You know the scene all too well. As you sit down for dinner, you can feel the eyes of your mother-in-law tracking your every move. You sit up straight, take a deep breath and make eye contact with her, flashing a half smile. She reciprocates the expression, but you can tell her smile is only as genuine as yours.
As the meal carries on, you attempt to hold a lighthearted conversation about your new favorite movie. But somehow, the discussion shifts to politics, like it always does. You fear sharing your opinion because you know your in-laws disagree with you. So, instead of joining the conversation, you nod, flashing another disingenuous smile.
Have you been here before?
Maybe your father-in-law likes to question your authority. After you make important decisions, he perpetually blurts out phrases like, “That’s an interesting thing to do,” or, “I would’ve done that differently.” You love him dearly, but you’ve just about had it with his passive-aggressive comments.
Or maybe your mother-in-law acts competitively around your side of the family, and her out-of-character behavior has continually caused friction in your relationship. She strives to be a better cook, host and grandmother than your mother. And she lets everyone know how hard she tries. You know she’s a humble person at heart, but something about the family dynamic brings out the worst in her.
When you’re tired of wading through the tension of your in-law relationships, you can turn to Scripture for peace, hope and harmony. You can turn to Scripture for the courage to engage in honest conversations. And you you can turn to Scripture for the patience to accept and manage your differences.
These five Bible verses will get you started:
- Lord, give me patience when my family frustrates me.
Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another” (GNTD).
- Lord, help me to humbly approach my in-laws.
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, then, under God's mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time” (GNTD).
- Lord, give me courage when I need to have honest conversations.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control” (GNTD).
- Lord, help me to love my family, even when love feels beyond reach.
Romans 12:9-10 says, “Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another” (GNTD).
- Lord, help me to strive for harmony.
Romans 12:16 says,“Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise” (GNTD).
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