Do you find yourself competing with your mother -in -law for your husband’s attention?
Do you find yourself trying to outdo your daughter -in- law in caring for your son/ her husband?
Do you meddle in raising your grandchildren?
Do you both feel like the third wheel in the relationship?
All over place, we all find horror stories about Mothers-in-law. They are usually depicted as the evil monsters. The controlling matriarch, the over-bearing “voice of reason”, the phantom.
Some people run away from them, some don’t want to deal with them, some avoid them, some despise them, most don’t like them, period.
And that is why when we read the story of Ruth,we are bewildered and I bet a lot of wives thought :”Ruth was crazy!” I don’t know of anyone nowadays who would pull a Ruth stint. Not in this lifetime, I don’t think (but I could be wrong).
Ruth was a Moabite married to an Ephrathite from Bethlehem. When her husband died, her Mother-in-law Naomi wanted her and the other daughter-in- law to return to their biological mothers. And why not? There was famine in the land and taking care of two more women would be harder than just fending for one right? I don’t think Naomi was too hot about forming a widow’s club!
Naomi blessed them and was ready to move on with her life but Ruth insisted on staying with her. What Naomi said revealed a character so outstanding that most mothers-in-law of today can’t surpass or at least equal.
She said ” I’m too old to have sons and even if I can, you would be too old by the time they grew up. Would you remain unmarried for them?” In today’s translation: ” Move on create an online profile and start dating. I wouldn’t want my sons to marry cougars”. (Sorry, that ‘s my twisted take on the verse.)
Naomi was truly saddened and yet her mind set was , “gee I wish I had more sons for these girls” and not “finally, no more daughter-in-laws to deal with.”
In turn, Ruth said the most beautiful pledge expressing her devotion to Naomi:
“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
The entire 4 chapters chronicled how God blessed Naomi and Ruth, how she was respected as a woman of noble character. Ruth’s legacy was such she became David’s great grandmother!
God honors those who do right in His eyes. We are commanded to honor our parents, and I believe in laws included. We are to obey them (after all they are the spouse’s parents or mother for that matter). It was such a big deal to God, that it was a commandment with a promise-“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life.” -Ephesians 6:1-3.
In-laws, you are not exempted because verse 4 tells you not to exasperate your children, but instead bring them up in the instruction of the Lord.
Mothers, don’t be a monster and cling to your son/daughter. Like you, they deserve a life together as a family. They are not kicking you out of their lives, they want you to be a part of their family but you have to learn how to let go and graciously accept that your son/daughter is old enough to run their own household.
And finally, spouses-respect and love each other and well…your in- laws, too.