“Your people shall be my people…” – Ruth 1:16
Perhaps the relationship people struggle with most is getting along with those in-laws. In-laws are the gift we received in marriage – and sadly, a gift many want to give back.
Even in healthy in-law relationships, there will be tensions and challenges. You both love the same person, and the only reason you’re attached is because of that person. That can mean competing interests. In-laws can sometimes be made to feel like out-laws. They get to be the brunt of many a tale (especially mothers-in-law), the universal catch-all of abusive humor.
Rather than offering advice on the in-law relationship, I offer four stories in Scripture: For a healthy in-law relationship, read about Moses and his father-in-law in Exodus 18, or Ruth and her mother-in-law in the book of Ruth. And if you think you’ve got it bad, take comfort–it could be a lot worse! Read about Jacob and his father-in-law starting in Genesis 29, or David and the all-time worst in-law, King Saul in I Samuel.
Sometimes, you just have to remember that these folks are the reason your spouse exists, and sometimes that will have to be enough. If not, I hope reading about these Biblical marriages might help offer some perspective and encouragement.
If you’re struggling with a relationship with one of your in-laws, talk about it with God. Ask God for His guidance in how to navigate these particular relationships with wisdom, grace, and respect.