My mother has always filled the role of "most important woman in my life". She’s the one who gave birth to me and, as a result, there’s an unconditional bond between us that’s second to none. That is…until I got married. All of a sudden this new female figure took on a central role that in some cases trumps that of my mother. My emergency contact and primary beneficiary now becomes my wife. It’s a reality I’d considered would come to pass during my engagement and one my mother conceded to on my wedding day when she said, “Now I'm you're No. 2, but you'll always be my No. 1 son.”
One thing no one warned me about was how to juggle my other mother. It’s a given that when you marry someone you don’t just make a vow to them but to their entire family tree, namely your mother-in-law. In the time that I’ve know my wife’s mother she’s been just that my wife’s mother. There was no real connection or relationship between us outside of saying hi on the telephone or the few times we were in the same room during the time I was just some guy dating her daughter. But when I became the man that was going to marry her daughter the dynamic began to evolve—it had to.
I think it was over the holidays when it hit me. The wedding was only 21 days away and my then-fiancée and I were getting ready to leave her mother’s house. As I went to hug her goodbye I paused before saying, “Thanks, mom.” It was the first time I verbally acknowledged the fact that my wife’s mother was about to be my mother as well. It felt weird at first to call another woman mom, but that was the best word to describe the woman before me.
Two years ago, she not only accepted me into her daughter’s life but into her family. From our first meeting on the sandy beaches of Freeport, Bahamas, where I was slightly tipsy off of complimentary rum punches (a story for another blog), my mother-in-law has welcomed me with open arms and she’s been a gracious host, who’s kept me fed and entertained during Christmas Eve dinner the past few years. She’s treated me like a second son so considering her my second mother is only fitting.
The mother-in-law from hell does not exist. At least not in my world. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to not have come across a parental figure that I didn’t get along with and my mother-in-law is no different. Sure, we might not be into the same types of music or have the same view on over-sharing pictures on Facebook, but as far as our relationship goes there’s no problems.
Will that always be the case? Only time will tell. All I can do is continue to be genuine towards her and treat her daughter right. Oh, and love my other mother just as much as my birth mother. As long as they both realize that my wife comes first we should all be alright.
How important is it for your parents to like the person you’re seeing? Would that effect whether or not you married them? Sound off!
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress on here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.