Bridging The Gap ~ When Your Mother-In-Law Is Catholic And You Are Not

Is your mother-in-law a devout Catholic and you are not? If so, you may have come at odds with her at some point, or perhaps you are both amicable and respectful of each other's religious belief; however, you may have a desire to show compassion and love towards your mother-in-law. Despite your efforts, you may feel as though your differences in your faith are interfering with you bonding with her. The following are some examples of ways that you can attempt to bridge religious gaps and form better familial bonds with your husband's mother. 

Catholic Gifts

If you are not familiar with the Catholic religion, one of the best ways to know the appropriate type of gift to give to your mother-in-law is by asking someone who is more familiar with her religion. You should not take the matter of choosing a gift for her lightly because selecting a gift without understanding her religion could hinder your relationship. Perhaps your husband was once a Catholic, and he would be a good person to obtain advice from even if he has converted to your religion now. A religious goods store that caters to Catholic-based families is another resource you could use to find appropriate gifts such as Catholic statues, pins, crucifixes or other religious items. 

Spouse Encouragement

If your husband is still a Catholic or undecided about his ultimate faith, you can help your new marital situation by encouraging him to continue to attend his Catholic religious services as well as yours. Forcing him to choose a religion could cause him and his mother to disagree, and if that disagreement is ever traced back to you, it might be difficult to make amends. 

Transparency with Grandchildren

Perhaps you have not had children, but if you plan to, ensure that you speak well of your mother-in-law's religion. If she inquires about the children attending religious services with her, try to be open to the idea. Discouraging the children may lead to future resentments from them and their grandmother towards you. Some Catholic grandmothers give religious gifts to their children and grandchildren. Refusing to allow your children to accept gifts from their grandmother could disrupt amicable family dealings. You can educate your children about your faith and hers, but always be mindful that one day they will decide which religion closest matches their own faith and belief system. 

Major Religious Dates Attendance

Sometimes people from different religious backgrounds find that important dates clash. This is often the case when the foundational roots of religions stem from the same source. Unless your mother-in-law's religion significantly clashes with your own beliefs, try to attend her church for major religious dates pertinent to the Catholic religion. Invite her to yours too. As a family, you may find it beneficial to keep a calendar handy to determine which dates you will attend services with her.