Monday, January 25, 2016

10 Simple Ways for a Daughter-in-Law to Honestly befriend her Mother-in-Law

10 Simple Ways for a Daughter-in-Law to  Honestly befriend her Mother-in-Law

As  Sikh priests who regularly  interact with brides and future Mother-in-Laws, we  get a chance to witness the hidden tension of the upcoming relationship between these two individuals.  Both parties are vulnerable. Whether the daughter-in-law will be living with her future Mother-in-Law, visiting her casually,  or having a distant relationship, these tips are helpful to all future brides regardless of their cultural background, heritage, or demographics.
  1. Stereotypes - We know that throughout the ages there has been a hand me down scenario of the built-in conflict between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. If you would like a fresh start, all previous assumptions and stories  must be  dismissed and don’t  expect your mother-in-law  to play out a negative  ‘payback’  relation with you. You may be surprised if you don’t start on a defensive note.
  2. Name - It is not necessary to call your mother-in-law by the same salutation as you called your biological mother. She does not need to be called  ‘Mom’. You may want to give her an endearing new title or salutation such as Mataji, Maji, or Biji. You may want to politely ask her what she would be liked to be addressed, as a loving and accepting  name can set a positive foundation in the relationship.
  3. Kitchen -  Respect and tread gently in your mother-in-law’s kitchen. This is her CONTROL CENTER.  Learn and study all the finer rules and details of how she works and orchestrates in this ‘KITCHEN UNIVERSE’. If you mess up here, you will have a long uphill battle for the rest of your life.
  4. Dress Code - You will not be a ‘new bride’ forever. Learn the home dress code etiquette accepted in your mother-in-law’s space. Just like a new job may require a certain uniform, you may want to make it easier and less confronting by adhering to her clothing wishes. Know her boundaries of acceptance and expand on these with time, if she is open for change. Learn to give in on special occasions when the mother-in-law would like you to wear a special outfit.  A simple gesture like that will help the hearts open and  connect
  5. Communication - Communicating with a mother-in-law can be starkly different then that with a biological mother. If you wish to build a direct bond, communicate directly with your mother-in-law, not through your husband. This way you will both know where each other stands in the domestic playing field.   
  6. Friendship and Care - Just as one builds on a friendship with a total stranger or acquaintance, build your trust with kind and caring words. Share the gift of time, material gifts, food, and small comforts to build a strong and everlasting bond.
  7. Space - Know when to remain silent and when to speak or render your opinion. If your mother-in-law is venting on you from a re-directed issue give her space and stay away. You may go for a walk, workout or sit and listen to your favorite music. Learn to understand her rhythm and enhance her connection with you, when she is in sync with you.
  8.  Shopping - Shopping can be a great bonding time for the female gender, be it grocery, clothing or celebration shopping. Learn to see what makes the mother-in-law tick. Is she a spender, bargainer, or peruser.  Shopping is a great place to find common ground, you will have a chance to introduce to each other your preferences and tastes, expanding on your common wishes.
  9. Quality Time - Create time  to  make ‘family dates’ where your mother-in-law is the center of attention. This is not only during birthdays or anniversaries but on random unexpected  occasions. The element of surprise is a great way to expand your connection with her and the family.
  10. Learn to Ask and be Thankful - Gratitude is the greatest bond in any relationship.  Learn to be honest and frequently say ‘thank-you’, especially when she has opened up to you. If you can also learn to ask your mother-in-law how you may help or assist her, and ask her for her opinion on crucial life issues, you can gently build a closeness with each other. 
Sikh Priest Destination Weddings can be reached at http://www.anand-karaj.org. For the past few decades Dr. Freedom and Leela have been uniting couples from various Faiths and Traditions with the Universal language of MUSIC and LOVE!

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