“I want to encourage you husbands to be ‘the man’ and protect your wife. Sometimes you may need to graciously but firmly step in and shield her from a manipulative parent, but I implore you to guard gently your wife’s heart and your marriage from a dad or mom whose intentions may be good but counterproductive.”
“God never intended one person to control another. He didn’t wire us to respond well to it, either. In each of our hearts is an innate aversion to a person or persons from the outside compelling us to do things that primarily benefit them.”
“Your husband or wife needs you to listen and care. But be careful not to become critical of his parents or peers for what they did or did not do. Blaming others does not relieve the problem; it can only increase it by adding the burden of a resentful spirit, which can enslave you and your mate.”
“People who play you like a pawn on a chessboard are really demonstrating a subtle form of rejection. By circumventing the consequences of their actions, you’re letting them reject you even more … When you’re being pushed around, you feel as angry about your inability (or unwillingness) to do anything about it as you do about the offense. Confrontation empowers you, simply because you’ve finally refused to continue being a victim. A high‐control spouse may continue the control, or an in‐law may continue trying to run your marriage, but now you will respond differently because you’ve stopped allowing others to control you without being held accountable.”
“Being an in‐law, like parenting, is a sacred trust. It’s an opportunity to stand aside and let our children take over the reins of their lives. It’s a chance to move into a position of adviser, mentor, and sounding board. But it’s imperative that we don’t step over that line.”
“Removing yourself from the proximity of high‐control in‐laws doesn’t mean you don’t love or respect them. It does mean, however, that you are willing to carry out your stewardship before God and not allow their high control to infect your marriage.”
“When communication with in‐laws is strained in any way, the person with the closer and more intimate tie needs to be the bridge‐builder and help improve communication between all parties. Observing this simple principle can significantly enhance communication between in‐laws.”
“If you embrace and love the in‐laws as your own family, we can almost guarantee that you will cultivate good relationships. When parents view marriage as the loss of a son or a daughter, it is a threatening experience. But if they view marriage as an opportunity to gain a son or daughter, to adopt a new person into their family, then it can be a plus. Do whatever you must to communicate to your in‐laws that in your mind they are family. Don’t treat them as outsiders, but treat them as your own kin.”
“Tension with in‐laws is not limited to the traditional husband and wife and two sets of parents. An increasing number of people today, due to divorces, remarriages, and blended families, find they have to relate to new sets of in‐laws and still struggle with former ones.”
“Leaving your home does not mean you permanently withdraw and no longer have a good relationship with your parents. That’s isolating yourself from your parents, not leaving. The commandment in Exodus 20:12 to honor your parents means that when you leave them, you need to go with respect, love, admiration, and affirmation for their sacrifices and efforts in raising you. But you must make a break from them and sever your dependence on them. As time passes, you must be diligent to prevent any reestablishment of dependence at critical points in your marriage.”
"An important part of leaving and cleaving has to do with abandoning parental beliefs, lifestyles, values, and traditions that are not clearly delineated in the Scriptures. Unless both husband and wife agree, such extra-Biblical standards should not be automatically carried over from one family to another."
How difficult is it for you and your spouse to discuss in‐law relationships and how they might be affecting your marriage? What could make those discussions easier?
How can you continue to show honor and respect for the sacrifices and efforts your parents and in-laws put in to raising you and your spouse while at the same time “leaving and cleaving”?
Give some thought to the difference in “leaving” your parents and in-laws and “isolating” yourself from them. What is one thing you can do today to build your relationship with them?
Discuss with your spouse some of the parental beliefs, lifestyles, values and traditions that your families follow that may not clearly be delineated in Scripture. What are you clinging to that is traditional rather than Scriptural? Discuss how you and your spouse can build your own traditions together.
How are you treating your in-laws like family? What are some ways you may be treating your in-laws as outsiders?
Memorize Scriptures of hope and help pertinent to your situation right now.
How careful are you not to be critical of your spouse’s parents? Think about times when you may have blamed them for something they did or did not do. Ask yourself if you have a resentful spirit toward your in-laws.