You can't choose your in-laws but you can choose in-law birthday wishes, so pick the best birthday messages for your in-laws and make sure that you never get "outlawed" by them.
In other words, selecting the best birthday greetings for your mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law or daughter-in-law is the best way to stay out of trouble. Just kidding. Or am I?
Message Guy Tip #79: How to choose in-law birthday wishes...
In-laws, by definition, are related to you by law...not by choice. This immediately puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to choosing in-law birthday wishes for them. Why a disadvantage? Because you don't know them very well — and you may not even like them very much either.
So how do you select the right birthday greetings for in-laws? Very carefully. First... Read more ►
Full disclosure: I have a great relationship with my in-laws, so what I've written below is based on the bad experiences of others and some information I scraped together from an excellent article on in-laws.
With in-laws, you need to acknowledge a certain fact, no matter how generous you are with your judgement of people: You don’t pick your in-laws — circumstance does. This fact has ramifications, namely that your in-laws can be as sweet as honey or as sour as lemons (I politely refer to the "lemon" variety as “outlaws”). Chances are you have a mix of sweet and sour in-laws.
So when it comes to birthday wishes, it's very tempting to tell you to tread softly and take the safe route, sticking to the typical “happy birthday” message. Why? You often can’t go wrong with it (“often” because, sometimes, you just can’t please your in-laws). Of course, I said I was "tempted" to suggest this path. I never suggested that you should actually take this route. In fact, I'm more tempted to recommend another direction altogether.
How so? Below, take a look at some of the recommendations that come from the article (not all 25, mind you) and my tips for choosing the best in-law birthday wishes based on these suggestions:
Common courtesy still applies: If you absolutely detest your in-law, you should still choose a nice (yet generic) "happy" birthday wish as a courtesy.
Extend grace to your in-laws: Be graceful with your birthday greetings, even if you harbor ill feelings. Once again, choose a "happy" message.
Treat your in-laws like family: With your own mother, you would probably choose a birthday message that reflects her personality. Don't do anything differently with your in-laws. If your son-in-law, for example, is the sentimental type, pick a son-in-law birthday wish that's sentimental. If he's an inspirational kind of guy, take the "inspirational" path with his birthday greetings.
Be true to yourself: Choose a birthday verse that expresses your thoughts about your in-law (keeping in mind the three suggestions above, so no bad thoughts).
Focus on the positive: If your mother-in-law, for instance, is a generous person (but is nasty in every other way), highlight this positive strength in her birthday wish.
Don't pigeonhole your in-laws: Get over your first impressions of your in-laws and try to get to know them better, so you can pick birthday wishes that focus on aspects of their personality you respect or even like. (which makes following the advice right above so much easier).
Swallow your pride and let go of your grudges: If you can follow this lovely piece of advice, you will be able to act upon Recommendation #4.
Become their friend: Being friends with your in-laws will allow you to pick friend-type birthday messages, always a nice way to go.
Find a respectful way to express yourself: Basically, showing some respect to your in-laws will enable you to benefit from Recommendation #1 or #2.
One more thing: don't worry about choosing the right message. Because every type of in-law birthday wish I mentioned above can be found in this section, you'll find the one that suits you and your in-law in no time.
A little confused by all this advice? Don't be. Ultimately, you just need to pick in-law birthday wishes that make the birthday boy or girl feel special and make you feel good expressing them.
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Make your mother-in-law feel special Mother-in-law birthday wishes...
I am so blessed to have you as my mother-in-law. You're so good to me. Happy birthday! Have a wonderful day!
Today, I want to thank you for all the special things you do, your loving and caring ways, and your patience and kindness. Thanks for being a wonderful mother-in-law. May you have many more birthdays to come.
You are the matriarch of our family. You take care of us in so many ways. I'm so fortunate that I have a mother-in-law like you. Hoping your birthday is as amazing as I think you are!
When I hear your voice, it's music to my ears. I could listen to you all day. No kidding, you're such a delight. I'm the luckiest person in the world...because I have you as my mother-in-law.
Happy birthday to a saint of a mother-in-law. You bless us with your gentle, thoughtful and generous spirit every day. May you always be blessed with the best life has to offer.
For most people, it's so easy to make mother-in-law jokes. For me, it's virtually impossible to do — you're just too wonderful as a mother-in-law. Happy birthday to one of my favorite people (really).
Happy birthday, bro-in-law! I don't need a Facebook reminder to remember it's your birthday. You're way too special for that (your sister just called to remind me).
Very few people in my life are birthday message-worthy. A brother-in-law like you, though, is worthy of the finest birthday wishes. May you be blessed with only the finest of everything on your special day.
Wishing a gigantic HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite (and only) bro-in-law and truly one of my best pals. You give all in-laws a good name.
You mean too much to me to call you my brother-in-law. I consider you my brother, my friend and my guardian angel. Today, I wish you only the best, because that's exactly what you deserve.
From Day 1, you've been like a brother to me, not a brother-in-law. And like family, we've had our ups and downs — mostly ups, though. So, it's with lots of love that I wish you "Happy Birthday."
You've always been a great brother to your sister. Now you're a great brother-in-law to me. In other words, you're a great guy — and great guys deserve the greatest of birthdays. So let's make this one great!
Show your father-in-law that you care Father-in-law birthday wishes...
Today, your birthday wish is everybody's command, so wish for the best. Considering that you're the greatest father-in-law in the world, your birthday wishes may just come true. I hope they do!
I will have a great life blessed with joy, hope and peace...simply because I have a saint for a father-in-law. May your birthday be likewise blessed.
There's an incredibly special individual in my life — you, my dear father-in-law. You've been my mentor, my hero and my second Dad since I came into the family. Thank you and happy, happy, happy birthday!
Dear father-in-law, you have given me two of the greatest gifts ever, two men to love for a lifetime — you yourself and my darling husband. I can't thank you enough but I can start by wishing you a very, very special birthday.
Happy birthday to a wonderful father-in-law. Today, you should take a moment to think about your lifetime of accomplishments and give yourself the accolades you deserve. If you don't, I certainly will.
Thank you for going beyond the call of father-in-law duty and becoming like a second father to me. And like any father, you knew that was exactly what I needed. Happy birthday, Dad 2.0!