Can We Be Friends?

How to draw closer to your mother-in-law

AS OUR PLANE touched down in the sweltering airport of San Pedro Sulas, Honduras, my mother-in-law glanced at me with a grin. "Are you ready for this?"

Inwardly, I wasn't too sure. After all, I would be spending the next two weeks with my in-laws, while my husband, Rob, remained in the States to work. We would be visiting Rob's sister, her Honduran husband, and their new baby.

My thoughts flew back to an evening in California just one and a half years earlier, after Rob had proposed and taken me home to meet his parents. Having come from an openly affectionate family, I was taken aback when his mom and dad didn't hug me during the introductions, or even act particularly enthusiastic to meet me. Rob had warned me the way his family expressed love was different from mine—but his reminder did little to ward off my fears about their lukewarm reception.

Now here I was, left nearly alone with a woman whose opinion of me had the power to affect my marriage for better or for worse. Though we'd had many pleasant telephone conversations since Rob and I married, I wasn't quite sure where I stood with her.

Over the next two weeks, as we climbed ancient Mayan ruins, waded in the Caribbean, and laughed over the iguanas literally climbing through the house walls, I discovered more than just a new person to call "Mom." I found a new woman to call "friend."

Our ways of showing love were definitely different. But as we got to know each other, we discovered wonderful similarities. In a tiny mountainside shop we each were drawn to the same brightly colored material. We found ourselves ordering the same meals at restaurants, and discovered we had the same taste in music. Long talks in the evenings revealed we enjoyed many of the same hobbies. We even shared a similar sense of humor!

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May 25

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