The relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law is the most beautiful yet spicy. It can be an especially difficult adjustment for a bride when she moves into a new home and has to develop a relationship with her mother-in-law. Despite the advice she’s received from her own mother about caring for in-laws, it remains somewhere back in her head when she deals with a real mother-in-law. The situation takes a different turn. The advice she received from her family appears less valuable and effective when she deals with her in-laws in real life.
Very often, these women are at loggerheads with each other. This led not only to the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law being unhappy about the situation but also the whole house. The husband is the most affected person in this case. This often raises a common question.
- Why do daughters-in-law see mother-in-law as a headache?
- Why do mothers-in-law find it hard to click with their daughters-in-law?
The Complex Relationship of Mother and Daughter-in-Law
Many mothers see their sons’ marriages as a major transition in their lives. When we consider this situation, we see a newly married woman often as someone who takes their son away. He usually comes home directly from work to greet his mother, but now he goes straight to their room to spend time with his wife. In the past, he might have eaten food prepared by his mother, but today he chooses to eat what his wife cooks for him.
Moreover, before the arrival of the bride, her son belonged solely to his mother. Now, he belongs to newlywed bride as well. These irrational thoughts or feelings of jealousy that a mother harbors toward her daughter-in-law can lead to arguments that ultimately disrupt the harmony in the household.
In Eastern societies, conflicts between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are common. The reason why they struggle to connect with a new bride is simple: every mother-in-law was once a daughter-in-law too.
In a lighthearted way, she may have experienced reprimands, challenges, overwork, or even marital conflicts. When her own daughter-in-law enters the picture, memories of her past experiences come to life, and she may start thinking, “My mom-in-law did certain things when I was a newlywed, and now that I’m a mother-in-law, I should act the same way.” This transformation turns the mother into a “mother-in-law” with rules that are never to be broken.
In contrast, according to the daughter, life has always been challenging. Their dreams and desires were put on hold with the expectation to fulfill them after marriage. Their new home became a symbol of freedom, yet they didn’t realize that another mother with stricter rules awaited them there.
Furthermore, daughters-in-law’s expectations about the new home and relationships can be the cause of bitter daughter and mother-in-law relationships. And like this, mother-in-law began to seem like a deadly headache.
Girls often believe their groom belongs entirely to them. This isn’t right; he’s someone’s son and brother. Remembering this is crucial to maintain a healthy husband-wife relationship, as no man wants his mother to be disliked by his partner.
Another debated question is “Should daughters-in-law take care of mothers-in-law?” or “How should a daughter-in-law treat her mother-in-law?”
It’s a matter of personal choice and cultural expectations. Some daughters-in-law may choose to take care of their mother-in-law, while others may not. In Christianity, the Bible does not specifically address this issue, but it emphasizes principles of love, respect, and care for family members. In Islam, it is recommended for a daughter-in-law to show kindness and respect to her mother-in-law, but it is not an obligation. The emphasis in Islam is on maintaining good relationships within the family.
Improving Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law Relations
Dealing with people isn’t an exact science. A positive connection between a mother and daughter-in-law can create a harmonious home. If you’re wondering “How can I improve my mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship?”, we have simple and practical tips to help you.
A bond can only be made better when both parties are willing to play their role. Of course, it will not get better over a night but continuous efforts with a willingness will make it better one day. Since both individuals need counseling, here are some relationship tips for both separately;
Relationship tips for Daughter-in-law
- Connect with mother-in-law by expressing interest in her life.
- Treat her as you would treat your own mother.
- Always be kind, caring and cautious about her feelings and personal limits.
- Bond and make memories together by engaging in some similar activities.
- Help when needed without being asked.
- Engage in activities that involve spending time with each other, such as shopping, watching movies, or going for walk together.
- Strengthen your relationship by celebrating her special occasions.
- Thank her and appreciate what she does for you.
- Be a strong pillar of support for your spouse.
- Don’t hesitate to seek guidance or advice when facing challenges.
- Strive to maintain a healthy balance between family and personal obligations.
Relationship tips for Mothers-in-law
- Treat your daughter-in-law as if she were your own child.
- Respect your daughter-in-law’s individuality and avoid unrealistic expectations.
- Include her in family matters to strengthen your relationship.
- Understand her perspectives and show empathy to them.
- Praises her for her achievements and give encouragement.
- Keep open lines of communication and be patient during sensitive discussions.
- Refrain from interfering in your relationship with your son or parenting unless asked.
- Respect her privacy and let her share at her own pace.
- Understand her role as your son’s wife and your grandchildren’s mother.
- Stay neutral in conflicts between your son and his wife.
- Encourage them to consider each other’s point of view in disagreements.
- Cultivate a positive mindset for a better relationship.
- Avoid meddling in your son and his wife’s personal choices.
Building Tech-Age Relationship with Mother-in-Law
- Stay connected through video calls, if in different cities.
- Share interests, articles, or videos with her online.
- Create a shared photo album or group chat.
- Learn her tech preferences and adapt.
- Balance virtual and in-person interactions.
If you’re interested, check out our blog about “Nurturing Relationships in the Age of Technology”
The association between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law is an integral part of family dynamics. Using the simple and practical tips mentioned above, both parties can bridge the gap, creating understanding, compassion, and mutual respect. Note also that healthy connections among family members are founded on love, open communication, and the ability to appreciate one another’s distinct strengths. With careful attention, these links will become sources of pleasure, support, and enduring pleasure for the whole family.