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"Journeys to Mother Love" & "Related by Chance, Family by Choice"

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A Jewish Proverb says "God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers" which offers a loving view of motherhood. However, that's not always how it is when "in-law" is added to a mother or father's name and the new family member is treated like an "out-law."

The ideal for any new family addition is to feel loved, wanted and included, however some relationship dynamics become strained, stressed and difficult when a son or daughter marries. It's those types of in-law relationships that become joke punch lines, comedy TV sitcoms and sometimes the stress separates families completely.

These two book reviews are about damaged and broken relationships between in-laws and moms and daughters and how they found healing and forgiveness.

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"Related by Chance, Family by Choice," by Deb DeArmond, Kregel Publications, 2013, 208 Pages, 978-0825443251, $13.99

Typical in-law stereotypes are used for comedy sitcoms, funny movies and jokes, yet for many they caricaturize hurtful and sometimes bitter, broken or damaged in-law relationships. Online websites such as I Hate my In-laws encourage surfers to "sound off about your own in-laws," while little is said about loving in-law relationships in print or online.

Deb DeArmond hopes to change that with the release of Related by Chance, Family by Choice where she provides practical tools, tips and skills that change stereotypical mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships into interactions of insightful understanding.

Deb, mother-in-law to three beautiful daughter-in-laws who call her "mother-in-love," shares the godly wisdom and insights from her own family that causes her to call her son's wives the "daughters of my heart." Trained as a "certified executive coach" in the corporate world in areas of leadership, communication, conflict resolution and relationship building adds to her expertise.

Chapters provide the "what" to do and end with resource sections that equip readers to put into practice what they have learned. Chapters also include self-assessment tests, a date to start, a plan of action and end with prayer. Some chapters include "quick tip" sheets.

The chapter on broken trust speaks to a critical issue in broken relationships with charts of, "I don't trust you, and you don't trust me" and a diagram of "trust busters." The specific words, statements and behavior coordinate with scriptures that reveal how trust is broken but also how to heal and start over.

This small book carries a huge message of renewal for those who suffer from hurtful and damaging in-law relationships.

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"Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell Their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing," Compiled by Catherine Lawton, Cladach Publishing, 2012, 224 Pages, 978-0981892955, $12.99

Catherine Lawton compiled nine stories of healing, forgiveness and restoration in Journeys to Mother Love with nine short stories from four generations of women on "mother love." Stories portray the sometimes difficult journey of the "mother-child relationship" that result in:

  • Inferiority and an inability to be the whole woman God created you to be until...
  • Abortion and the path of self-forgiveness and healing...
  • The cost of un-forgiveness for yourself or another...
  • Inability to connect with or communicate with your mother...
  • Coping with the significant personality shifts of Alzheimer's...

These short memoirs portray realistic struggles in journeys of healing and restoration in the lives of mom's and daughters that "touch every woman's heart." Readers will nod in appreciation of some stories, smile at others and a few will bring tears. However, the authenticity and reality of their struggles offer hope and encouragement for those who walk similar paths.

Midwest Book Reviews: April 2014

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Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell Their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing, Compiled by Catherine Lawton
Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell Their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing, Compiled by Catherine Lawton Cladach Publishing—2012

Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell Their Stories of Forgiveness & Healing, Compiled by Catherine Lawton

Women readers are sure to find themselves in one or more of these stories filled with grit and grace. The courageous authors of Journeys to Mother Love aren't merely venting about their mother wounds. Neither are they giving pat answers. The hurts were real and the healing was real.
From manipulation to abandonment, from neglect to favoritism, from mental illness to emotional distance, from abortion to Alzheimer's, these nine women from several generations, tell their personal stories with heart-wrenching honesty. Each had hurts and conflicts in their mother/daughter relationship that left them wounded and affected their relationships with others. Each tells how, with God's help, they experienced healing and new freedom to give and receive love.
Begin your own healing journey as you read:

• Take Care of Your Mother by Verna Simms
• Walking My Mother Home by Ardis A. Nelson
• Run, Run, as Fast as You Can by A.R. Cecil
• White Knuckles by Loritta Slayton
• Beauty from Barrenness by Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton
• Finding the Blessings in my Mother's Alzheimer's Disease by Kerry Luksic
• She Did Her Best by Treva Brown
• When I Feel Forsaken by Catherine Lawton
• Finishing Well by Ellen Cardwell

"Related by Chance, Family by Choice," by Deb DeArmond
"Related by Chance, Family by Choice," by Deb DeArmond Kregel Publications—2013

