mother-in-law 2 years ago – I am soaking in anything I read or hear on how I can be a good one / a better one to the sweet girl who married my only son.
    This poem , ” Mother-in-law” , is one that I remember cross stitching in the early eighty’s and gave to my precious mother-in-law. It was perfect and I so love this poem . She hung it in her kitchen all through the years before she passed away 16 years ago .
    Thank you for your Godly insight you so freely share to those of us who can surely benefit.
    I’d like to know the name of the song you refer to here that Steve wrote about the groom’s mother – I don’t recall it.

    • Carolyn,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you for your encouraging words. You are very smart to avail yourself of any and all resources that help you be a better mother-in-law. Taking care of the relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is a wonderful way to love a son. I always say, “shame on any mother who makes her son choose between her and his wife and shame on any son who does not choose his wife.”
      The lyrics to the song, “Who Gives This Man Away” is in the introductory pages of the book, “The Mother-in-Law Dance.” We haven’t recorded the song yet, but will do it sometime in the future.

      Blessings on your family during this Christmas. We love you all.

  2. I am a mother of 2 wonderful sons. I became a mother-in-law to 2 daughters-in-law within 3 weeks of each other 2 years ago. Needless to say, that was a whirlwind of emotions for me as a mother. I have always had a very close relationship with both sons, but have made a very conscious effort to let go and let them be their own family. Within the 2 years of marriage, there have been some very trying times in both of my sons’ marriages. Some of which are still going on and are very serious. I have continually sought after what God’s Word says about mine and my husband’s role is in all of this. My husband and I have stayed out of the situations unless they have come to us for advice. We have recommended Christian counseling for both. One of which is in counseling now, one has not yet. I have been to the point of a nervous breakdown behind the scene. I just happened to come upon Dr. James Dobson this morning that was featuring your book and your interview with Dr. Dobson. This was what I needed to hear. I wish I would have heard this 2 years ago. I feel as though I have done a good job on a lot of what you have advised, but there are a few places I wish I would have handled differently. At least I now have your book as a resource and can, with the help of God, do a better job at being a Godly mother-in-law to both of my daughters-in-law. I would like to ask for prayers that God’s will be done in each situation and that both marriages with be a testimony to God’s power of restoration and healing in marriage.

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