7 Traits of a Great Father-in-Law (From a Daughter-in-Law’s Perspective)


Being a great father-in-law is important, so I am sharing 7 traits of a great father-in-law from a daughter-in-law’s perspective.

7 Traits of a Great Father-in-Law (From a Daughter-in-Law's Perspective.jpg

Today is my Father-in-Law’s 80th birthday, and Zane asked each of us to write down qualities that we appreciate about his dad (aka Paul T.).  Zane read these things to his dad at a birthday breakfast this morning.

Zane encouraged me to share this on the blog. After all, many of us will likely have a father-in-law at some point in life. Many men will BE a father-in-law at some point in life. This is a role that gets little press (unlike the mother-in-law role) but that is important nontheless.

Even though it won’t make perfect sense to most of you, I’ll share the reflections that I wrote about my father-in-law on his 80th birthday. Then I’ll follow that with a few tips on what makes a great father-in-law from my perspective as a daughter-in-law.

7 Things I LOVE About My Father-in-Law Paul T.

  1. He is joyful! Paul T. is the consummate enneagram 7. He sees the glass half full. He finds the positive slant in every situation.  No matter what life throws at him, he stays positive, upbeat, and funny.
  1. He is an encourager.  Paul T. is his daughter-in-law’s biggest “fan!” He reads every blog post and listens to every podcast. He tells me specific things that he enjoys about each one, and he makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile.
  1. He is a learner. Paul T. never stops growing, reading, learning and seeking to become better. Personal growth, self-improvement, and spiritual development are at the top of his priority list.
  1. He is wise. Paul T. has been and continues to be a voice of reason and sound Godly wisdom and advice to many.
  1. He sees the BEST. Even when I wasn’t the best or sweetest daughter-in-law, Paul T. always treated me like I was. He always found everything positive and good about me, and he made sure to speak those things out loud to Zane. This helped my marriage immensely in those hard early years.


Being a great father-in-law is important, so I am sharing 7 traits of a great father-in-law from a daughter-in-law's perspective.


7 Traits of a Great Father-in-Law

  1. Cut the apron strings to your son. Although this term really applies to mothers-in-law, you get the point. Encourage your son to be the best he can be in his role as husband.  Be the biggest advocate for his marriage~not just for him individually.
  2. Remember that your son has always had faults. Your son was not perfect before he married her (your daughter-in-law). Every change that you see in your son post marriage~good or bad~ is not her doing.
  3. Compliment and encourage your daughter-in-law. Thank her for the good things about her (even though there are both good and bad). Build her up as a wife and mother. Focus on the good; ignore the bad.
  4. Keep your wife (the mother-in-law) in her place. Remind your wife that she is no longer the primary woman in your son’s life. Remind her to keep expectations low as far as visits, holidays, etc….Thankfully my mother-in-law supports being #2 and embraces me at First Lady LOL:-) But some mom have a harder time, and the father’s-in-law can encourage in this area.
  5. Accept your son and daughter-in-law’s goals and choices. Your son and daughter-in-law may choose to have children or not. Live close or far away. Belong to the same church you do or not. Homeschool or public school. Be democrats or republicans or libertarian. Expect and accept that differences will arise as your son grows as a person and a husband.
  6. Be a servant. When times are tough, being a servant is the best path to take. Sleep over for a few days when newborns are in the family and let the son and daughter-in-law sleep. Offer to take the baby for a weekend. Clean the garage. Blow leaves. Give a gift certificate to a dinner out. Serving and blessing will never go out of style and can help cement an in-law connection.
  7. Be a great grandparent.   This leads me to a funny anecdote in our family.  When the twins were toddlers, Zane and I were in a strict parenting class about preventing spoiled kids. Being overly zealous,  we gave his parents a list of “rules” for the girls (i.e. no candy, strict bedtime, no watching TeleTubbies LOL). Years later, Paul T. told us they read the letter, chuckled, and tucked it in a drawer (and proceeded to grandparent just like they wanted). Despite tons of candy, staying up late, and a hefty dose of Teletubbies….the girls turned out just fine. The moral of the story? #whathappensatthegrandsstaysatthegrands😍 #lovethegrandkidsandignoresillyrules

These are just a few tips that I hope might encourage and inspire current or future father-in-laws to be the best they can be. I am thankful to have a great father-in-law, and Zane is thankful that he has one as well. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Wishing you a joyful, blessed, and savvy day!!!

Similar Posts


  1. Dedicated to my Father in Law

    Ode to A Vintage Soul ©
    Gary Shulman, MS. Ed.
    July 1, 2021

    As his journey approaches 90 years
    Of life on earth, it’s time,
    To reflect on such a glorious life,
    A life like vintage wine,
    It has not always been easy
    As the seasons came and went,
    But one thing for sure
    We can celebrate,
    Is a life that was very well spent,
    Spent loving a Catskills home so sweet
    Replete with hummingbirds and bears,
    Replete with loving friends and family
    Who visited throughout the years,
    This folk on the hill
    This one of a kind
    Would stand out in a crowd,
    Yes sometimes not always appropriate
    And maybe a bit too loud,
    But lord knows always engaging
    On topics of days gone by,
    Like Hollywood celebrities
    Or wars that made him cry,
    His wife of more than 60 years
    Always there like his Rock of Gibraltar,
    Ready to catch him when he needs support
    Making sure he doesn’t falter,
    His children, his joy, his prodigy
    His greatest gift to this earth,
    Adore his quirks, his good, his bad,
    His passion and his mirth,
    And mirth he has in buckets full
    As laughter flows like rain,
    His view of life unique, divine
    And sometimes a bit insane,
    And now each day for this glorious man
    Comes with just a tad more pain,
    Those eyes may need a bit more time
    To communicate with his brain,
    But rest assured well loved is he
    And loved he’ll always be,
    For 90 years well spent and shared
    Is quite a legacy




    PAUL T.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *