We’ve all seen towels labeled His and Hers … but when it comes to family, we
like to defer any differentiation, and refer to extended family as OURS.
Over the years we’ve replaced traditional titles such as “IN-LAWS” with more
affectionate terminology by dropping the “in-law” from their titles. Instead, we’ve
adopted warmer friendlier titles like my “mother-and-father-in-love.” Better yet,
we eventually simply called them MOM and Pops. And, with their new titles
come respect. Scripture clearly says, children honor your parents, so it goes well
with you! So, how can couples demonstrate honor?
Here are a couple of ideas:
1. Listen to their thoughts. Everyone loves to feel honored. We all like to
have our ideas and beliefs explored. What wisdom and practical skills do
your ‘in-loves’ hold? What are their thoughts?
Over the years, we’ve learned just how little we know. We’ve also learned
that we don’t need to ALWAYS give our opinion. We sit in lecture rooms
and listen. We’ve sat in college universities and palaces with Kings. In more
extensive settings, we sit quietly and soak in what we can learn. We don’t
always agree with ALL the information, but we glean and grow whenever
possible. Perhaps, instead of giving our opinion, we can humbly listen and
accept wise counsel. If we feel that a particular piece of advice isn’t sound,
we don’t have to follow it. However, when we listen, we’ll gain valuable
2. Be willing to provide for them. I love the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth cared for her mother-in-law as her own. How can you bless your in-
laws materially this year? Do they have needs that you could give toward? If
not financial needs, is there an area you could provide for them relationally?
As we get older, we realize more and more the power of family. We use to
tell our kids; other friends may come and go, but FAMILY is forever! So,
how can you build a forever kind of relationship with your ‘in-loves’? Think
about what they may need and devise a plan to bless them. Another great
way to bless your ‘in-loves’ is to honor them by honoring your spouse.
3. Share your admiration of your spouse and shared character traits. Ok.
It may be a stretch in some instances. But you can share thoughts like,
you’ve raised an incredible son or an amazing daughter. I want you to know,
they mean the world to me. Let them know how much you appreciate all
they did to help shape who your spouse became, be specific, and use words
and qualities you admire. What do you admire most about your spouse? Are
they hardworking, respectful, considerate, thoughtful, generous, dedicated,
or gracious? Share it with your ‘in-loves’ and let them know how much you
think they did a good job and how proud they should be of their child.
4. Don’t be rude or complain about them to others or in your mind.
Philippians 2:14 clearly instructs us to do all things without grumbling.
And, as we share frequently, we gravitate towards what we contemplate. If
we play out in our mind, thoughts like, I just know they are gonna … and
then fill in what irritates us about our ‘in-loves’ … no doubt; we will find it.
If, however, we choose to see the best, believe the best, and speak the best
… when we decide to look for and pursue positive thoughts (even if it takes
intentionality), we eventually change the way we feel by the way we choose
5. Finally, be willing to build NEW traditions. Spend time discovering what is most important to them. Listen with an open mind. Build on common ground of love, respect and the importance of family.
We’d love to hear how you are growing and honoring your family this holiday season. Leave a comment below. We love hearing from you!
For more resources visit marriedforapurpose.com