A Request from my Father-In-Law

It was been a wild couple months! I left my job in anticipation of our little family moving, my husband graduated with honors from his AIT class, I had to pack up our apartment in a single weeks, and now it has been a lot of waiting. But, in the waiting, I think I’ve found some valuable lessons as well.

My husband left for our new station a month ago, leaving me here to wait for my command sponsorship to go through, housing to get approved, and to handle the paperwork over here. Things are going a lot slower than we were expecting, but that’s just part of life I guess. We had both been hoping that by this point we’d already be together at the new base, and finally getting to enjoy being married. My one year anniversary of my wedding is next month, and I’ve spent a whopping 47 days with my husband since we said our vows!

It has definitely been trying. Thankfully, my in-laws have been kind enough to let me stay with them while I sit in military limbo, waiting for someone to tell me where to go and what to do. My in-laws have also offered limitless words of advice, in addition to their generous kindness of letting me stay in their spare room. A lot of the advice is things we’ve all heard before. Listen to each other. You’re going to fight, don’t let it become a big thing. Ect…

What I have to say though, is that, not their words, but watching them has been one of the biggest lessons to me.

My in-laws love each other very much, but they aren’t kind to one another. Mother M is the kind that always wants to tell you about her husbands flaws, and father M sees it, is hurt by it, and lets it fester into frustration and pain until he gets deeply upset over small mistakes. It’s not an uncommon dynamic however. How often do we see wives portrayed in media as these suffering figures who have a longer list of complaints than of compliments for their spouse?

Every disagreement and fight I’ve watched them have over the last month and a half has been because of a lack of kindness to one another. Every instance has been because someone had to “poke fun” and mock the other to an un-involved bystander.

This morning, my father-in-law and I were talking a walk, we get along rather well and enjoy early morning walks with the dogs where we can share quiet conversation. This morning was a little bit different though. We got down the street, rounded the corner, and he stopped in his tracks. Looking back at him, he seemed so solemn, and I turned to ask if everything was okay.

This morning, my father-in-law asked me to always be kind to his son.

He told me again that we would disagree, we would fight, we would think the other had made a bad decision; and he asked me even in those times to temper my words and actions with kindness.

I thought his concern was because of an ongoing conversation my husband and I have been having, regarding the purchase of a new car (he wants to buy more car than I think we need, but it’s also our first “nice” car, and I understand he wants something he can really enjoy). I jumped to tell him that I don’t disagree with his son even on the car, I just want to feel included in the purchase decision since it will be both of ours’ vehicle for the next few years, and assured him that we weren’t fighting over it.

He told me though, that wasn’t the problem. He knew we weren’t fighting about the car, we both just have very different opinions of what kind of car we should look at. No, he told me, the problem is that he wants to make sure I never forget to speak to and about my husband with kindness. That I remember my words will hurt him more deeply than anyone else’s. That I remember I am there to build him up and support him, not to tear him down.

I hadn’t even really realized it, but I had been feeling frustrated, distant, and upset with how long this move is taking, and in that moment I felt like God was reminding me through my father-in-law, that all things come in their own season, it does me no good to curse the ground in winter for not having flowers. I don’t know if he saw the frustration building up in me, and that’s why he chose to say something this morning, or if he just felt moved to compel me to kindness, but his words rang through to the very core of my soul.

I’m in a trying time right now, far away from my husband and struggling to feel like I have any control in my life. But I don’t need control right now. I need patience and a kind heart. So, to anyone reading this today, who needed a reminder, I hope this brought some semblance of peace to you.

Thank you, father M, for reminding me that my duty to my husband is to support him, and for reminding me to seek kindness in my heart. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for working through your children to bring grace into our lives.

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