Striving to be a good mother-in-law? Or maybe looking forward to that day when you will be one?
Naomi shared a special relationship with her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. What can she teach us about being a mother-in-law?
The Role of Mother-in-Law
As a MIL myself, I strive to not be the stereotypical MIL; instead, I seek to be a godly MIL. I think the Bible gives us a wonderful example in Naomi, so today let’s see what she can teach us.
The Top 3 For Me
Keep the important things the important things. Naomi not only loved her daughters-in-law but they knew she loved them. These women also loved their husbands, her sons. So what are the important things? As a MIL to three amazing women, this is my list:
- Do they love and serve the Lord?
- Do they love my son?
- Do they love my grandchildren?
If the answers to these questions are “Yes,” then all other things are secondary.
Give Them Freedom
Naomi let Orpah and Ruth choose their paths. They both began the journey to Bethlehem with Naomi, before she realized she needed to give them freedom to choose. She loved and supported them both, regardless of the path they chose.
So, as a MIL, my goal is to pray for my daughters-in-law to have wisdom as they make decisions for their families. Many of these decisions don’t involve me, but on those issues that do, I hope to allow them to hear from the Lord and not dictate my wishes.
If asked, I do give them my opinion but I don’t hold it against them if they choose something different. As young wives, and mothers of young children, they are growing in their new roles and in their faith. My role is to be an example, pray for them, and encourage them.
I also must trust that God is leading them and that even when they make what might be a poor choice, God is big enough to correct it.
Walk with Them Through the Difficulties
Naomi was there with Ruth and Orpah as they both suffered a childless marriage, lost their husband, and then had to decide whether to leave Moab with Naomi. Through it all, Naomi walked with them.
Every family goes through rough waters. For some it is a miscarriage, for others a critically ill child, and others it is overcoming a difficult childhood. We are sometimes the voice that assures them the struggles they go through have been faced by each generation before them, that God is faithful, and will see them through.
Regardless, as a MIL we can be there to pray, listen, and comfort them.
Seek to Bless Them
Naomi sought to help Ruth marry again because that was what would be best for her in that culture. She watched and prayed for a husband for Ruth, and when the time came to act, she encouraged Ruth. Watch and pray for ways to be a blessing to your children.
Maybe it is babysitting so they can have an afternoon alone, or an evening out. Encourage them as a couple to keep their marriage strong. We like to give our married children anniversary gift cards for dinner and we babysit. Win-win in our book.
Do Not Underestimate Encouragement
Remember when we were young parents and needed encouragement? These beautiful women God gave to our sons also need encouragement.
If they are parents, Mother’s Day is a great time to get them a card and a little something to let them know what a great mother they are to your grandchildren. Sometimes the blessings can be given in a simple text message telling them one thing you are thankful for related to them.
Pray for Them
Most importantly, our children and children-in-law need our prayers. They need to know they can ask us for prayer and we will go to the Lord on their behalf. They are raising the next generation to serve the Lord and we need to be their biggest cheerleaders and most dedicated prayer warriors. They have a big job and we want them to succeed!
Although I am far from a perfect MIL, I count it an honor to have four daughters to love, one by birth and three by marriage.
What are some things you or your MIL do that you want to share?
What tips would you give to those of us who are a MIL?