web analytics
December 17, 2014 / 25 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Knesset and Menorah Lawyers Called Upon to Use Their Legal Skills in Israel’s Defense

Learn about the up to the minute human rights and legal challenges facing Israel, while networking with other likeminded professionals and earning CLE credits in your jurisdictions – all at the same time



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
Sony Pictures Entertainment studio, Los Angeles, CA.
Terror Threat Puts Kabash on Sony’s NYC Film Premier
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

Eller-121914-Main

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

Bais Toras Menachem is proud to welcome its new staff member, Yaakov Mark, who will be the Administrator as well as Ort College and GED class coordinator.

Because she is keenly aware that anti-Semitism may start with the Jews but never ends with the Jews, she makes the logical connection between the opprobrium for both America and Israel so commonplace on the political left.

In this narrative of history, it is the third world Palestinians who are victims of the marauding Jews, of course.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-logo-NEW

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

Respler-logo-NEW

Isn’t there anyone making a simcha who understands that loud music can cause hearing loss?

My mother thinks of herself as a superior person, has very little feelings for other people, and probably suffers from a deep lack of self-esteem.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

When one marries someone with children, all family members must accept them.

My mother-in-law is totally devoted to her daughters and their children. Her sons’ children on the other hand are treated like second-class citizens.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

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: