Like all relationships, my Mother-In-Law and I cannot say that ours has always been perfect. I have learned over the years that all relationships take commitment and compromise in order to be called successful. I have also learned that any type of relationship can become successful if it means something dear to you.
The Mother-in-Law Daughter-in-Law relationship has always been a point of discussion and sometimes can be quite a challenge. I am fortunate enough to have a mother-in-law who adores me as I do her. Have we butted heads over things? Of course but I have realized at the end of it all it is all because of one thing: we are both extremely passionate about our families and our love is so strong that sometimes in can get overwhelming.
My mother-in-law is one of the few people who has really helped me in learning to understand others’ perspectives and to have compassion even if I would rather be stubborn. A “perfect” relationship with her would have never taught me some of the core values I stand by today. This might sound cliche, but our relationship is stronger than ever after 7 years of mostly positive and a few challenging situations. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
To those of you who have mother-in-laws and are having a challenging time, here are some ways to transform your situation into a more positive one:
1. Always Remember, It’s All Out of Love
I cannot stress this enough. The few hurdles my mother-in-law and I had, I needed to step back and remind myself how much she loves our family and me. Again, I am fortunate enough to know she truly does love me and I do her so this reassurance can be extremely helpful in sensitive situations. Once you remind yourself of this, then her perspective begins to make sense and you can move to Tip 2: Be Compassionate.
2. Put Yourself in Her Shoes (Be Compassionate)
Sometimes it is totally okay to stand your ground on an issue however there are more than plenty of times when compassion and compromise can go a long way. Most conflicts are not going to be the end of the world and God Forbid you make a compromise! Stepping back, removing your ego, and being compassionate, will allow you to feel and do things you never thought possible. Put yourself in her shoes and think about how she feels in the situation. For example, in my case, my mother-in-law has a total of 3 children. My husband is the only one at the moment who has given her grandchildren so we are the only ones who have created a solid family structure for now. This is what she absolutely lives for and I am learning this about grandparents. It is okay to compromise for grandparents because they give their entire being to their grandchildren.
3. Have a Face-to-Face Discussion
Rather than hashing it out over text or the phone, meet and discuss your challenges in person. This is the best thing you can do and do it alone with just the two of you. There’s not much more to elaborate on with this one. Just step it up and be brave.
4. An Act of Kindness
Put your ego aside and take her to dinner or buy her flowers. Might sound petty but it isn’t. This will make her feel better and it will even make you feel good. Why would you want some long drawn out battle when this is your family? I know conflicts can get ugly and contain lots of tiny details but this isn't the point. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. An act of kindness can really mend a relationship and can become the beginning of a successful one.
Relationships are very complex and the history of one can be sensitive. I don’t know everyone’s situation. I do know some people have truly bad relationships with in-laws that come from a place of hate but I promise you these 4 tips can even help with those. I am grateful that the 7 years with my mother-in-law has be 90% great and 10% challenge. Think about all your relationships with people who you truly love…have you ever had a conflict with them? I am laughing out loud just asking that question. I have had conflicts with every person in my life that I love and it’s because at the end of the day we have a deep affection for each other and sometimes we just get too passionate. Be thankful for the imperfections because they will teach you values that would otherwise not exist.
Written by Sterp
Did you know that the bouquets, chocolates, and gifts you purchase every year during Valentine's Day is in the name of a martyr and has its roots in a Pagan festival tradition of animal sacrifice?
According to Catholic Church traditions, there are a few saints named Valentine. One story paints a picture of a priest who secretly performed marriages for lovers after the Roman Emperor, Claudius II, forbade them, convinced that only single men made the best soldiers. Claudius II ordered Valentine be put to death.
Other tales of Valentine suggest that he helped save Christians who were victim to the harsh torture of Roman prisons. According to one legend, Valentine sent the first "valentine" greeting to his lover while imprisoned and signed it "From your Valentine."
Like many legends, the facts if any, always seem to be immersed within a colorful and glorified story that transcends truth and time periods. Whoever this Valentine was, his story continued into the Middle Ages and he would become the most popular of English and French saints.
Valentine's Day began as a Pagan festival called Lupercalia, celebrating fertility and dedicated to Roman gods. The festival consisted of goat sacrifices, the stripping of the goat hide, and after dipping the hide in blood, gently slapping women and crop fields with the bloody hide.
Lupercalia was later outlawed at the end of the 5th century and Pope Gelasius declared Valentine's Day to be February 14th. Only much later would Valentine's Day come to represent a day of love.
After finding out about the history of Valentine's Day, do you feel any different about it? What are some of your Valentine's Day traditions?
Written by Stephanie Briggs
Fairly dividing the household chores seems to be a constant battle in many relationships. The frustration and stress can lead to years of fighting and even worse, resentment. How are the people in successful marriages handling this situation? It is totally possible to change your cleaning battles into a positive experience of long lasting love and sanity.
1. Communication, Not Nagging
When I first met my husband I was still learning the dynamics of good communication. It takes lots of patience and practice especially when you’ve just washed a tower of dirty dishes only to have your spouse dump a bunch more in the sink! Or the time you have just wiped down all the counters and five minutes later there are food wrappers on them just a few feet away from the trash can. My immediate response used to be irritation and then nagging. One of the best things for my marriage was learning that nagging was not the answer to my problems. My husband simply just needed me to ask him and he would do. Which leads me to number two.
2. Accept Your Spouse's Method
This one also took me a while to learn. Many of us fall into this trap: “I want you to WANT to help.” In the midst of frustration this could seem very logical. Let’s read that sentence again. Frustration and logic never go hand in hand. Of course my husband wants to help me in any way he can. He is the kind of person who will gladly help…when he is asked. This frustrated me for some time until I realized: why should it frustrate me if he happily helps whenever I ask him to? I learned to accept his method of helping and then I embraced it.
3. Stop the Perfectionism
I am the ultimate perfectionist! I am OCD. When a picture is crooked, I will straighten it out. When books are not organized from large to small, I will take the time to fix it. You can imagine the perfectionism shock I went into once I got married and had two kids. We are not wealthy and we do not have a house cleaner on call. I was trying to live up to some fantasy where my home would be clear of any messes, every corner “lickable,” and no large piles of mail anywhere to be found. (This is still a nightmare…someone help me with our issue of never ending piles of mail!) As I began my venture into Buddhism, I thankfully learned a few things. My house is a constant family party. We are always eating home made meals, playing with our kids, dancing, singing, and Living. I learned to be grateful for our family messes because they signify love. I learned to let go of this fantasy of having a perfectly clean house every single day and instead I shoot for twice a week.
4. Flash Your Spouse
Yes, you read correctly. If you have a fun and silly dynamic between you and your spouse then this totally works. My husband and I are extremely playful so this is a norm for us. When I am in a playful mood and he is playing a game on his computer I will have the flash ready for him when he turns around. Then I ask him for the help I need and he is more than happy to assist me.
Household chores are a constant struggle in relationships and at times can be the leading cause of separations. It doesn’t have to be that way. What works for some couples may not work for others. What methods do you use to keep your love and sanity flourishing?
Written by Stephanie Briggs (Sterp)
My Mantra: Strive to be the best me and improve a little every day. Be compassionate, especially to those who may not practice it. Continue to learn and love. Take a moment multiple times each day to breathe. Forgive myself and forgive others. Read books. Live what I preach. Accept others. And above all, laugh every single day.