Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dude: Your mother-in-law is your Ally

Have you heard this mother-in-law joke:

Lawyer to his client: “Your mother-in-law passed away in her sleep. Shall we order burial, embalming or cremation?”

Son-in-law: “Take no chances. Order all three.”

Now, that's terrible. OK, funny too, but it's terrible. What's really terrible isn't so much that's it mean, it's that it buttresses the notion that the woman who gave birth to a married man's eternal love (uh, that would be his wife - just to be clear) is the enemy.

Au contraire, mon frere!

Guys: While it's true that you picked your wife and you were just stuck with your mother-in-law, the fact is that your relationship with said mother-in-law is a vital lever in your relationship with your wife. Yes - the woman you love, the woman who raises your children, the woman who makes you your favorite pancakes, the woman who does that thing that you really really like.

The mother-daughter bond is a primal dynamic, a force of nature. It is usually dysfunctional to some degree, of course, but there's no denying that Mother-in-Law holds much power over Daughter/Wife. Even polarity power (Mother-in-Law says "Stop!" so Daughter/Wife goes "Go!").

As Sun Tzu might've said had he been on an episode of Oprah about mother-daughter relationships, "Win the mother-in-law, win the wife." Or maybe that was from Gladiator.

Anyway, the point is that you are stuck with your mother-in-law, and she has tremendous influence over her daughter, and her daughter [presumably] adores you, so the last thing you should be trying to do is antagonize, insult, demean, ignore, or belittle your mother-in-law. Your wife is her daughter. Dude, think on that awhile.

So turn your mother-in-law into an ally for you. Treat her with respect and affection. Laugh when she annoys you, shrug when she is being incomprehensibly difficult.

And get her a supremely thoughtful holiday gift.

What? You don't know what she wants? Of course you don't - she's your mother-in-law! So get her a Lottay gift :-)

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