Monday, February 16, 2009

Managing Your "MIL"

Okay, let's all take a deep breath.
Inhale and exhale slowly.

For those of you not familiar with the popular acronym "MIL," it's used by brides and brides-to-be across the country particularly on message boards and blogs when referring to a mother-in-law.  And needless to say, this is a very sensitive subject but also extremely relevant. No matter your circumstance, along with your husband will likely come his mother and getting along well with his mother will ultimately be best for your marriage. Renting Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez's hit film, "Monster-In-Law," may not be enough (even though we love, love, love that movie).

Some may have wonderful relationships with their mother-in-laws and simply want to maintain them.  Others may have a "safe" camaraderie with MIL but sense trouble approaching.  And finally, a few may be drowning in progenitor quick-sand and need to learn how to remain calm, shed excess weight and pull themselves onto solid ground.  So, I've decided to point us all in the direction of the following publications, each a God-send in their own right.

  • The Daughter-in-Law Rules: 101 Surefire Ways to Manage (and Make Friends with) Your Mother-In-Law!  by Sally Shields Description: Do you dread visits with your mother-in-law? Do you find yourself dodging ruthless comments hurled your way at every possible moment? Is battling your mother-in-law a simple fact of life, or is there another way to mitigate the age old conflict between mother and wife? In her hilarious new book "The Daughter-in-Law Rules" author Sally Shields lays out simple and witty strategies to aid wives of all ages in the difficult art of mastering the mother-in-law. With her 101 rules to manage your mother-in-law she scrutinizes every element of MIL relations; from the decorum of housekeeping to the delicate world of child rearing. The Daughter-in-Law Rules provides a revolutionary set of strategies, making copacetic coexistence possible at last!

  • The Daughter-In-Law's Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Relating to Your Mother-In-Law by Eden Unger Bowditch Description: Nearly 60% of all marriages suffer from tension with mothers-in-law, normally between the wife and her husband’s mother. For too many women, the statement “I married him, not his family” seems more a wish than a fact. This hands-on manual makes it possible to reclaim the husband-wife relationship while surviving — and even improving — the frequently tumultuous relationship with a mother-in-law. The Daughter-in-Law’s Survival Guide offers solutions for handling boundary issues, criticism, child-rearing disputes, and non-supportive partners. The book teaches women to identify and analyze relationships, change thinking and behavior patterns that feed a dysfunctional dynamic, overcome chronic areas of conflict, and prevent new battles from breaking out.

  • Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage by Susan Forward Description: Are your in-laws poisoning your marriage? Bestselling author Susan Forward shows you how to manage their behavior without jeopardizing your relationship with your spouse. Toxic in-laws come in a variety of guises. There's the Critic, who can't wait to tell you what you're doing wrong: the Controller, who tries to run your life; the Engulfer, who makes constant demands on your time; and the Master of Chaos, whose numerous problems inevitably end up in your lap. If you're suffering from these or from any other type of infuriating in-laws, your frustration is likely affecting your relationship with your spouse. This remarkable book will help. With equal doses of understanding and advice, Susan Forward helps you navigate the treacherous waters of toxic in-laws. She explains the unique complexities of the in-law problem, a triangle that forces you and your spouse into a tug-of-war of loyalty and support. She shows how in-laws often manipulate their children to get what they want, and helps you understand the difficulties this poses for your partner.
At the end of the day ladies, no matter what road you take or what tactics you use, don't put too much stock in managing your mother-in-law or any other relative.  You're marrying into a new family BUT the most important relationship is the one between you and your husband.  He chose you because he respects and adores you, which is what really counts.  Good Luck!

“Never rely on the glory of the morning nor the smiles of your mother-in-law.”
- Japanese Proverb

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