A letter to my future Daughter in Law

Letter | Slightly Off KilterDear Future Daughter-In-Law,

It seems silly to think of things like marriage and my son as a father at this point in my life, but if you are reading this, today you are marrying my child.  Today, I am not losing a son, I am, in fact, gaining the daughter I never had.

As you walk down the aisle to meet your groom, please know that I have envisioned this day many times.  As you meet your husband, the tears I am likely to shed are not tears wept for the loss of a childhood as I watch my son stand at your side as a man, but rather tears of joy at the expression of love you both share.

There is a lot of me in the man you are about to marry.  There is also a lot of his dad.  I hope you realize that I’m likely your best source of information when the ugliest parts rear their head.  They will.  It’s not always within his control.  I’m sorry for that.

The good news though is that he also has so much of the best of us both that it should even out.  When he frustrates you… and he will… let’s grab a coffee or a pedicure and chat.   I can likely provide insight that will help you both to better understand each other.

I will not always take his side.  I will not always take yours.  I will however always take the side of truth and the marriage.  Even with two divorces under my belt, I still believe that marriage is sacred.  I believe it is beautiful.  I believe that when you are wrong you say you are wrong and then move forward together with the partner you made a promise to.  An unbreakable vow that far too many break.  I often wonder how different our lives would have been if his father and I both had someone to take the side of the marriage.  I vowed when we divorced that I would fill that roll if and when my own children married.  I haven’t forgotten that promise.

The man you see standing before you will always be my baby.  When you have children of your own, you will truly understand this.  I can not count the times I have rocked him or watched him sleep when he was too big to fit in my lap.  I treasure the hugs and moments together that helped form him into the man you see. I have often stared at him hoping that I did enough.

I have tried to impart on him lessons that will make your lives easier.  He is well versed in how to properly load a dishwasher and how to clean the laundry.  Do not let him mislead you in his knowledge of these tasks.  I have taught him how to cook and clean so that you can lean on him as your partner and together decide how the menial tasks of day to day life should be accomplished.  Together.

That said, when planning a trip somewhere, go ahead and buy a new package of socks and underwear as soon as you think of it.  EVERY TIME.  Just trust me.  He won’t likely be able to find any and this will save you from the mad dash to Target or Walmart when you are trying to pack.

I would love to take credit for teaching him to love but that is something he taught me.  He has a large heart and the patience that so many lack.  Please treat both as the gift that they are.  He has given you both and entrusted you with their care.  They are more valuable than any worldly gift you can ever imagine.

His love language is touch by the way.  When he is stressed or angry, hug him.  Remind him that you are there.  Hold his hand and you will ultimately hold his heart.

If and when you have children of your own, please understand that I will likely spoil them.  That’s the benefit of being a Nana.  I will not, however, ever contradict your wishes.  I will support you as their mother in all things because strong parents deserve our support.

I will be a sounding board for you and my son as you navigate the rocky roads of parenthood, however I will not meddle and tell you that you are wrong.  Life has a way of teaching us that lesson all on its own.  Instead, I will listen.  If you wish my opinions, I hope you will ask for it.

I would hope that I would be there for every precious moment as the biggest cheerleader your children have.  If geography prevents my presence, know I will always be there in spirit.

Today is the start of a new chapter for us all.  I am anxious and excited to see what the future holds and look forward to watching the two of you as you build your life together.

My only request is that you love each other.  Every moment of every day you are presented with a choice to love your husband just as he is presented with the chance to choose to love you.  The road you travel will not always be easy, but it will be easier if you choose love.

Love does not mean that the road is free from obstacles.  It only means that you need not climb the mountain alone.

Love does not mean that you are free from pain and heartache.  It only means that there is someone with you to hold you close and comfort you in your grief.

Love does not mean that you will be free of darkness.  It only means that there is someone to light a candle and wait patiently for you to join them when you are ready.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I hope that the future for you both is a bright as I imagine it being.

Know that even before I know you, I love and appreciate you for all the happiness you bring my child.

Until we meet,

Your future Mother in Law


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  1. My son just got married a few days ago… I shared this with my, now official, daughter in law. Beautifully written.

  2. I love this. I’ve had a couple of terrific MIL’s, and this made me want to reach out to X2’s Mom who I lost touch with over the last few years. We were close for long after her son and I split up, but then she moved in with her other son and I stopped hearing from her. Sadly X2 doesn’t speak to her at all.

  3. You have a very fortunate daughter-in-law in your future. I love the thought of someone taking the side of truth in the marriage — all marriages, healthy and unhealthy need that.

  4. BEAUTIFUL! I love that you took the time to write this NOW.

  5. Geez! I’m all sad now. You gave her the blue print!

  6. Ok, I’m crying and I haven’t even finished my coffee. That was beautiful.

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