Former In-Laws and Pride


Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

-Proverbs 26:12, NIV

Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.

-Psalm 138:6, KJV

Beware of the proud in-law.

These are the sort of people that think they know how to fix your marriage issues. Their cheating child isn’t the problem, and it all has to do with getting the adultery victim to do things differently. They refuse to accept reality that their child just made choices to totally drive the marriage in the ditch.

I know I engaged with my (now) former in-laws far too much while my marriage dissolved. What I “won” from such interactions were theologically framed lectures about how I needed to repent and what love really looks like all while their daughter was cheating with another man!

To say such conversations were unproductive would be a real understatement.

Pride is the real issue in such interactions. The in-law is unwilling to accept reality. They do not want to think they raised a child who perpetrated such evil. And/or they do not want to see their child hurt anymore. So, they off-load their guilt and denial upon the faithful spouse. They hope such a move will alleviate the pain their child is experiencing due to his/her own choices and actions!

In a sense, they are worshiping an idol–i.e. their own “perfect” parent image. They will not accept the reality that their child perpetrated evil–i.e. committed adultery–because that means accepting a new identity–namely, being a parent of a cheater. That is a threat to their idol; so, they decide to blame the faithful spouse for their child’s behavior.

To be clear: Parents are not responsible for their adult children’s choices and actions (e.g. Ezekiel 18:20).

However, that truth does not excuse said parents for sinning further against their son or daughter-in-law by blaming and otherwise attacking them for their child’s infidelity and its destruction.

Humility is warranted in such situations. Not pride.



6 thoughts on “Former In-Laws and Pride”

  1. Chances are such in-laws let their child/ren off the hook when raising them..which led to unwarranted sense of entitlement. Not taking responsibility and minimizing harm towards others is so cowardly.

  2. Reading this reminds me of the talk I had with my former mother-in-law prior to my divorce regarding the reason why – my discovery of his infidelity. She first said, “Everybody cheats” and then said, “Well, you ARE going through menopause.” I wanted her to “get it” so I kept explaining and she finally said the word “betrayal” in response to what I was saying. She said that she just didn’t know if she could believe me or not. I asked her , “Do you think I am lying?” She did not actually say she thought I was lying, but said that if what I was saying was the truth, then, “I don’t know my son.”

    1. Well, if it is any consolation, most faithful spouses would be in the same place as your MIL not knowing her own son. We didn’t think our spouse was capable of cheating either.

      But, yes, trying to convince a MIL in that place is an exercise in futility. Clearly, she is willing to disregard facts for her own bias.

  3. Yes. It is an understatement to say those conversations with in-laws are unproductive. Unfortunately, some parents take it hard when their children do evil things. Instead of opening their eyes to the truth, they may instead “shoot the wounded” with words and actions. Situations like this remind me of two verses:

    Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. -Proverbs 26:4

    Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth. -Proverbs 17:25

  4. Like JannaG said ” Instead of opening their eyes to the truth, they may instead “shoot the wounded” with words and actions.”

    My personal observation is that In-Laws DO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH.

    It is just too uncomfortable to live with such truth.

    Pride gets in their way.

    Thus they invent/look for reason to escape this reality, and rather shoot the wounded to get rid themselves of their own shame. Mask it somehow.

    This strongly reminds me of people who abandon their own pets on the street. Cowards they are for abandoning to begin with, but in addition they invent charges against the faithful to salt the wounds even more. Cowards, Cowards, Cowards they are.

    But God has not abandoned us, with Him we will survive.

    That song sang by Gloria Gaynor “I will survive” has been translated in to many languages and is very popular across the globe for a good reason.

    God knows the truth, and so do we.

  5. I think there is a connection between this type of parent and the cheating type of adult child. These type of parents never face the facts about their children and teach their children from a very young age to blame others for their bad behaviors and that delusions are better than responsibility. I think when a child is raised this way they are more likely to be a cheating type of adult because they believe their behaviors have no real consequences and they can always just place blame on others and do whatever they want. I’m sure this isn’t the case 100% of the time but I’m sure there is a strong correlation. I know my mother in law is the type of person who is always right, in her mind it is always someone else’s fault and her family is perfect (yeah right, perfectly broken) and she has taught her children these beliefs very well. No wonder it was so easy for my ex to cheat.

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