The Well Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 - Page 25

Leave and Cleave According to Stewart, one of the most important things that a parent can do for their child’s marriage is to pray and ask God for wisdom. “ If a child is getting married, they are adults. Give them mutual respect. Instead of criticizing and complaining, pray to God about things that are your concern,” said Stewart, who retired years ago from the Social Security Administration and went back to school to receive her degree in biblical counseling. “Never give unsolicited advice. I had to learn that. “ When parents take sides it also can divide a family. “We have to remember that God told the man to leave and to cleave. If my daughter comes over, I say take as long as you want to get a breather. If she stays too long, I say you’ve got to leave and cleave.” Rev. Vincent Clark, pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Bourbonnais, Ill., said problems occur when we complain to our parents about our spouses. Clark and his wife, Alisha, are the founders of One Heart Marriages, an organization designed to mentor Christian couples. “Once the parent gets the garbage bag of trash on our spouses, the issue gets resolved, the in-law is still stuck holding the bag on the son or daughter-in-law,” Clark said. “Some residue is left in the in-law relation because the spouse unintentionally plants a seed of pain and animosity in the heart of our parent toward our spouse.” The best way to uproot those seeds of animosity is with consistency and character. Clark said one of the greatest compliments he ever received was from his father-in-law. He called Clark into his kitchen to thank him for treating Alisha and their four children so well. He had been watching his son-in-law for a while and overheard other family members comment at one of the reunions about how Clark was “putting on a show interacting with the kids.” “Dad quickly intervened and informed them that he noticed that I was always that way with the kids,” Clark said. His father -in-law said, "That's no show. That's show ‘nuff the way he is!" Clark said that his father-in-law thanked him that day in the kitchen for “loving my daughter and grandkids with your whole heart.” God told me to treat him as a son, not a son-in-law It’s their choice Addie Wallace’s youngest son Chris married Brittney this August. Wallace thinks that the big problem for many mothers is that they feel threatened by the wife and afraid that she will take her place. But mothers have to remember that their sons “are looking for a wife, not another mother.” “I will always be the mom and Brittney will always be the wife,” Wallace said. “Chris can handle both.” She also believes parents have to trust their children’s choice. “I trust the choice my son made. I believe he sought the Lord for his wife,” Wallace said. “Therefore, it is my responsibility to support them with prayer and encouragement. Cut the apron strings and let them live and learn.” The mother trying to be the woman in her son’s life has caused one wife, who will remain anonymous, a lot of grief. She said her mother-in-law expects her husband to act as her “man” instead of her son, including paying her bills. “She is definitely a hindrance or at least she tries to hinder,” she said. “She has always talked negatively about me, even to my husband. I basically tolerate her—sometimes.” The situation has been tough for her husband and puts him in a bad position, but she said he handles it beautifully. “He makes it very clear that I am his wife and he is with me.” But the wife said she has learned a very valuable lesson for when her children get married. “I have learned that I will love whoever my kids choose because it is just that—their choice. I will not put my kids in the position that my husband is in today,” she said. For those who find themselves with in-law problems she advises “to just focus on your marriage and allow your spouse to handle his folks. As long as he supports you and he recognizes the negative behavior you will be okay. If he does not, you have problems.” In-Law Love “I swear I loved that woman like I love my own mother. She was the best and I miss her dearly. We spoke on the phone everyday. What made her so awesome was her ability to love unconditionally.” —Angela Washington-Brown (about her mother-in-law Barbara Brown, who died five years ago.) “I am as close to them as I am my biological family. The Rileys and the Ervins are so close that when we are together, one can't tell who are the Rileys and who are the Ervins.” — Annette Ervin “I have a great relationship with my in-laws as a matter of fact they are more family to me then in-laws.”—Kimberly Gordon “Son-in-law is not what I call him. He is a son to me. He is hardworking, loving, dependable and makes great sacrifices for the sake of his family. What he gives h