Related by Chance, Family by Choice

4325 cvr final.inddWhat is your relationship like with your in-laws? Today we hear from author Deb DeArmond on God’s plan for these relationships. 

In Related By Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law & Daughter-in-Law Relationships, Deb DeArmond provides practical tools and tips coupled with the scriptural foundations to bring harmony and understanding to the woman-in-law relationship. The author’s one objective is to help women move from simply being related to becoming strong and confident members of a truly spiritual family. Her practical and unapologetically scriptural book covers issues of personal perceptions, strained communication, the roles of sons and fathers in the relationship’s success, how to begin these relationships  on the right foot and the necessity of trust and love.

Q: What inspired you to write a book on women-in-law relationships?

Women are often more closely connected to their families — and remain so even after marriages. Also, wives are typically responsible for the social calendar and family plans. There is a natural tendency for the man to move away from his own family toward that of his wife.

Q: Did you grow up with positive in-law examples in your family? Have you always had a good relationship with your husband’s mother?

 My mother was a Christian, and my dad came from an Orthodox Jewish family. His parents considered him dead when he married outside of his faith and cut off all contact for years. Eventually, they relented and agreed to meet my mother and my brother — the grandson they had never met. As far as my relationship with my own mother-in-law, I am so blessed to have her as my back-up mom — my own mother died when I was still fairly young . . . . I can always count on my mother-in-law to pray for our family.

 Q: You are the mother of three sons who are all now married. Was it difficult to adjust to welcoming the first daughter-in-law into the family?

 Not at all! Sarah and Jordan met when they were only 13, and their friendship developed into a real romance a few years later…. I love her like my own daughter.

That same level of love was there {with my other two DIL’s} even though the experience of developing the relationships was each unique.

Q: What does the Bible have to say about in-law relationships? What examples does it give us to follow?

 The Bible has plenty to say about all relationships, including the in-law variety. His instruction is to love one another, pray for those who despitefully use you, avoid gossip and forgive freely.

Ruth and Naomi are the gold standard in mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. They couldn’t have been less alike — different faith, different homeland and different customs. But Ruth made a choice, a commitment to her mother-in-law, to trade all she knew for a life in a strange land, to serve a god she had not known, and to remain faithfully with Naomi till the end of her life. Naomi, too, made a choice: She helped Ruth create a new life and guided her to find employment, a husband and a new life of happiness.

Q: Should the older woman take the lead in bonding with the younger? How can you do this without coming across as overbearing?

I do think the older woman has a natural opportunity to welcome her son’s future wife to the family. It can set a positive tone . . . . Remember to go slow. Pray for God’s direction and follow it.

Q: What is your best advice to young wives about developing a bond with the new moms in their lives?

 Pray for the relationship with her from the time you realize the relationship with her son is serious and leading to marriage. When you marry the man, you get the family for free! So decide early to follow a Christ-honoring path.

 Q: How should you handle an antagonistic situation where one woman won’t try to meet in the middle?

 First, prayer should be the first approach…

Second, forgive her…. And ask God to forgive you for anything you have done.

Third, keep the communication lines open. Ask her forgiveness if appropriate.

Also, Pastoral or family counseling can be of real help if things have broken down significantly.


Do you have a specific question for Deb? Leave a question or comment below and be entered for a chance to win your own copy of Related by Chance, Family by Choice.

Learn more about Deb DeArmond via her website, visiting her page on Facebook (AuthorDebDeArmond), or following her on Twitter (@DebDeArmond). 


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