Leaving the plethora of mother-in-law jokes aside, the relationship between a man and his wifes mother can sometimes be very difficult. Its only natural that every parent believes that their daughter deserves the very best, and often its all too easy for a mother or father to fall into the trap of feeling that they still know whats best for their children even when theyre fully grown up and independent. Conflict can arise and it when it does, it makes life difficult for everyone involved.
Its best to avoid animosity by getting your future mother-in-law firmly in your camp before making a proposal. While that might be a lot harder in practice than it is on paper, the effort will be well worth it in the long run. The first thing to do is be patient. Remember that her generations standards may be different from your own and it may take a while to prove that youre a good person who really does love her daughter and intend to care for her. Be polite, even formal at first, but not too showy or ostentatious.
Dont try and completely change your personality for her but place a little extra emphasis on neatness and courtesy. Go that extra mile for your girlfriends family just as you would for her. There are very few mothers-in-law who wont warm to a man who is determined to be pleasant and helpful.
Dont discuss engagement rings the first time you meet. Get to know your loved ones family first- while you dont have to fall in love with them too, you might have to put up with them for a very long time to come so take care to get the relationships off on the right foot. Volunteering to take on a few small tasks can make a big difference. Mowing the lawn or picking up an elderly relative doesnt take much effort. An evening spent babysitting may be more challenging but showing that youre willing to look after children can be very valuable indeed.
When the time does come to select a ring, asking the advice of your girlfriends mother can make her feel involved and respected. If she recommends a hugely elaborate five stone diamond ring that you dont think will suit her daughter at all, you dont have to go with it. Sometimes simply asking for advice will be enough to get her on side. However, do remember that your girlfriends mother may know her tastes very well indeed, so its worth taking the guidance seriously.
The mother-in-law-to-be can also be very useful in other ways. When planning a proposal its always handy to know the ladys ring size, for example. While its always possible to resize a ring theres nothing quite like slipping on one of our unique engagement rings and finding a perfect fit. Your girlfriends mother may already know her daughters ring size. If not, shell almost certainly be able to get it for you without arousing the suspicion that youre about to go down on one knee.