To my future daughter-in-law

I’m writing you this letter because I want you and my son to hold me accountable. I want my values in black and white, and I want to them to haunt me, should I falter. I write this as a reminder to myself of what was most important and helpful to me when I was first a daughter-in-law.

You are a dream come true.

From the moment I brought my son home, I’ve been dreaming of you. I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been so excited to see you sitting at our Thanksgiving table. You need to know we want you and you are welcome here, with us. As a matter of fact, let’s just drop that pesky “-in-law,” and say you’re our new daughter. I don’t know you yet, but that doesn’t matter. You’re the one we’ve been waiting for… welcome!

We don’t have to agree.

You and my son are your own little family now. I will have strong opinions about your life together, but that has nothing to do with you. I have strong opinions about most things. As your own little nucleus, you two decide what’s best for you, and whether I agree or not, my goal is to trust you. Even when I’m afraid and uncertain about your future, I know I can trust God to guide you. I know it will be a struggle for me, but I want you to know that my goal is to stand back and keep my opinions to myself unless you ask for it.

I want to be friends.

The fact is, I’ve not been a perfect daughter-in-law, and I know what it is to have a strained relationship with the in-laws. With all my heart, I want better for you and me. I want to be close, and not just for the sake of family peace or to keep my son happy. I want us to enjoy each other’s company. You are worth knowing and enjoying. I have no intention of missing out on all you bring to our family.

Tell me.Mother and son

If I’m being nosy or bossy, tell me. If you want me to be more involved, tell me. If my disability makes you uncomfortable with me as a cook or babysitter, tell me. It might hurt my feelings, but feelings heal. There is no relationship without communication, so when in doubt, just say it. There’s nothing we can’t work through, if we’re both willing.

Have mercy.

Letting him go will hurt. Remember, I was his first snuggle. His first kiss. I loved him first. And when two women love the same man… well, it won’t be easy for me. But know I want to respect your boundaries. Know that this is new for me and I’m trying. I want to love you in the way you need most, whatever that might mean at the time. Please, afford me second, third, twentieth chances to get this right. I will not stop trying.

Bottom line, you are what we’ve been missing. You complete us, and don’t forget it. I may be your mother-in-law, but I want our relationship to be so much more than legal. When I screw up, and I will, let me know so I can change. My pride is not as valuable to me as my relationship with you. We can build a peaceful, healthy family together. Are you in?

With all the love I possess,


3 thoughts on “To my future daughter-in-law

  1. trish ramseier says:

    That is the most beautiful letter I have ever read…..I have tears running down my face as I type this.. You are such an inspiration to the people around you and I am so very blessed that you are part of my life. Greg and I have cherished all the memories we had with you when you were with us and so young. As a young woman, wife and mother, you are everything we hoped for you. when you were small and spent time with us I prayed for you all the time, you were so special ,I was so afraid God wouldn’t let us keep you……. I never told you that , but it is true. We love you so much Sarah.

  2. Rosie says:

    Wow – as a daughter in law currently going through a lot of pain in this relationship I would have loved to have this type of response from my own. When you say the reason is because “you are worth enjoying” wow. I couldn’t tell you what that would have meant to me. Thank you for being vulnerable and saying it would be hard for you. I’m sure it must be, but your willingness to let go is the most beautiful of all.

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