lessons from a neglected mother-in-law

Warning: Rant ahead but I promise there will be truth and a Godly application or my name is not Mr. Clearberry!

I was at a wedding recently. From the outside looking in, all seemed happy and the smiles in the photos real except some were masking deep hurt that may take years to undo.

I am sure you have heard of bridezilla and monster-in-laws, but I was shocked at what happened and want you all to learn what not to do or how to encourage a poor neglected mother-in-law to be if you ever come across one.

Like I said, I knew monster-in-laws existed but never thought I would see one with my own eyes and that should never be the case. I honestly thought it was a term for reality tv and never in a million years thought these creatures are a true reality. We can give some slack to her and the bride, but no mother of the groom (the bride’s future mother-in-law I might add) should ever be made to feel neglected.

That day, my observations left me shaking my head seeing grown ‘Christian’ women acting badly. There is never an excuse for it, especially any ill will towards the groom’s parents especially his mom. Simply put: uncalled for, unnecessary, and so unbecoming on them both.

Bridezilla and monster-in-law, let it be known I am coining this phrase: southern charm is often southern harm. And you both were full of it!

How dare you neglect the mother of the groom and push her off leaving her feeling rejected, dejected, and in the way. How rude!

It is just as much the groom and her day as the bride and her mother themselves. And what was the root: selfishness!

Isn’t that how sin always begins?

Yes, selfishness, self-centeredness, and sabotage should not be apart of your game. I say a game for that is what it seemed to be with the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality that left shaken emotions in its wake. From hurting feelings of a bride’s maid to pushing off the groom’s mom to get ready till bare moments before the ceremony to being upset that the videographer wasn’t there to capture a moment when that mom brought a sweet gift to the bride from her son that he wanted her to deliver. How was she suppose to know that the videographer should be accompanying? And again, just plain rude! What a selfish and inconsiderate response.

Here’s a piece of advice for all of us: Enjoy living the moments, not just capturing them.

Shame on you when you don’t!

Shame on you, bride, and more shame on you, mother of the bride, for making the day so much about you that that poor mother-in-law left happy that the day was over rather than enjoying what should have been a beautiful day sad to see end.

Here’s the lady that raised that man you love, bride, and some of the things you love about him are because of her influence. She helped him be better than he would have been. She trained him in self control and righteousness, but you didn’t see any of that. Instead that poor, neglected mother-in-law was demeaned, unreasonable demands were made of her, and by you neglecting the other woman in his life that will always have a place in his heart, you should repent.

But, what else did I see? Let me tell you…

Here’s some lessons from a neglected mother-in-law we can all learn from:

That mom stood tall for the sake of her son’s happiness. She smiled through the hurt. She did not retaliate or seek her own desires, but did her best to concede to the wishes of that self-righteous bride.

Bottom line: do as she did and yield your rights even in the face of adversity.

That mom was not trying to cause trouble, but for goodness sake future brides let her wear what she wants, do her hair the way she will feel most beautiful, and don’t reject her feelings for the sake of saying “It’s my day!” Again, how rude! The old saying: ‘marry a daughter gain a son, marry a son, loose a son’ she knows all too well and is cutting the apron strings. Let this day be hers as well as yours. You, bride, can make it much easier by just being kind.

And it is not just for brides that this advice rings true. We all should have the joy of the Lord beaming through our veins even when feeling rejected or treated as a castaway.

God, please bring healing and restoration, but more importantly a change of heart. That neglected mother-in-law told me her prayer was she could win the bride’s heart. That shouldn’t be the prayer at all but rather ‘Lord, change that girl’s heart to show love, respect, and not be so self-centered.’

We are called to love (I Corinthians 16.13) so that mother-in-law will continue to do so.

We are called to defer and yield our rights (Romans 6.16). She will do this as well.

We are called to forgive (Colossians 3.13) and she will desperately try to do that.

She will do her best to apply this verse which we should use in the midst of hurt feelings:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4.8

That hurting mama told me she promises to love, cherish, and respect that new daughter. I pray that bride will do the same and see her new mom’s efforts. It’s God first, family second.

And, bride, don’t worry, it is not a competition. That mom knows she is second fiddle now but, she should never, ever be made to feel that way. The power is in your hands to do something about it.

Again, remember, bride, there is nothing you can ever do to change the fact that she will always be his mama. Where’s the respect and admiration for that? He would not exist without her choosing life and loving him so fiercely through the years.

Bride, she is smart and has a wealth of experience to share if you let her. Don’t make her feel belittled, beneath, or ignorant when you talk to her.

And always be real! Your fake southern charm really will do more harm then good.

People: Don’t let the wedding day be more about capturing moments then living them.

That mom’s prayer went from: “Lord, let me win her heart” to “Lord, let her heart be so wrapped in you that you change it if need be.”

What a great way to pray, but sometimes we need to pray this instead: “God, help me love and accept others just as they are because if they don’t change; I need to still love them just as they are.”

Sort of like the old Billy Joel song. Listen to the words thinking as if God was saying them directly into your heart about you.

Neglected? Or feeling rejected? Know God loves and accepts you just the way you are.

It is always best to pray God changes us as we can only control ourselves and not others. A saying we would often say around here lots when the kids were growing up and still rings true today was: you can’t control how others act – only how you react.

So let’s be people who temper their responses even when treated unkind, unfair, and are neglected like this mother-in-law. You know what that will help us do?


of course!

And if you are feeling any of the above, let the God of the universe soothe your soul.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11.28

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

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