Keeping Your In-Laws Out of Your Marriage
By: Nate Webster, IMH
“So what will you do if you or her gets cancer or something and you have all these medical bills”, was the first question my father in-law asked me when I asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It’s no mystery to most people that in-laws can be a downer, complicated bunch. We marry a person we love, but along with it we get a family who is often very different then what we’re use to. They don’t talk around the dinner table like we do, they don’t like the same things we do, and typically our boundaries and rules are usually just seen as suggestions and recommendations. So what do you do with difficult in-laws? Well fortunately the bible has some very timely advise for dealing with such in-laws and hopefully it can help you!
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6
The principle of pearls and pigs: How many of us have dogs and swine for in-laws who constantly trample the precious parts of our life? Not that you need to be that harsh, but the powerful point that Jesus makes in Matthew is two fold. First is that you don’t give pearls to pigs, because pigs roll around in the mud and don’t know or care for something so precious as a pearls. If you keep giving dogs what is sacred you’ll only find yourself being “turned on and torn to pieces”. Jesus’ second point is you’re culpable in the treatment you’re receiving. In the case of in-laws, how often are you unnecessarily giving your in-laws ammunition to hurt you?
One of the biggest mistakes that my wife and I made with our in-laws, was intertwining with them financially. They gave us cheap rent on an apartment they owned and wanted to help us with my wife’s tuition when we were newly wed. Only to turn around and hold the cheap rent over our heads when we went on vacation and tried to control what my wife went to school for because they were going to help.
Jesus gives us this powerful message in Matthew to teach us that some people can’t handle the precious details and pieces of our lives and that we need to be diligent in protecting them, more importantly to stop throwing pearls before swine, hoping they’ll snort back how beautiful they are.