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“The In-Laws”

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Do you remember this verse? “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.”

With no intention of sounding heartless, we have to say that you can’t allow your extended family to take your marriage down. Too many marriages falter and fail because the struggles and pain of extended family members take precedence over any kind of marital connectedness. The mandate from God is to leave your family and make your spouse your first priority. That doesn’t mean you ignore your extended family; it means keeping your marriage sacred and secure so that you remain united in the face of whatever challenges your families must confront. Protect your family and do the right thing.

That being said, learning to navigate the choppy waters of the extended family can all come down to honor. When you show honor to your extended family, you are directly showing honor to your spouse. No matter how different you are from your extended family, you can still communicate respect and learn to be as positive as possible. Regardless of whether your mother-in-law remembers your birthday, make sure she gets a nice card from you on hers. You may need to compromise your expectations in order to show your in-laws respect. This doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to be extremely connected with them. You don’t have to call them “Dad” or “Mom” and watch TV with them every Sunday night. But if you choose to marry their son or daughter, it’s your job to find ways to care for them (even if that care and respect are not always reciprocated).

Whatever you choose to do to honor your in-laws, remember that your primary job is to be supportive of your future wife or husband no matter how much or how little you have in common with their family. Make it your goal to live out this biblical principle: “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

* How are you already showing honor to your to-be in-laws? In what ways can you build upon this in the future?

Devotional: Jim Burns

Ephesians 5:23-33
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
 
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