Tuesday, 06 December 2016 13:37

To love his family, or not to love his family? That is the question!

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It has recently come to my attention, through prayer, spiritual direction, and more prayer, that loving my husband’s family is the only option...unless I don't want to fully love him.

To quote my spiritual director:

"In my research on marriage and the family and the Church's teachings, I've come across the idea that to love your spouse's family is part and parcel of loving your spouse. Whether we like it or not, when we marry, we marry the entire family of the other spouse."

Therefore, we cannot fully love our spouse, unless we also love his family.

Whoa! That made me think! If we harbor animosity or contempt toward our in-laws, in a small way, we detract from our love with our spouse. We become incapable of loving our other half to the fullest! Kinda sad, isn't it? I thought so. 

This is so difficult, isn't it? Maybe it's not difficult for some of you...maybe it’s not difficult for all of you! Maybe this is only my problem? 

Anyway, I personally struggle with this. There are so many different points of view in my husband's family. Everything from how to brush your teeth to how to educate your children! It makes for a sometimes hostile environment where each thinks he or she knows what's best. This is where grace comes in. Like every other difficult situation, God will not throw you under the bus, so to speak. He will give you the grace you need to be a truly good member of your spouse's family. 

How do we achieve this? Prayer...and LOTS of it! We should most definitely consult with Our Lord and Mama Mary. They both know exactly how to behave in any situation, right? And the family is certainly their specialty! 

What we should remember is that although having to bite our tongue can be very tough, even tougher for people who always want the last word, (*raises hand sheepishly*), we need to adjust the way we act and  the way we react to achieve peace. This is the first step. Once peace is established, then we can begin to see what we should change in ourselves, instead of trying to change our spouse's family. Isn't this at the heart of every issue we struggle with? We should always seek to change our flaws, instead of trying to change others. 

Now, I would say that if you're struggling with moral issues, especially ones that your children may see and be perverted by (e.g. addictions, or other debauchery), you may need to make necessary changes to your visitation of the family-in-laws. However, charity and love toward others will always win! You can't go wrong. Make sure you increase your prayer for those members who need it most! 

May Jesus and Mary show us how to truly love our spouses' family. Amen.

FaithFaith is wife to Fred, and the mother of their 4 energetic young children. Besides trying to keep up with the demands of being a full time house wife, Faith is homeschooling her oldest 2 children, George and Clara. She herself was homeschooled k-12. Faith and her husband reside in Florida. She is also a lay member of The Home of the Mother.