I’m sure everyone has read or at least heard the story, but just as background: There was a great famine in Israel during the time when judges ruled. Many people relocated to foreign lands to find food for their families. A man from Bethlehem named Elimelek took his wife Naomi and his two sons Mahlon and Kilion went to Moab to find food and ended up staying there to live. Elimelek died and Naomi continued to live with her two sons who married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. Both sons also passed away leaving Naomi with her two foreign daughter-in-laws. Naomi heard that the Lord helped the people of Israel and food had been provided back home. She decided to go back to Bethlehem in Judah and told Orpah and Ruth to stay in Moab and find new husbands. While Orpah returned to her mother’s home, Ruth clung to Naomi and told her that she will stay with her and that Naomi's God and people will be her God and people.
Not only did Naomi care enough for her daughter-in-laws to want them to find new husbands, Naomi’s daughter-in-law Ruth loved her so much she was willing to leave her family, friends and gods to stay with Naomi and take care of her. When they had returned to Bethlehem, Ruth worked very hard in the fields to provide enough barley to sell and to keep some for her and Naomi. Boaz, who owned the fields Ruth worked in ended up marrying her. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Jesse who would be the father of David and from whose genealogy would come the Savior Jesus Christ.
We hear so many stories of friction between mothers and their daughter-in-laws, wouldn’t it be an amazing world if instead of the friction there was love and admiration for each other. That your daughter-in-law cared so much about you that if something were to happen to her husband, your son, she would still care of you.
I know a bond between most mothers and their son is strong and many have a hard time of letting their son live a life without being constantly in the middle of it (now I can’t say how it is with girls, because I don’t have one), but when a mother truly loves their son, shouldn’t they at least try to love the women he has chosen to be his wife.
The strain that mother-in-laws can put on a couple’s relationship is no laughing matter. It can, in fact, ultimately destroy a relationship. So, ask yourself if you really want to be the reason your son’s relationship fails or even the reason it is strained.
I realize there are times when it isn’t all the mother-in-law’s fault – and that sometimes people are just not going to get along. When this occurs, it is tempting to fight fire with fire, taking digs at your daughter-in-law or calling her names or being equally rude. But don’t go there. remember that it takes two to tango and this is one dance you need to sit out.
Just remember you don’t want to be cut from your son’s life – whenever anybody becomes toxic to your marriage or family, then they have every right to roll up the “Welcome” mat and say “Game over.” Your daughter-in-law is the women in your son’s life and has the right to a peaceful existence.
Remember, you both love the same man. Focus on what you have in common – as the more mature, more experienced one, it up to us, to find a way to relate. Once our son takes a wife, we must accept that we are no longer the most important woman in his life. This doesn’t mean we can’t be close, but our job is to support their union, not your maternal relationship.
If you haven’t read the Book of Ruth – take a moment to do so. It is a short read, but through Ruth’s line came our Lord. All because she loved her mother-in-law enough to follow her and take care of her.