Q: My mother and I have never gotten along very well. She’s always trying to run my life, and now that I’m planning to get married it’s only getting worse. I admit I’m partly to blame, but is there anything I can do to make our relationship more peaceful? — V.J.
A: Sunday is Mother’s Day in the United States, a special day set aside to honor our mothers and express our gratitude to them for all they’ve done for us. Many other countries have similar observances.
Can you think of a better day to reach out to your mother and begin healing the division between you? I can’t. Let her know that you love her and are grateful for her — openly and clearly. After all, where would you be without her? Yes, it’s easy to focus on her faults, but take time instead to focus on the sacrifices she made as your mother, and all that you owe her.
If possible, do something special or unexpected for her also: flowers, dinner together, etc. In addition, ask God to help you avoid arguing or disagreeing; discover instead the art of changing the subject. Ask God to help you follow the Bible’s admonition: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
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Not every problem will be solved in one day, of course. But it can be a beginning, if you let it. In other words, see it as a first step, not the whole journey. And even if you do say something that upsets her, apologize immediately. Most of all, pray for your mother and your relationship with her. The Bible says, “Be devoted to one another in love. … If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:10, 18).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.