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Can two women love the same man?

by Sara Vogt - January 31, 2014

Ernie K. Doe recorded a song in 1961 that gave him a number one hit on Billboard and R&B charts, one that was not very complimentary about mothers-in-law.

Terri Apter, a psychologist at Cambridge University, uses research gathered over the past 20 years to show that the relationship between female in-laws can be far tenser than the one between a man and his wife’s mom. After speaking with 163 people, Apter discovered that more than 60% of women felt that friction with their husband’s mother had caused them long-term stress. Despite all the gags, only 15% of men complained that their mothers-in-law caused them headaches.

In the Home Page studio today is Annie Chapman, author of The Mother-in-Law Dance, who read the first page of her book to set the stage for a discussion of—and to encourage us in—our relationships.

‘The candles are lit, the room glows with a soft yellow hue, the groom, the pastor, and the wedding party are in place at the altar. As all eyes eagerly watch the closed door at the chapel’s entrance, suddenly the air is changed from the sweet stillness of anticipation to the first notes of the beautiful music chosen for the wedding processional. As the doors swing open, the bride’s heart races at the sound of the melodic cue to make that long-awaited, slow walk down the aisle of matrimony. But as the song plays, the lovely bride does not realize that she is not the only lady in the room who has been cued by the music.

Her mother-in-law-to-be is also called to respond to the melody. While the young woman in white moves gracefully with the music toward her chosen one, the song calls the mother of the groom to graciously step to the side. In reality, the wedding processional is not just for the bride, it is also a cue for a lifelong dance to begin for two special women in one man’s life.’

In her book she writes that, for most parents, the grace to love and enfold these new family-members-by-law is a mere continuum of the parental love that they enjoy with their own children. But she also discusses some of the different issues that might face new family members.

During the interview, Annie shared with us what some of the mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law told her they desired in the relationships, such as: the daughter-in-law wants the mother-in-law to be positive and encouraging, to let them live their own lives and give advice only when needed; and the mother-in-law wants the daughter-in-law to love her husband, to be teachable, and to not complain about her son to other people.

The subtitle of the book is, Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? Annie told us, “Yes they can, but not without a lot of work and maturity.” Also, she stated that being kind and respectful to each other are some of the keys for successful relationships. Annie’s last word of encouragement to us in the interview was, “In the idea of the dance, who leads in that dance? The mother-in-law leads, but she leads by backing off.”

For more information on Annie’s books, you can go to steveandanniechapman.com.

Credits:

Produced by Vogt Media