The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship can be one of the most challenging dynamics a woman will ever face. The caricatures are everywhere, the jokes are inexhaustible and the stereotypes fill TV and movie screens. On one hand, two women should be able to bond over their mutual admiration for the man-in-the-middle — theoretically. However, many times the woman-in-law relationship proves to be a battleground for two women who love the same man: the wife and the mother.
In Related By Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law & Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications / November 1, 2013 / ISBN 978-0825443251 / $13.99), Deb DeArmond provides practical tools and tips coupled with the scriptural foundations to bring harmony and understanding to the woman-in-law relationship. DeArmond’s one objective is to help women move from simply being related to becoming strong and confident members of a truly spiritual family. Her practical and unapologetically scriptural book covers issues of personal perceptions, strained communication, the roles of sons and fathers in the relationship’s success, how to begin these relationships on the right foot and the necessity of trust and love.
In preparation for writing the book, DeArmond and her three daughters-in-law conducted their own exhaustive research into the status of the women-in-law relationship. Through their research, which incorporated online surveys, interviews and discussions, they found that one in every three women reported their relationship with their mother-in-law or daughter-in-law was “bad,” which they described as not close, difficult and filled with criticism or simply off-balance. They found this statistic to be consistent within Christian homes and outside of faith. For this reason, the wisdom DeArmond brings to readers in Related By Chance, Family by Choice is incredibly relevant.
Beyond the statistics and analysis, DeArmond brings more than thirty years’ experience in working with adults to improve communications and deal constructively with conflict. Aside from her research and her professional expertise, perhaps the most important asset DeArmond offers readers is her own relationship with her three daughters-in-law. The relationship she shares with the younger women is so obviously and unusually positive that all four women are often asked to explain the secret of the relationships they share. “I understand the pattern of women being closer to their own families, but I believed it was possible for the families on both sides to maintain close relationships that expanded the family in both directions. That was my prayer, and God answered it,” explains DeArmond. “We aren’t smarter, luckier or more spiritual than others. What we are is determined to live beyond the stereotypes and just bright enough to know we can’t do it without the Lord.”
“It is possible to have a sound relationship between ‘women-in-law,’ although it may not be easy,” DeArmond asserts. “This book explores how to do it, not in our own strength or ability, but doing it God’s way — by walking, not in the law, but in love — and if necessary, He’ll loan us some of His. The book provides practical tools and tips coupled with the scriptural foundations to align this relationship with God’s word.”
Words of Wisdom from Related by Chance, Family by Choice:
- You are responsible for your behavior. Let God handle the results.
- When God created a woman to walk with Adam in life, He didn’t make a mama. He created a wife.
- If blood is thicker than water, are you willing to let the blood of Christ make you family?
- Leaving and cleaving. It’s a commandment, not a suggestion.
- A note to boy mamas: He was yours to raise, but never to keep!
- Hey Boy Mama! God never meant for you to be the most important woman in his life. That spot belongs to his wife!
- When we use ourselves as the measuring stick, the whole world comes up short! Celebrate differences! Different is not wrong. It’s just different.
- Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He’s trying to change your heart.
About the author
Deb DeArmond has worked in the field of learning and development for more than 25 years. A certified executive coach, she has trained in corporate settings across the nation and around the world in areas of leadership, communication, conflict resolution and relationship building. Although she has been active in ministry throughout her life, God redirected DeArmond’s focus in 2011 — to use these skills and abilities to minister to the body of Christ.
DeArmond’s first book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications) combines her expertise in communication and relationships with her heart for ministry. She is co-founder of My Purpose Now (mypurposenow.org), a website devoted to Christian women 50+, and also blogs about Family Matters on her own website (debdearmond.com/blog/).
DeArmond is married to her high school sweetheart, Ron, who led her to Jesus 40 years ago. She is Mom to three incredible sons, three fabulous daughter-in-loves, and Gigi to three perfect grandsons. She considers her family to be an incredible gift from the Lord and spending time together doing life tops her list of favorites. However, she makes it clear, “Jesus is my favorite, and the guys have learned to live with it.”
Native Californians who have lived in Texas for 9 years, Deb and Ron live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. She loves to travel, and considers herself a foodie. Her idea of the perfect job would be to travel on someone else’s dime, writing about her experiences, and eating her way around the world!