Asian mother and daughter with their arms around each other laugh while walking.

Mother-in-law horror stories abound on mainstream and social media. You'll often read about women who are struggling to deal with their MILs, so it's touching to meet daughters-in-law who actually adore their husbands' mothers.

Kaye Evaristo-Arzadon, Kitty Elicay-Carpena, and Cheen Rivera-Ramirez feel fortunate to have MILswho understand personal space and . How did these women get to this enviable position? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that they all met their respective mother-in-law when marriage was not even on anyone's mind.

I Met Mother-in-Law at My High School Graduation

Kaye, whose husband, Andrew, is her high school sweetheart, met her now-MIL, Rosemarie Arzadon, during high school graduation. "I've heard stories about how strict my MIL was with my husband and his siblings growing up. I was so nervous about meeting her. Take note, we weren't even thinking of getting married then!"

However, Rosemarie ended up surprising Kaye. "She's a woman of few words, but her actions definitely made me feel welcomed and loved."

Kaye recalls how her mother-in-law would check up on her when she and Andrew had to live apart for a year when Andrew worked in Japan. "She would send me sweet messages randomly. I was surprised because she isn't the type to do that. But I knew that was her way of reaching out and reminding me I wasn't alone and that I'd always have them."

I Met My Mother-In-Law at a Block Party

Cheen first met her MIL, Beck Eclipse, in college. "My husband, Peter Ramirez, and I were friends, and we would have block parties at their house. [His mom] was warm and funny right off the bat."

Beck also remembers Cheen as a funny girl whose company the whole family enjoyed. She believes Cheen's friendship with her son made becoming a mother-in-law easier.

"Being a MIL was never a role I thought about or considered seriously until I became one. It helped that my son and his wife invited me to their nights out once in a while, even if I ended up footing the bill, but happily! It is always fun to be with them."

During their five years living at Beck's house, Cheen and Peter continued to host their barkada get-togethers. On the couple's third wedding anniversary, Beck decided it was her turn to host.

"Our friends and my in-laws celebrated over samgyup and got drunk playing games over bottles of soju like a barkada. To this day, we would still bring up stories about that memorable night. Our friends think she's one of the coolest MILs."

I Met My Mother-in-Law in College

Kitty always imagined a mother-in-law would never get along with the woman her son married, but her MIL, Rikki Carpena, proved her wrong. They met when Kitty was in college and in a relationship with Rikki’s son, Albert. Even then, Kitty recalled, Rikki treated her with genuine warmth and kindness.

Based on their talks, Kitty felt Rikki may have felt a little pressure about becoming a mother-in-law. Rikki's generation had different expectations about the role, and Kitty could feel Rikki's efforts to establish a different and better relationship with her.

Rikki's in how she raised her children strengthened their bond further, Kitty shares. "She trusted them to make the right decisions, including choosing their partner. She's not the type to meddle but is very observant and will speak her mind. She leaves the decision-making to us as much as possible because she respects that we are also building our own family."

Kitty saw how much Rikki loved them when she, Albert, and two other relatives caught COVID-19 while staying at Rikki's house in Laguna."My MIL would knock on our doors and deliver our meals three times a day, even if she found navigating the stairs at home difficult. I was worried that we would pass the virus onto her, but as she says, mothers are built differently. They're the ones who remain strong so they can continue taking care of the household!"

Be Your Authentic Self

When asked if they had any advice for women about meeting their mother-in-law, Kaye, Kitty, and Cheen all replied it was important to . "Take the time to get to know [your future MIL], and allow yourself to be known,"Cheen suggests. 

Kaye, who felt she had to behave "prim and proper" before her MIL, shares, "I eventually got comfortable with just being who I am (not that I wasn't proper). I realized I didn't have to put up a face for [my MIL] to like me—she already did!"

Kitty believes moms can sense if you're being honest, so it's crucial to show your true personality from the start. She adds, "Whatever relationship you end up having, I think it's important to recognize her role in your husband's life. Always show her respect and graciousness."

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Your MIL Relationship Doesn't Have to Be Competitive

Beck appreciated Cheen's authenticity – "no ego, no pretenses." This allowed Beck to be herself without pressure to conform to the typical mother-in-law stereotype.

"Filipino movies and telenovelas tend to typecast MILs as controlling, competing for the love of the son. While I can understand the sentiment, it doesn't have to be that way unless the daughter-in-law turns out to be competitive."

Lastly, remember that your future spouse can help you connect with your mother-in-law. Cheen says, "Have an open communication with your partner about any questions or worries you may have. They may help you boost your confidence or ease your probably unfounded fears."