Building Your In-Law Relationship Is Worth the Effort

by Stacy Reaoch November 11, 2022
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)

On a cold January morning, my newly married husband and I loaded a truck with all our worldly possessions — namely, my in-laws’ hand-me-down furniture and a plethora of new Christmas ornaments.

Ben and I were just returning from our honeymoon and preparing to move to the “arctic tundra” of Minnesota. My in-laws happened to be moving at the same time, thousands of miles across the ocean to South Africa.

I loved Barb and Ron, my in-laws, and was excited to see them pursue God’s call on their lives. Naively, I had no worries about communication or building a relationship with them. We were all Christians, so that connection should have made the relationships easy, right?


I didn’t anticipate that the distance, combined with busy lives (not to mention the lack of technology that we now have today — text messages, Zoom calls and social media), would create a gap in our relationship. I was so focused on creating my new family that it was easy to neglect the relationship with my mother-in-law.

When my husband and I finally saved enough pennies to go visit his parents, conversations didn’t flow as easily as I anticipated. Things felt awkward, catching each other up on surface-level news without sharing the deeper issues of the heart. So much had happened in both our lives since the wedding … Where should we even begin? It became clear that our lack of communication was bearing unripe fruit. We didn’t really know each other in our new roles.

In hindsight, I wish I would have been more intentional in communicating with Barb. It can be hard for newly married wives to see the value of building a good relationship with our mothers-in-law; however, moving toward our mothers-in-law in love is not only a way of strengthening the in-law relationship but of loving our husbands.

The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is notoriously difficult. It’s a unique dynamic of two women who love the same man. What God has designed to be a beautiful picture of love and respect within a family can often become a means of competition. Will your husband honor your preferences for a quiet Christmas at home or default to his mom’s preference of an extended family gathering at her house?

In the times when we’re tempted to feel wounded by words or actions, we need to put into practice the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind… it keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV).We need to put away the scoreboard and choose to show love and honor to all in our lives. First Peter 4:8 tells us to “keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

Even when there have been challenges and hurts in our relationship, we can look for the lovely things about our in-laws. And we can trust God to give us an authentic love for them.

By the grace of God, we can move past our hurts in our in-law relationships to reflect the steadfast love of Christ. We can pick up the phone and initiate conversation, even when it’s hard. We can look for ways to speak well of our in-laws in front of our family and friends. We can even bend to their preferences out of a heart of humility.

Twenty-two years have passed since my wedding day, and I can honestly say that God has helped Barb and me to develop an authentic love and care for each other. He has more than redeemed the strained years of our relationship.

The in-law relationship doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be one of the most beautiful backdrops to showcase the work of Christ in our own hearts. And most importantly, as we love the in-laws God has placed in our lives, we demonstrate the unfailing love and grace God bestows on us.

Dear Lord, thank You for the in-laws You have placed in my life. Help me to extend Your love and kindness. Give me a renewed passion to build a relationship that honors You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


For practical help in your in-law relationship, pick up a copy of Stacy Reaoch’s book — co-authored with her mother-in-law, Barbara Reaoch — Making Room for Her: Biblical Wisdom for a Healthier Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law.


You can connect with Stacy at her website, on Instagram or Facebook.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Making Room for Her by Stacy and Barbara Reaoch. To celebrate this book, Stacy and Barbara’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, November 14, 2022.}


Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (ESV)

What is one way you can overlook an offense and show love to your in-law today?

© 2022 by Stacy Reaoch. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks B&H Publishing for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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