web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



The In-Law Relationship


Respler-111811

Dear Dr. Yael:

I wish to share some thoughts with you and Despondent Daughter-in-Law (Magazine, 10-28-2011). I am a happily married woman who has a great relationship with my mother-in-law. Although it might seem to others that my mother-in-law sometimes favors her other children’s families over mine, I don’t let that bother me – I have a different approach toward the whole situation.

One must keep in mind that in-laws do not have any obligations toward their children once they get married. Parents usually help us as much as they can, and we appreciate them for it. However, we should not feel as if they are “fulfilling an obligation toward us” and always expect help. That being said, if parents choose to give special care or attention to one or more of their children – that’s their choice. And they most likely have good reason for doing so. It is inappropriate for us to judge them unless we know all the details of their relationships with everyone. To Despondent I say, there could be many reasons why your mother-in-law treats your sister-in-law better than she treats you. Here are some possible examples:

Your sisters-in-law help their mother or do things for her that you are unaware of; thus your mother-in-law feels that she should help them more in return.

Your mother-in-law feels that they are more appreciative of all that she does for them, and therefore wants to do more for them. I am not saying that you do not appreciate her efforts – however there are different ways in which we can appreciate things. (I will explain this point later.)

Your sisters-in-law give your mother-in-law expensive gifts in private. Your mother-in-law may feel that she should buy them more expensive gifts for two reasons: to express, in kind, her gratitude for their generosity, or to help ease their possible difficult financial situation.

Maybe at the bris of one of her grandsons, your mother-in-law felt that your sister-in-law was less capable of holding the baby (among other things), and therefore needed her help more than you did.

Your mother-in-law might feel closer to your sisters-in-law because they share everything with each other, and it’s easier for your mother-in-law to communicate with them and make herself available to them.

 

My point is that you never know what the real reason is for your mother-in-law’s greater closeness with one child as opposed to another. Accordingly one should not speculate.

By no means am I trying to justify your mother-in-law’s actions. I am simply saying that you should feel she has good reasons for doing what she does, and not be angry or upset with her.  This is the only way for you to get closer with her in the future. I know of many older couples who express the thought that if we would only be a little more forgiving of the actions of our parents and in-laws, our lives would be so much better.

I would suggest the following to Despondent Daughter-in-Law:

1) Do not expect anything from your in-laws. Do not feel that they are obligated to help you. If your mother-in-law does something that you feel is unfair, justify her action (you should be dan her lekaf zechut – judge her favorably) and tell yourself that whatever she does is between her and her daughters. This might be hard at first but it will get easier with time, and eventually you will see that there will no longer be any unfair situations taking place.

2) Be very appreciative. When your mother-in-law does something nice for you (i.e. helping you), make her feel as if this was the nicest thing that any mother-in-law could do and thank her over and over again. You can even show your appreciation by sending her flowers and card.  You can’t imagine the effects that these little gifts can have. In-laws have a special ability to see beyond your words, namely if you are truly thanking them or saying thanks but feeling that it was nice but not good enough. If you do this, you will see that after a while she will want to help you and your family much more.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The In-Law Relationship”

  1. rcr says:

    While most of the advice was good, I will disagree on one crucial point in the article:
    From the commentaries on the Torah, we know that Yaakov Avinu was criticized for showing Yoseph favoritism, even though he technically had every right, and a great reason for doing so. (After all Yaakov Avinu was a cheshboned man, and did everything for a reason.
    That being said, we learn a tremendous lesson from that. It’s a lesson to parents NOT to show favoritism to one child over another. Favoritism causes jealousy, and jealousy causes all sorts of bad things, including leading one to believe that they are doing a big mitzvah, when in fact they are doing the opposite. (As was the case with the Shevatim, who too cheshboned out the sale of Yosef as a mitzva).
    I don’t see why the inyan of preferential treatment towards a child, should not be applied between Inlaws.
    While the Advise of “simple but powerful” is good, it should not excuse the behavior of parents and in-laws who are treating one child better then the next.
    ~trying to be fair

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Tapuach Junction. (archive)
Border Police Stop Terrorists at Tapuach Junction
Latest Sections Stories
West-Coast-logo

Over 350 people celebrated the engagement of Fire Commissioner Andrew Friedman and his fiancé, Chanie Herskovic, at their Hancock Park home Sunday.

West-Coast-logo

Why is it so important to report a hate crime or hate incident?

Practically to his last days the patriarchal founder was at his office almost daily and took an active interest in all matters connected with the business.

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-092614-In-Laws

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

Respler-092614

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

I recently met a wonderful woman who writes poetry. With her permission, I am sharing a poem she wrote about time.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

Upon hearing that he did, the owner sent him the atarah – all shiny and new – to be returned to me. I was reunited with my father’s precious gift.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/the-in-law-relationship/2011/11/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: