Several months ago, this blog post went viral on social media: If My Child Marries Yours.
It’s a very sweet letter written by a mommy with young children to the mothers who may become in-laws in the future. (In other words, she’s imagining that her babies’ future husbands/wives are being rocked and bathed and taught lessons by their mothers right now-–and she’s writing to encourage those mommies.)
“I’m praying that you will hug your boy tight when he’s sad or lonely or scared. Because someday, my girl – all grown [and] beautiful with babies of her own – will be sad or lonely or scared. And he’ll need to know how to hold her. Teach him.
And let your daughters hear you speak righteous words that bring life and hope. Because someday, my sons will be worn and weary, and the words you’re placing in your daughters’ minds today just might become the balm to my sons’ souls.”
See? It’s nice, isn’t it?
It’s fun remembering that future members of your child’s family are out there somewhere, doing life in a similar fashion. This letter is imaginative and uplifting and easy-to-share.
I couldn’t help noticing all the idealistic thinking! I have to wonder… just how lucky would my kids have to be, to find in-laws with these amazing credentials?
Consider these lines:
-“I’m praying that you will take those children to church…”
-“I’m praying that your love for and commitment to your spouse will swell with each year…”
-“Someday we will sit on opposite sides of the aisle… We’ll watch our silly, sticky, sweet babies somehow transform into brides and grooms and make the same promises to one another that we ourselves have kept… And we will watch these children create families of their own with the ingredients we have given them.” (emphasis mine)
What if my child’s future in-laws haven’t used very good ingredients?
Isn’t it very possible that my child’s future in-laws aren’t even raising their kids–so much as letting the daycare/school-system do it? Isn’t it muuuuch more likely that they have modeled divorce and remarriage, rather than “keeping vows?”
And what if one of my children decides to marry a person who didn’t go to church until later in life–and it turns out I don’t even have Christian values in common with his/her mother?
I’m not saying it’s a deal-breaker.
I’m not saying we’d cut off that side of the family and refuse to interact.
But, I just worry ladies like the author of that letter may be setting themselves up for disappointment?
These are the practical questions that pop into my head, whenever I read the beautiful, idealistic daydreams, written by an Eternal Optimist.
Am I really going to find my BFF, when I meet my child’s mother-in-law? I mean REALLY?
Sure, it would be great if Luke and I discovered that the people who will share our grandchildren are kindred spirits of ours. It’s lovely to assume all of us will raise our children with the same consistency and God-centeredness and commitment to our spouses. (And I guess there’s nothing wrong with praying accordingly.)
But what if I don’t like the other woman–and I have to love her anyway?
I guess letters like “If My Child Marries Yours” read more like feel-good fiction than “encouragement” for real-life problems, to a Chronic Cynic like myself…
I find it more useful to study about offering grace and learning to cooperate, despite disagreements, while I prepare for the worst. 🙂
Likewise, before our children get married, you probably should go through some of my blog posts and be prepared for disappointment, if you’d hoped to find me as flowery and considerate as the woman who wrote that letter!