Friday, October 13, 2006

An Open Letter to My Daughter-in-Law

The day you married my son was one of the most memorable days of my life. I am now a father-in-law (again). I want you to know the guiding principles I will strive to follow:

After Jesus Christ, you are #1 in my son's life. We raised our son. We invested thousands of hours raising him and thousands of dollars educating him. He's been our son for 33 years. He's been your husband for a month. None of this matters. You have first claim on him. He owes his first allegience to you and we respect and honor that fact.

You are part of our family. We value you because you are a wonderful person, not just because you married our son. We would make any sacrifice for you that we would make for our own children. We will rejoice in your accomplishments just as much as we would for the successes of our own kids.

Our son is now a part of your family. The two of you are welcome in our home any time, and any holidays you choose to spend with us will be times of special joy. But we know that you will be spending time with your family too. We will respect your decisions about holidays and visits with both families.

We don't want to raise any more children. Therefore, it is not up to us to decide if or when you should have children. We will live full and blessed lives either way. We will not put any pressure on you (even in the form of subtle hints) about having kids. Of course if you do choose to have children, you know we will love them dearly. But if you choose not to, please know that you will not be loved or valued any less.

You and our son are both adults. If you want our advice, please ask. If you don't, we'll shut up, except in the unlikely event that someone's life or safety is in danger. We haven't lived our lives exactly as our parents envisioned them; you won't always conform to our expectations either. But we believe that you will often exceed our expectations in ways that surprise and delight us.

Finally, if you ever need money... ask your parents (just kidding). We love you!


Anonymous said...

Wow what a great outlook on inlaw-hood.

Gem said...

Do you give in-law lessons?

mark said...

gem - That's why I posted the letter on my blog. Private instruction (assuming willing students) would likely be more costly.

Judy said...

I find this very patronizing with lots of hidden anger. And if it's deleted, that will prove the point :)

mark said...

Judy - if I don't delete your comment, does that prove I'm not patronizing and hiding anger? Or just that your threat shamed me into not doing what I would have otherwise done?

I'm not deleting it; you are free to determine what that means.

mindy haile said...

Praise the Lord! Great letter. I am the mother of ten and had prayed for words to write for a future daughter in law. I very much appreciate your honesty and love. Great letter.
To Judy, your comment can't take away the blessings of this letter written in love.
Mindy, Illinois