Photo: Getty Images
You've got his love, but the path to marriage and a life together is certainly easier if the woman who gave birth to him is totally on board. Here, real bride's dish on how they bonded with their future mother-in-laws and avoided the dreaded monster-in-law situation.
"The first time I met my now mother-in-law was right before my boyfriend was going to propose. He and I flew to Houston and there was some awkwardness. She asked me if I wanted to join her on a 10-mile walk in the middle of the day heat of Houston, TX. I nearly got heatstroke but I felt after that like we were friends!" —Katie
"When we first got engaged Steve and I spent a lot of time with my family. The few times we stopped by his parents, I felt a wave of coldness from his mom. Finally Steve said to me, 'She's afraid when I'm married I'll never see her.' That was an Oprah 'aha' moment. From then on I called his mom regularly, asked her advice on wedding stuff, visited regularly with Steve, and she started calling me daughter. As long as she didn't expect me to call her mom, that was fine!" —Amy
"My fiancé's mother and I had absolutely nothing in common— except Seth, of course. So there were lots of silences when we were around each other. Worse, I felt she disapproved of my lifestyle. I admit I'm a workaholic and she was a stay at home mom who raised three kids. So I started asking her for cooking lessons, gardening lessons, how to knit— homey things, so she'd know I was interested in who she and was and what she could teach me. We bonded and I learned how to make a fabulous coq a vin." —Regina
"At first I treated Ed's mom the way I treat mine. If I didn't like something she liked, I'd say so. I'd make small jokes at her expense— the way we do in our family. Only the result here was three months before my wedding the woman whose son I was marrying could barely stand to be in the same room as me. So I invited her to brunch at the fancy new spot in town and begged for a second chance. I asked her what kind of daughter of law she wanted me to be. She said someone who treated her with respect and dignity. So now I save the wisecracking for my mom and treat Ed's mom with deference. And we're one big, happy extended family." —Beth
"Tom's mother was uncomfortable around me in the beginning. Tom was her only son and she clearly wasn't ready for him to be married. So I started asking her to show me pictures of him when he was a baby, to talk about his time in Little League, and asked her to share his favorite recipes. She no longer felt threatened but like my teacher— the person who held the key to what made Tom tick." —Ann
"When Bill told his mom we were getting married she was wary— was I really the right person for her precious boy? So I invited her to get together with my mom so they could share stories about their kids. Once my about to be mother-in-law realized I came from a kind, loving, good home she relaxed and jumped happily into wedding planning." —Kim
"Once I told her how much I adored her son, what a good job she'd done raising him, she warmed up and we began to develop a great relationship. I'm now married seven years and I consider Bob's mom like a second mother." —Risa
"She didn't like me until I got pregnant right after the wedding. Suddenly I was her favorite person in the world." —Ally
Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.