Learning about family rules was very interesting. I could see clearly how these underlying rules could cause conflict early on in a marriage. It was true in my case. I had only met my in-laws one time before we got married. There were things right from the start that was strange to me, and my husband said the same thing. It was so difficult to move away from my family and move next to my new husband’s family. I didn’t know how to be a good daughter-in-law and there were so many differences I was afraid I would never be one of them. However, because of the influence of my dear mother and her example of excepting and loving people, I was able to look past those things and accept my in-laws. I tried to be respectful even though we disagreed with things (mostly about children).
Though it was a little awkward at first, I called them “Dad” and “Mom” so that I could see them and respect them as parents. They were converts to the church and have always lived in Ohio. I was from the West and had pioneer ancestors. I brought some odd ideas into the family that was hard for my in-laws to understand. As I got to know my in-law parents and heard of their lives and struggles, my respect for them grew by leaps and bounds. They were amazing. We all adjusted and we are all family and friends now. We are grateful for each other, strengthen each other, and love each other as if we were blood-related.
“Closeness...is different from enmeshment…Married children can be emotionally close without always having to be present.” ( Harper, J. M. & Olsen, S. F. (2005). "Creating Healthy Ties With In-Laws and Extended Families.") This explains what I felt for my parents who lived 1,200 miles away and for my in-laws now that only live 15 minutes away. It did take time, patience, repentance and forgiveness.
The readings this week were a little scary. I don’t have any of my children old enough to marry yet and I didn’t realize how hard it can be to have in-laws and to do family finances. I have children all over the spectrum so it sounds like all of them could struggle in any area. I look back on my marriage and feel the Atonement of Jesus Christ just made it alright for all of us. I had to forgive and humble myself many times. It was good for me. I feel so very blessed that I did some things right that I didn’t even know I was doing. I feel so grateful for in-laws that eventually came to accept me and let me into their hearts and lives. These earthly relationships can be so rewarding!