In-Laws or In Love?

August 7, 2022

“…your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

Ruth 1:16b

Lifelong Lessons to Learn

What has been your in-law experience as a married person? Some people are blessed to marry into families with an upbringing that is very similar to their own. On the other hand, others seem to have a more tense relationship with their newly inherited family. This topic no doubt surfaces throughout one’s premarital counseling sessions, yet it is a lifelong lesson to continually learn and grow in. So, in-laws or in love?

How are you to navigate life with your newfound family, as you navigate the daily ins and outs of your own marriage and family? And just how are you supposed to handle the ever-changing terrain of these complex relationships?

In Family and Faith

If you were to Google “Bible verses about in-laws,” you would find a lot of encouragement in dealing with your in-law relational conflicts. But we shouldn’t walk into this conversation assuming that these relationships are destined to be cumbersome. In fact, one in-law relationship we simply can’t overlook would be that of Naomi and Ruth. Today’s Bible verse is an excerpt from Ruth’s pledge to her mother-in-law in the aftermath of the loss of both women’s husbands. Ruth declares to Naomi that she will stand alongside her, stating, “…your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”

In a broader sense, she is taking on the new life she has inherited from Naomi; in a much more narrow sense, she is naming her newfound family as her own, despite the struggles she will face in doing so. The God of Naomi’s people is now the God of Ruth herself. And it’s through both women’s commitment to serving and following God that we can trace the lineage of Jesus Christ. What a blessing!

The Blessing of His Faithfulness

Ruth made the decision to step into a new life alongside her mother-in-law, forsaking the pagan faith and lifestyle that she had grown up with. This is not necessarily the dynamic you have chosen to step into, yet lessons can still be learned here. It was Ruth’s commitment to walking by faith in the God of the Bible and by heeding the advice of Naomi that led to great blessing for them both. In the choice between “In-laws or in love?”, we must seek the compromise that comes with choosing both…with God’s grace to guide us.

God was at work in both of their lives, and the same is true within your own in-law relationships. Remember, though, that a listening ear, willingness to learn, and heart filled with compassion will help you navigate the uncertain tides that comes with bringing a new family into the mix. It’s God’s faithfulness to us in the midst of our difficult circumstances that makes the difference; may we be faithful in trusting Him as He leads us through.

Now What?

What is your next step in learning to navigate complex relationship dynamics, whether you’re married or not? How can you practice humility and compromise, while also advocating for your own marriage and household? Take time to consider the blessings that God has in store for those who faithfully follow Him, just as Ruth did. What can you do to entrust it all to Him as you walk forward in faith?