"Related by Chance, Family by Choice," by Deb DeArmond

The caricatures are everywhere, the jokes are inexhaustible, and the stereotypes fill the screens. From Marie Barone (Everyone Loves Raymond) to Viola Fields (Monster-in-Law) to Internet sites and social media pages like "ihatemyinlaws.com and" a FaceBook page for "ihatemymotherinlaw" there is no shortage of examples of the caustic relationships that can develop between the two women in a man’s life.
Deb DeArmond and her three daughters-in-law have conducted their own exhaustive research into the status of the women-in-law relationship. Their research, which incorporated online surveys, interviews, and discussions, included asking about the faith factor in the relationships they studied. Of the respondents, nearly 90 percent claimed they were Christians, and 79 percent said their faith was foundational and guided their actions and decisions. As discouraging as it may be, the numbers of those they surveyed who reported that their women-in-law relationships were “bad” were nearly identical to those in a survey conducted by a popular secular website that recorded no statistics on faith.
Beyond the statistics and their analysis, Deb brings to this book more than thirty years working with adults to improve communications and deal constructively with conflict. Aside from her research and her professional expertise, perhaps the most important asset Deb brings to this work is her own relationship with her three daughters-in-law that is so obviously and unusually positive that she—and they—are often asked to explain the secret of the relationships they share.
This 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. Deb’s one motivating objective is to help women-in-law move from women who are simply related to strong and confident members of a truly spiritual family.

Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-law, by Deanna Brann PhD
Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-law, by Deanna Brann PhD Ambergris Publishing—2013

Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-law, by Deanna Brann PhD

At last, Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law gives us the definitive work on the all too common family dilemma of stressful relationships between mothers-in-law (MILs) and daughters-in law (DILs). Leading in-law relationship authority Dr. Deanna Brann delivers an insightful, stimulating guide for determining the root causes of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law difficulties and more importantly, provides the situation-specific, practical tools to change things for the better.

While dealing with this often difficult or even painful subject, Reluctantly Related is engaging and wonderfully readable with its extensive use of real world conversation examples and lighthearted cartoons. Dr. Brann introduces you to her witty collection of mother-in-law, daughter-in-law and husband/son personality types - from "Off-the Wall Wanda" to "Doubting Donna" to "Struggling Steven" - and goes on to show you how to identify the types in your own family. She then explains in everyday language how combinations of these personality types present relationship challenges, but goes on to give practical, hands-on tools for mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law to improve their relationship.

There has never been such an entertaining yet helpful resource on the specific problems between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Reluctantly Related provides unique, straightforward help to any MIL/DIL challenged family, and should be required reading for newlyweds and their mothers!

 Dealing with Difficult Relatives and In-Laws: How to deal with angry, demanding and manipulative Relatives and In-laws, by Roberta Cava
Dealing with Difficult Relatives and In-Laws: How to deal with angry, demanding and manipulative Relatives and In-laws, by Roberta Cava Cava Consulting—2014

Dealing with Difficult Relatives and In-Laws: How to deal with angry, demanding and manipulative Relatives and In-laws, by Roberta Cava

At one time or another, everyone has had to deal with frustrating relatives and in-laws who are irritating, rude, impatient or aggressive. This book outlines useful techniques that will help anyone “keep their cool” when faced with annoying siblings, relatives, seniors, parents or in-laws.

Dealing with Difficult Relatives and In-Laws is an absolute must if you’ve had to deal with manipulators who expertly push your buttons or if you allow others to make you feel angry, hurt, guilty or frustrated.

Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You, by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier
Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You, by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier William Morrow—1998

Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You, by Susan Forward & Donna Frazier

"If you really loved me. . ."
"After all I've done for you. . ."
"How can you be so selfish. . ."

Do any of the above sound familiar? They're all examples of emotional blackmail, a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them. They know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They are our mothers, our partners, our bosses and coworkers, our friends and our lovers. And no matter how much they care about us, they use this intimate knowledge to give themselves the payoff they want: our compliance.

Susan Forward knows what pushes our hot buttons. Just as John Gray illuminates the communications gap between the sexes in Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and Harriet Lerner describes an intricate dynamic in The Dance of Anger, so Susan Forward presents the anatomy of a relationship damaged by manipulation, and gives readers an arsenal of tools to fight back. In her clear, no-nonsense style, Forward provides powerful, practical strategies for blackmail targets, including checklists, practice scenarios and concrete communications techniques that will strengthen relationships and break the blackmail cycle for good.

Dealing With In-laws In Marriage: Strategies And Tips To Avoid Conflict To improve Your Relationship With In-laws (Marriage Issues) [Kindle Edition] by, Crys Joseph
Dealing With In-laws In Marriage: Strategies And Tips To Avoid Conflict To improve Your Relationship With In-laws (Marriage Issues) [Kindle Edition] by, Crys Joseph Amazon Digital Services, Inc.—2014

Dealing With In-laws In Marriage: Strategies And Tips To Avoid Conflict To improve Your Relationship With In-laws (Marriage Issues) [Kindle Edition] by, Crys Joseph

When you marry a person the family of your spouse becomes your family as well and this is due to the fact of your union. All of you are now each others’ family. Like any other family your family may encounter certain rough roads along the way. It is normal that at times you may have disagreements with the other members of the family since all of you have minds of your own and those minds at times don’t have the same opinions. The more people there are in a family then the more opinions there will be.

