By George Dalton –
Do you find it strange how we speak elegantly and pay tribute to mothers? Yet the same lady can be humiliated and dishonored on late night television if she is your wife’s mother or husband’s mother. The same lady whose loving hands tucked little Sara or Johnny into a warm comfortable bed every night with a story and a prayer is talked about with vengeance once you are married to Johnny or Sarah. This is not true of all mothers nor is it true of all mothers-in-law. I have always been in wonder, how one person describes his/her mother in such glowing terms, while at the same time his/her husband/wife could make such cutting jokes about the same lady?
When I was born, God gave me a wonderful, loving Christian mother. When I married, I married a girl who had a wonderful, loving Christian mother. Mother-in-law jokes never fit in my house. Now that my daughter is married, my wife is still the same loving, tender, kind, example of Christ’s love that she was before our daughter married. I will be very disappointed if I ever hear one of my son-in-laws making jokes about his mother-in–law. In fact, I might just beat him up and then he can legitimately talk about his father-in-law.
Why do we not hear father-in-law jokes? I can see why someone would put down fathers-in-law. I was not happy when that old boy wanted to marry my little girl. I was joking about my son-in-laws. One is a pastor and the other is a deacon in the church. Both are fine Christian men. (Don’t pay any attention to my black eye. Lighten up, I am kidding!)
You know what? I didn’t lose a daughter; I gained another son. He didn’t inherit a mother-in–law; he gained a second mother.
I wonder how many divorces are ultimately caused because one or the other refuses to give his/her new mother the same love and respect he/she has always reserved for his/her birth mother. All you have to do is read the book Ruth. It’s not that long and you will see the perfect mother-in –law. We have for centuries extolled the virtues of Ruth for standing by her mother-in-law, as we should. However, we should also think about Naomi. She could have abandoned those girls after her sons died. She could have taken out her anger and pain on them when she lost her husband and both sons. Can’t you just hear it now? “If you hadn’t talked your husband into moving to Oakland, they would not have been here to get killed? It is your fault, that my husband and both my sons are dead. Dead I tell you, all because of you and your stubborn insistence in making him take that promotion.”
Husbands and wives, just try for one full year to treat your mother-in-law with the same love and concern that you treat your birth mother and you will be amazed at the transformation.
Since I love my mother so much, it would be hard for me to be forgiving to my spouse if my mother wasn’t shown the same love and respect by my wife. When you entered this world, your loving mother nurtured you and cared for you. You were thrust upon your mother –in-law in the same way. Without much warning, suddenly you were there. You were not only suddenly in her life, you took someone out-of-her- circle of life: your spouse.
I never look at my wife without saying a prayer of thanksgiving for her wonderful parents. Have I always been the perfect son-in-law? No, do you think the apostle Peter was the perfect son-in law? Probably not, because he was human just like we are, but we know he had a mother –in-law, and I’ll bet he loved her and honored her.
For the next year, let’s show God’s love to all of our mothers. Let’s make a pledge not to ridicule of mock them. It will drive them crazy at first, until they realize that you really mean it.