DEAR ABBY: I read the "Ten Commandments for Mothers-in-Law" in your column. It implies that if the relationship is troubled, the fault is hers. However, relationships are a two-way street.
My son -- a "rescuer" -- married an insecure, controlling young woman. She is threatened by any participation on our part in their lives. Our son seems happy in his marriage, so we are getting on with our own lives without involvement with them or our grandchildren. A tragedy? Yes. One we can fix from our end? No. (Ironically, I scored high on your "Commandments for Mothers-in-Law.")
Adult children also bear a responsibility for making the relationship a success. To all daughters-in-law and sons-in-law who read the "Ten Commandments for Mothers-in-Law" and said, "Amen!" I offer this slightly modified version:
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
1. Thou shalt love, honor and respect your mother-in-law and father-in-law.
2. Thou shalt allow them complete independence.
3. Thou shalt speak only kindly and loyally about them.
4. Thou shalt not find fault.
5. Thou shalt not visit them too frequently, and never enter their home without knocking.
6. Thou shalt say thank you when they do something nice for you or your children.
7. Thou shalt not give them advice unless requested.
8. Thou shalt not deny them access to their grandchildren as a bargaining chip to get what you want.
9. Thou shalt respect their taste in home decorating, though it differs from your own.
10. Thou shalt petition the Heavenly Father, in whose love they abide, for their happiness.
I would also suggest that daughters-in-law remember that they are providing their children with a blueprint for how they themselves should be treated one day in the future when they become mothers-in-law.
Please print this, Abby. I know I speak for tens of thousands of mothers-in-law who will read this and say, "Amen!" -- DISAPPOINTED MOTHER-IN-LAW
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Touche! I'm with you all the way.