Marriage Advice: 5 Basic Tips for Dealing with In-Laws

March 29, 2017 by

The dreaded in-laws.

There’s a reason there are so many movies and jokes about the tension between a person and their in-laws. It’s often an awkward relationship, because you’re asked to be part of a family… while still remaining an outsider.

Worse, in some situations, it can go beyond awkwardness and actually negatively impact you and your spouse.

To prevent this, you can learn how to effectively deal with your in-laws. This doesn’t mean you need to become best friends with them, but you certainly can work to avoid conflicts.

Whether you visit for a special occasion or see your in-laws regularly, remind yourself of these five rules:

Get Rid of “It’s Me or Them.”

One of the hardest decisions a person can be asked to make is to choose between their family and their spouse – so don’t put your spouse in this position!

Instead, work with your in-laws with the love of your spouse in mind. Your spouse is a necessary part of forming a positive relationship with your in-laws, so make sure your tension toward your in-laws doesn’t spill over into your relationship.

Talk to Your In-Laws Yourself.

We often ask our spouses to deal with our in-laws for us. We tell ourselves that maybe our in-laws will see our point-of-view if it’s coming from their child.

Not so fast. This usually leads to your spouse feeling pressured to choose one side or the other, and it rarely leads to your spouse accurately communicating your issues (as to not disappoint their parents).

Talk to your in-laws yourself. It cuts out the middleman, increases the chance of getting your point across, and shows your in-laws you are serious about working on your relationship.

Set (and Enforce) Boundaries.

This could mean “no politics at the dinner table” or “no candy past 8 p.m. for the kids”. Your in-laws have no authority over how you should parent or live your life and need to respect your decisions.

Communicate boundaries to your in-laws, and follow through with enforcing these boundaries if your in-laws go too far.

Get Rid of Expectations.

You fell in love with your spouse, so you may naturally expect to connect with his or her parents as well.

You may have pictured yourself watching football with your father-in-law, cooking dinner with your mother-in-law, and perfectly fitting in with your partner’s family.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. We build up a perfect picture of our in-laws during the months (or even years) before we meet them, and a lot of tension can come from the fact that they don’t meet your expectations.

Throw these expectations away. In-laws are in-laws – and they’re not going to be perfect.

Remember, No In-Laws Are Perfect…You Might Have to Just Grin and Bear It.

You are certainly not the first person to have disagreements with your in-laws, and you won’t be the last.

Everyone stresses over their in-laws, so try your best to look at uncomfortable situations in a positive, or even humorous, light.

For help working through these issues with your partner contact a Bend relationship coach today.