At times these disagreements become a breeding ground for resentment and could damage your relationship all together. These disagreements usually happen between in-laws. It could be between the parents of the wife and the husband or the parents of the husband and the wife. At times it could also be between the husband and the siblings of his wife or the wife and the siblings of her husband. Simply stated, it commonly occurs between people who are related by marriage. It is quite challenging to adjust to having new members of the family that you do not quite know that well. You try to be patient and understanding but there are times that patience and understanding seem to have run out.

Here Is A Preview Of What You'll Learn...
1. Cheers to a bigger family
2. Loyalty is the key t harmonious living
3. A sensitive issue with in-laws
4. How to deal with certain personalities
5. Monster-in-law or Mother-in-law
Download your copy today!

What Do You Want from Me?: Learning to Get Along with In-Laws, by Teri Apter
What Do You Want from Me?: Learning to Get Along with In-Laws, by Teri Apter W. W. Norton & Company—2010

What Do You Want from Me?: Learning to Get Along with In-Laws, by Teri Apter

“The cover of What Do You Want from Me? should be stamped read before proceeding down the aisle.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
When we marry, we believe the bond is between only two individuals. Few of us realize the power that in-laws exert over our lives. What Do You Want from Me? takes a fresh look at how the in-laws we acquire when we marry affect our quality of life—our marriage, family, personal comfort, and long-term well-being—for better or worse. Here is an essential book for husbands and wives, parents and children, seeking to strengthen the bonds of family

The Mother-in-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? by Annie Chapman
The Mother-in-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? by Annie Chapman The Mother-in-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? by Annie Chapman

The Mother-in-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? by Annie Chapman

Can two women love the same man and still get along? Absolutely! Annie Chapman believes that a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law can become friends--even close friends. However, this connectedness often takes years to develop. Now that journey can be a joyful one! Offering practical advice and biblical wisdom, this book helps mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law nurture their relationships. Readers will learn how to dance together on topics that include--
• dealing with traditions and activities
• managing differences in handling money
• handling intrusive comments and actions
• accepting and rejecting child-rearing advice
• coping with differences in faith
Through thoughtful ideas, real-life insights, and humor, The Mother-in-Law Dance helps mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law experience a dynamic, loving relationship.

Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage, by Susan Forward
Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage, by Susan Forward Harper—2001

Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage, by Susan Forward

Toxic in-laws are family members who create genuine chaos through various assaults -- aggressive or subtle -- on you and your marriage, and they can be recognized in a wide variety of guises:

•  "The Critics," who seldom miss a chance to tell you what you're doing wrong;
•  "The Controllers," who try to run you and your partner's life;
•  "The Engulfers," who make incessant demands on your time;
•  "The Masters of Chaos," who drain you and your partner with their problems, expecting you to be their rescuers, and

•  "The Rejecters," who wound you deeply by letting you know they don't want you as part of their family.

And the longer that conflicts with these in-laws remain unresolved and not dealt with effectively, the more damaging these conflicts and people will become.

How to recognize and stop these destructive patterns
Now, from bestselling author Susan Forward, comes a remarkable self-help guide that is both practical and powerful. She draws on real-life voices and stories of women and men struggling to free themselves from the frustrating, hurtful, and infuriating relationships with their toxic in-laws. What makes in-law problems uniquely difficult is that they are part of a triangle -- you, your in-laws, and the person you married. One dynamic of these destructive relationships is that you often feel as if you are in the middle of a powerful tug-of-war for your partner's loyalty. And the hurt from your partner's lack of support is often more painful that anything your in-laws do. Forward shows you clearly how your in-laws manipulate your partner. This new clarity will help you feel less bitterness and far more empathy toward him or her so that you can begin the vital process of protecting your marriage.

Strategies that work
First, Forward offers you highly effective communication and behavioral techniques for getting through to partners who won't or can't stand up to their parents. Her unique methods allow you to defuse the anger and feelings of betrayal that flare up when a partner won't defend you. Next, she lays out accessible and practical ways to reclaim your marriage from your in-laws. She shows you what to say, what to do, and what limits to set. If you follow these strategies, you may not turn toxic in-laws into the in-laws of your dreams, but you will find some peace in your relationship with them. Most important, you will reclaim your dignity and self-respect, and reconnect more strongly than ever with the one you love.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last, by John PhD Gottman
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last, by John PhD Gottman Simon & Schuster—1995

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last, by John PhD Gottman

Psychologist John Gottman has spent twenty years studying what makes a marriage last. Now you can use his tested methods to evaluate, strengthen, and maintain your own long-term relationship.

This breakthrough book guides you through a series of self-tests designed to help you determine what kind of marriage you have, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and what specific actions you can take to help your marriage.

You'll also learn that more sex doesn't necessarily improve a marriage, frequent arguing will not lead to divorce, financial problems do not always spell trouble in a relationship, wives who make sour facial expressions when their husbands talk are likely to be separated within four years and there is a reason husbands withdraw from arguments—and there's a way around it.

Dr. Gottman teaches you how to recognize attitudes that doom a marriage—contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling—and provides practical exercises, quizzes, tips, and techniques that will help you understand and make the most of your relationship. You can avoid patterns that lead to divorce, and—Why Marriages Succeed or Fail will show you how.

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