7 Ways to Honor Your Mother-in-Law

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many of us are thinking about the moms in our lives, especially our own mothers and our mothers-in-law.

You know you should honor your parents, but how does one go about honoring her mother-in-law? Here are 7 practical ideas.

While many of us know our own mothers quite well and can think of numerous ways to honor them, sometimes it’s more challenging to think of ways to honor our mothers-in-law. We definitely should honor these women, though. Here are seven ways we can do this.

How to honor your mother-in-law

  • Drop the “in-law” from her title or replace it with a more loving term. The term “in-law” doesn’t have a warm or friendly sound to it. I’ve heard some women use alternatives, such as “bonus mom” or “mother-in-love.” While we may sometimes need to use the title “mother-in-law” for the sake of clarity, at other times we can use one of these warmer alternatives!
  • Humbly accept her counsel. Throughout their lives, our mothers-in-law have amassed a wealth of wisdom and practical skills. Many of them would love to pass some of this along to us. Unfortunately, many of us recoil at the thought of receiving advice from our mothers-in-law. We shouldn’t. We can learn so much from them! We should humbly and even eagerly listen to their counsel. If we feel that a particular piece of advice isn’t sound, we don’t have to follow it. However, by listening, we’ll gain useful insight.
  • Be willing to provide for her needs sacrificially. The most famous in-law relationship in history may be that of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible. We can learn a lot from their relationship, including the value of working to provide for the needs of one’s mother-in-law (Ruth 2:2, 11-12). If your mother-in-law doesn’t already have needs, it’s likely she will develop some as she continues to age. She may need help getting things done around the house or making ends meet financially. She may need help getting to appointments and shopping or she may need to move in with you. We should follow Ruth’s example and be willing to provide for these needs.
  • Brag about your spouse. Long before the man I married became my husband, he was my mother-in-law’s son. She did a wonderful job raising him (actually, she did a wonderful job raising him and his three siblings). I want her to know that I appreciate all she did to make him the hardworking and respectful man that he is. I think most mothers-in-law would be very encouraged to know that we think they did a good job and that we appreciate their efforts.
  • Don’t tell mother-in-law jokes or complain about her. There are a couple of reasons we should avoid complaining and telling jokes about our mothers-in-law. First, the Bible teaches us to avoid complaining (Philippians 2:14) and to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12). Second, there is quite a bit of psychological research that shows us that our thoughts and words are powerful. If we feel negatively and complain about our mothers-in-law or tell disrespectful jokes about them, then we will continue feeling negatively. However, if we think positive thoughts (even if we have to push ourselves to do this) and share stories about their positive qualities, we will begin feeling positively about them.
  • Allow her to share in celebrating your children. It’s easy to see how much my mother-in-law loves and delights in my children. I know it means a lot to her to see and spend time with them. The same is probably true in your family. Creating opportunities for mothers-in-law to enjoy their grandkids is relatively straightforward if you live close by one another. However, if you live far away (as we do) then you must be a little more creative. Great options include sending lots of pictures, sharing stories, video calling, and planning visits as often as possible.
  • Remember her on the 364 days of the year that aren’t Mother’s Day. Most of us are good about sending a card or gift on Mother’s Day, but what about the other days of the year? Do we communicate our love and gratitude on these days? I need to be better about this. Thankfully, it’s really not that difficult. We can easily let our mothers-in-law know we care about them and are thinking about them by telling them we pray for them, calling and asking for recipes, sending cards or flowers, taking them to dinner, etc.

If I changed a few words here and there, these ideas would also be helpful for honoring mothers, fathers, and fathers-in-law. It’s a good, overarching reminder to honor and bless our parents!

What things do you do to honor your mother-in-law? Share your ideas with us!

Shared at the following:

Monday’s Musings, Literacy Musing Mondays, Tuesday Talk, From Messes to Messages, Happy Now Link-Up, Coffee and Conversation, Grace and Truth, and The Art of Home-Making.

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Comments

  1. Being kind and thoughtful in all our relationships – that is the ideal but sadly not easy to achieve.
    Amalia
    xo

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Amalia,
      It can be challenging, especially for those who don’t have good relationships with their mothers-in-law. My mother-in-law is wonderful, so it’s easy for me to be kind and thoughtful. I know not everyone can say this. I hope these ideas are helpful for everyone, regardless of the nature of their in-law relationships.

  2. Such a good reminder that mother-in-laws are Mothers first and foremost! I have been blessed so much by my mother-in-law and our relationship. These are great reminders. I love the example of Ruth and Naomi. Thank you!

  3. These are wonderful suggestions, Shannon! Thank you!

  4. I LOVE this post! My MIL is such a wonderful person, and we all love her so! She deserves our respect, both because she’s earned it, and because that’s what the Bible teaches : )

    An additional idea to add to your already great list: Bless her with some time alone with her Son. It’s so easy to do, and can be such a treat : )

    • Shannon says:

      What a wonderful idea! I’m sure my mother-in-law would love an opportunity to do something fun with my husband.

  5. Great ideas for honoring mother in laws. I like the idea of bragging about her son to her.

  6. I have a son in law, son by marriage, who treats me like his own mother. He’s called me mom since the day he met me, and even though he and my daughter are now going through divorce, he still calls me mom, and still wants to be part of mine and my husbands life, which is such a blessing since he has the grandbabies, and lives over 100 miles away. Be kind to your momma in law, mine is gone, but remember if it weren’t for her, your husband wouldn’t be here!

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer! What a wonderful son-in-law you have. We can learn from the way he honors you!

  7. I love this! Your ideas honor mother-in-laws as a member of the family and not someone to complain about. My mother-in-law was one of the kindest and hospitable women I knew. She taught me so much about welding others into her home. Thank you for your words.

    • Shannon says:

      I’ve learned a lot from my mother-in-law, too, Mary. Mothers-in-law are family! We should definitely treat them as such.

  8. I try with mine but she has issues. I’ll stop there because it would take several blogs. #happynowlinkup

    • Shannon says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you are able to find some ways to honor her even if your relationship is a difficult one.

  9. Loving and lovely, Shannon. What a wonderful “daughter-in-love” you must be. Thanks for the convicting challenge today! Stopping by from #Coffee&Conversation!

    • Shannon says:

      I truly hope my mother-in-law feels that way, Elizabeth. I’ve appreciated her since the first time I met her, so trying to honor her is the least I can do.

  10. I really appreciate this post! I don’t see much written on this topic, but you’ve done a great job of reminding us how we should treat this important woman in our family’s lives.

    • Shannon says:

      I also don’t see much written on it, Tracey, but I thought is was a good thing to think about with Mother’s Day coming up.

  11. Mother of 3 says:

    I met my husband when we were just 16 so my mother in law is definitely like a bonus mom! She comes on most of our family vacations and we have made so many wonderful memories together through the years.

  12. This is such a great post. I had kind of a hard time with my mother in law. I think it would have been different if I could have changed some things on my end. Thanks for sharing this at the #happynowlinkup

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Jen,
      Sometimes it works to change something on our end. Sometimes it’s still challenging because of things on her end. However, it’s always good to know that we’ve done what we can to make the relationship meaningful.

  13. Beautiful things to remember…and suggestions that would actually help many other relationships, too, if put into play.
    Thanks for sharing this at Coffee and Conversation, Shannon. A very timely reminder…

    Happy Mother’s Day to you!

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