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.
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.
- He SERVES!!!!I have many memories of Paul T. coming to visit us throughout the years. He always ended up wielding a broom, organizing/cleaning our garage, or looking for a bungee cord for some reason or another:-) #LOL #ohno😂
- He SUPPORTS!!! Paul T. Is an encourager and supporter. I always felt 100% accepted and loved by Paul T. (even though I was a hot mess at times). He is a cheerleader to me in my roles as wife, mom, and blogger. He is actually one of my most loyal followers. #familysavvysubscriber #readseverypost
- He SHUNS SHACKLES. Paul T. refuses to be tracked, confined, or constrained by a cell phone, Life 360, or a roadmap. Although everyone in the family doesn’t love this trait, I think it is hilarious.
- He STUDIES and SELF-IMPROVES. He is a reader. A learner. A leader. A self-starter. From being a businessman to a preacher to a college professor and beyond, he never stops growing AND sharing what he knows for the benefit of others.
- He SEES THE BEST in all things. Whether stranded on the interstate in a snowstorm (pre-cell phones), lost en route to a wedding in TX (#iknowexactlywhereiamgoing #themapiswrong), or rebuilding life after a stroke, Paul T. Chooses JOY.
- He really is SWEEEET Paul T (a pet name of mine). Through 30+ years of family “discussions” (from politics to religion and beyond) that could have gone awry, Paul T. never takes any disagreement with him personally. We can thresh out arguments that might never be resolved, but in the end, the relationships are still intact.
- He is STRAIGHTFORWARD. He will (jokingly) call out #line breakers (Six Flags ), point out to us any time we are engaged in #stinkin’thinkin, and boldly challenge us to see truth and be our best.
HAPPY HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY Paul T. YOU ARE THE PERFECT FATHER-IN-LAW FOR ME!!!!!!!
7 Traits of a Great Father-in-Law
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!!