Dear Mother in Law...

or: a mi querida suegra,

Before I got married, I had many expectations for my future husband. There were so many things I imagined, so many things I thought he should be like to be a perfect match for me. I thought about the picture-perfect guy - charming, funny, handsome, successful, protective, motivating, faithful, loving, and always patient and supportive. I thought I needed to be with the perfect guy in order to have a happy ending – not realizing that marriage would only be the beginning. Little had I an idea about how unrealistic and naive my expectations were, and how much pressure I put on my dear future husband – I didn’t even know him yet and already thought about all the things he had to do!

Time flew by and one day I met this wonderful man. Wonderful, caring, sweet, funny, but at the same time always busy and not really the relationship kind of guy. One of the first things he told me was that his job in the Military required him to move a lot – and I really mean a lot, as if he wanted me to know from the day we met what exactly I was getting myself into (we had just met and he already wanted me to know about his future plans – I didn’t know if that was creepy or sweet!). I really never wanted to move far away from my hometown in Germany. I loved the beautiful and country-like scenery, the big and lively cities nearby, and living close to my friends and family who mean the world to me. So at the first sight, this man was great, but didn’t seem like the perfect match I had imagined.

Moving forward (4 years to be exact) we now have been happily married for 2,5 years, moved away from Germany to live in the beautiful Washington State, and are now living for 2 years in Colombia, South America, which is a country so rich of culture and history! So many people, even some of my close friends, doubted that we would survive a year apart when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan and would make it through moving around, especially since I’m so very close to my family. So what happened? How did we make it through the difficult times of separation, moving around, and starting from zero? I could sound very dreamy now and say “love”, which is true, but it’s only the half. The other half, which plays an important part, goes straight to my beautiful mother-in-law.

Because without her, my husband would have never learned the importance of having patience and loving unconditionally. There have been so many times that I found myself incredibly homesick and lonely, which sometimes made me behave and react in very ugly ways. I’m not perfect by all means, and I’m very surprised by how many times my husband has comforted me and heard me say the famous words “I want to go home” without losing faith in our love and my strength. He truly has been the most patient person I have ever met. Dear mother-in-law, I have no idea how you achieved this and I can’t thank you enough!

Without her, my husband would have never known what it really means to respect women and to see them as equal partners. My mother-in-law is a beautiful and strong Hispanic women. I giggled when my husband told me how she would take off her heavy shoes (she is very tiny… VERY tiny!,) and throw them at him when he misbehaved. Then, it was only a funny story for me, but now I realize how these strong actions, combined with the hard work she put in providing for and raising her children, shaped my husband’s outlook on women. He wants needs me to be successful – in whatever way I desire to! He respects my dreams, wishes, and plans, and does everything in his power to help me achieve them. He never makes me feel as if my work – which right now consists of studying to be a therapist, doing chores, and blogging – is less worth it and hard than him doing his daily job. We, our work, our dreams, and the things we do for our little family, are equal, and he respects everything I do and want – no matter how silly it might sound to him.

Without her, my husband would have never known how much it takes to raise children. My mother-in-law raised two lovely and amazing children, and later co-raised my beautiful niece. He wasn’t only raised by his mother, but also was able to observe her co-raising another child as he got older. He knows what efforts and sacrifices it takes. How much money and nerves is costs, and how much patience really is necessary. He doesn’t go blindly into “ok, let’s have baby!”, but is very considered about it. He wants children, with all his heart, but knows what it takes to be a good parent and realizes that we are not at the perfect stage to be parents. He doesn’t make decisions lightly, but learned from his mother to be well-thought-out and smart about important life decisions (and if he is not, I’m always there to help him out haha).

Without her, my husband would have never learned to be as kind as he is. His mother, as wonderful as she is, has always been the nicest person and has never held grudges. She is never truly angry at anyone, but always tries to see the best in people and their actions. My husband is definitely one of those people who get easily frustrated about other people, but he will never be rude or angry with somebody. He is always kind, especially with people that he does not know, and I really appreciate this about him. It says much about a person if he gives more than he takes, even if it’s just the little things. I remember him buying extra groceries for a lady and her daughter that would wait around our local grocery store every day, while other people simply ignored them. Once, he told me that the most important thing he learned from his mother was kindness, and I really can agree with this.

Last, but most importantly, without my mother-in-law, my husband would have never learned how important it is not to give up on the person he loves. His mother has been through many hard times, being separated from her husband for a long time and basically raising her children by herself for a while, but she never gave up on the love she and her husband shared. Being married really isn’t as easy as we envision when we are younger. There are no perfect husbands/wives and no perfect marriages. In fact, there are two people who share a romantic and strong love for each other, and decide every day again to be together and to overcome all obstacles as a team. My mother-in-law taught my husband that marriage is not perfect, and that it needs work, dedicated, determination, and love – every single day. Some days it’s easier, and some days it might be harder. The importance is that you always try to figure out a solution together, as partners, and even go through the hard times with faith. For me, this is the most important lesson ever taught. Going through difficult times together only enriches relationships and even builds trust and comfort overt time.

So, dear mother-in-law, thank you for raising my husband! Thank you for teaching him countless important life-lessons and preparing him for many difficult and beautiful times. Thank you for welcoming me to your family with open arms. Thank you for being a wonderful and loving grandmother for our future children. Thank you for all your support, love, and patience. And most importantly: Thank you for your son, this amazing man, who is more than I could have every imagined - even in my wildest dreams!

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