Hi Dr. Laura,
I spent years disliking my husband's grandmother. She was more of a mother to him than his own, so she was the woman I shared him with the most. I loved her because he did, or at least I was supposed to because he did, but I certainly didn't like her. I found her meddlesome, hateful and hard headed. I bucked her at every turn. Even though my husband always "took my side" when I was annoyed, it was never enough for me. It got to a point where even the way she chewed would tick me off.
She got offended when I wouldn't take home the leftover french fries she offered or when I would turn to my parents for help over her. She would offer advice I found so ludicrous that I would purposely do the opposite. One day, for the sake of my husband, I decided I was going to fake it. I would pretend to like her. I would smile, laugh, be agreeable and be the most pleasant "ME" I could be. When she offered leftovers, I took them. I typically threw them away on the way home, but it made her feel great. I started asking her for help. Maybe it was to babysit for an hour, maybe it was to ask for a recipe I didn't even really need.... Guess what? We became friends and I fell in love with her. For YEARS I could barely tolerate her and in a few short months, I went from disdain to calling her my grandmother. I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to be around her. I loved her!
We lost her just over a year ago. I still mourn her. I regret not "faking it" sooner, but I am SO glad I didn't wait any longer than I did. Thank you for telling us to smile. Thank you for telling us to do what we would want our in-laws to do to us. Without that advice, I may have never gotten to know one of my very best friends.