When you get married, more likely than not, you also get a mother-in-law, the woman who raised your partner. And quickly there can arise conflict between you and your mother-in-law. She raised your partner and is used to things being done a certain way and you married him or her and have your own opinions. This conflict can be really hard on a marriage. It can even destroy it.

Don’t fret! By understanding more about how your mother-in-law’s brain works you can not only improve your relationship with her but you can alleviate conflict and thereby strengthen your relationship with your partner.

5 reasons to love your mother-in-law

#1 – Remember that she has experience that you don’t have. Our mothers-in-law have been doing what you are just beginning to do for probably more than a few decades. That is a lot of experience, experience that you should appreciate and take advantage of. You are new at all of this and, whether you know it or not, can use all of the help that you can get.

#2 – Remember that she did raise your partner. I know it’s hard to imagine but she did influence your partner’s life for 18 years or more. And that shouldn’t be discounted. My mother-in-law always told me that her son could clean a toilet and vacuum like a madman. I told her that, after 20 years of marriage, I had retrained him: he cleaned nothing anymore. I see now that that was a slap in her face. She worked hard to raise the person that she did and she should to be recognized, and appreciated, for that. And remember, you did fall in love with the person she raised….

#3 – Remember that she loves your kids as much, if not more, than you do. I know that my grandmother was a huge positive influence in my life. She hadn’t been a great mother to my mother but for me she was amazing. And I have learned, from my own mother, that having grandchildren is the best thing that ever happened to her. So appreciate that this person loves your children as much as she does. After all, every person who loves your child is a gift.

#4 – Remember that she really does just want to help. Mothers in-law don’t set out to drive us crazy. They don’t mean to criticize our parenting or complain about the state of our kitchen. They are there, in the house, to be with their children and grandchildren. And, more often than not, their intentions are good. Perhaps the manner in which they speak up about our parenting or our housekeeping skills is abrasive and stinging but remember they are only human and are most likely just trying to help. Really.

#5 – Remember that you are lucky to have her and that she won’t always be there. So many mothers start out with no support. Their mother and mother-in-law is far away, or no longer alive, or absent for some reason. When we are new parents, or even more seasoned ones, we are lucky to have someone there who can support us when we need it. And remember, none of us is getting any younger so they might not always be there for us. Appreciate how lucky you are and make the best of it.

There you go. 5 reasons to love your mother-in-law. It might not always be easy but I promise you, in the long run, doing so will be worth it. After all, your partner loves her. She is his or her mother. You loving her too shows your partner just how much you love them which makes everybody happy.

Do you have conflict with your mother in law? What do you do to work through it?