And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands – Ruth 1:11?
Elimelech was a native of Bethlehem and husband of Naomi. When a severe famine hit the land, Elimelech moved his family to Moab where he soon died. Elimelech and Naomi had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, who married Moabite women who also died, leaving Naomi with two daughters-in-laws. After the death of Naomi’s husband, and two sons, she decided to return to the land of Judah. She had heard how the Lord was blessing His people. Naomi tried to convince her two daughter-in-laws to return to their families, but they wouldn’t listen, they had decided to return with Naomi as she returned to her people. Naomi tried once more to convince them to return to their people. She begins to counsel them about reality, she was too old to have a husband, and even if she could marry that day, and give birth to sons, would they want to wait until they were of age to marry. After hearing the truth of the matter, her daughter-in-law Orpah kissed Naomi and returned to her family. Ruth, on the other hand, decided to stay with her mother-in-law.
Both daughter-in-laws saw Naomi as a godly woman, a woman of integrity and one of whom they both loved. After Orpah’s returning to her family, Naomi tried once more to convince her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to return to her family as well. Ruth’s reply to Naomi request was that she not ask her to leave her, but allow her to go where she goes, she would live where she lived, and Naomi’s God would be her God. Ruth saw her mother-in-law as a true woman of God, she acts out what she was professing. Both daughter-in-laws saw the integrity of their mother-in-law. She was one that instructed them in godly principals. She didn’t quote scriptures and lived differently then what she was quoting. She was one they could rely upon and was a woman of her word. She was kind and thoughtful, she didn’t abandon them when their husbands died, she was concerned about their well-being, she had their best interest at heart.
Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest. There was a man there by the name of Boaz who owned a barley field. Ruth asked Naomi’s permission to go and glean in the fields. It wasn’t that Ruth was immature or that Naomi was controlling or dominating her, but she had confidence in Naomi that she would know what was best for her. Naomi was a woman of knowledge and wisdom for both the natural and spiritual and her daughter-in-law had witnessed her character.
The moral of the story is that Ruth followed the instructions of her mother-in-law and because she followed the instructions, she was blessed with Boaz, a wealthy landowner who married her and she gave birth to a male child. Surely there are some tolerable mother-in-laws, but there are also some good ones, women of knowledge, women of integrity that would be able to teach their daughter-in-laws. Society has labeled mother-in-laws as a nuisance, but as a woman and especially a woman of God, you should get to know your mother-in-law and not allow someone else influence your feelings about her.
Mother-in-laws should be women their daughter-in-laws can respect. She should treat her daughter-in-law with respect and not meddle in the relationship between her son and his wife or the daughter and her son-in-law. She should treat her daughter-in-law and son-in-law as though it was her biological child, meaning she will have their best interest at heart.
Daughter-in-laws, son-in-laws should respect their mother-in-law as though she was their biological mother. Each woman has to have respect for the other, both have been blessed to love the same person, and the same person loves them both, but differently. When a mother-in-law disrespects her’s son’s wife or her daughter’s husband she also disrespecting her child as well as hurting them. This also goes for the daughter-in-law and son-in-law that disrespect the mother-in-law. Whether they know it or not, it’s the daughter or son that is being in the middle of the chaos, and they shouldn’t have to choose between wife and mother or husband and mother. Mother-in-laws neither daughter-in-laws shouldn’t bring the tension to the family gathering because of their dysfunction in their emotions and their identity of who they are. Each woman plays an important role in their love one’s life, and each person should be concerned for the well-being of the person they are hurting by their emotions.
Whether you’re a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law, be a woman that can be a blessing to another woman. If you’re professing to be a Christian, then act out what you’re professing. Christian women love and respect others. Christian women are women of integrity, one that has confidence in herself and is not intimidated by another woman. When it all boils down, the majority of the time the reason why there is a division between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and two mother-in-laws, it’s a power struggle as well as intimidation. When there is a division between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, both should look at themselves and see what did they do or not do to bring the division. Pray, and ask God to heal the relationship, give respect to each other, and love one another. Without love and respect for each other, both parties’ prayers will be hindered and delayed as well as hurting the person they both love. Then it’s the relationships no matter what you do, the other person will find a way to bring division and chaos, that’s when you love them, pray for them and allow God to deal with them when you have done what is right, don’t force the relationship. Allow your character and behavior to bless your in-laws and not to be tolerant.