With any marriage comes a whole new set of relatives called in-laws meaning family by law instead of blood. At some point when your dating gets serious, you’ll meet your partner’s parents and siblings. For most couples this is a major step in furthering their relationship, introducing their sweetheart to good old mom and dad to get their approval or in more modern times just to meet them, sometimes even after the marriage. If you’re still living at home this meeting can happen early in your relationship as you begin dating. But for those residing on their own away at college or working, it takes some effort to make contact.
My future mother-in-law came to visit me while I was a college student. Guess she couldn’t wait for me to come see her as she lived many states away. I learned by telephone of her impending visit. I sensed that it wasn’t easy for this strong woman to let her oldest son untie his apron strings. She wanted to check me out since I was to be her replacement. (Photo above of my new inlaws: l-r brother-in-law Robert, father-in-law Frank C, husband Frank W, me, my grandmother in front, mother-in-law Marion and my mother Evelyn.)
I guess I passed the test, for our wedding plans proceeded. My father-in-law who I met at a later time was more unconditionally accepted. I loved him immediately and called him dad easily. But my mother in law Marion was a different matter, seems she always had some bit of advice on anything and everything which I didn’t gratefully accept but looked upon, in my insecurity, as her doubts of my ability to be a good wife to her son. I was just grateful she lived hundreds of miles away.
Just saying the word "mother-in-law" can send shudders up your spine depending on your experience with one. Mine was very controlling and her visits were stressful to say the least, but not everyone has that experience. No one prepares you for this aspect of marriage, and having in-laws. There are two sets of them, the bride and the groom’s parents. Probably the most difficult in-law relationship is between the bride and the groom’s mother, maybe because they are both female. Giving advice is a tricky situation when it comes to how to raise the children, setup the home, etc. You probably don’t ever appreciate your mother-in-law until years later when you become one and see what a sensitive role it is.