Surviving the In-Laws
By Sarah Ryberg
Posted: Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012
When you get married, youre not only gaining a spouse, youre acquiring a new family as well. Sometimes having in-laws is easy breezy, and youre accepted into the family as if you were always a part of it. Other times, gaining new relatives can be a nightmare.For some reason, maybe your in-laws dont approve of you, which means negative comments when you're together and even attempts to sabotage the relationship. Kayla*, a local Charlottean, says her mother-in-law is always insulting her weight. One day, we were shopping on the top floor of the mall, and because she is afraid of heights, I held her arm and stood between her and the railing to block her view, Kayla explains. When I did this, she turned to me and said, Thank you dear, with someone as big as you I cant see a thing.Sherry*, from England, says her ex-mother in law subtly accused her of cheating. On meeting my second child she went on about his red-gold hair: Where did he get hair that color from? It's not from our side of the family and you've got brown hair, Sherry, she recalls. She might as well have said, You must be dating the milkman, too!Whatever the scenario, tension within the new family is stressful. The first signs of a problem usually appear during the wedding planning process. Every family has its visions of what a wedding should be, so how can you incorporate your in-laws without compromising the vision of you and your fiancé? - Traditions.
Incorporate one tradition that's meaningful to your in-laws. If no traditions can be easily incorporated, you could include old wedding pictures from his side of the family. This allows plenty of opportunities to bond over family histories (and possibly cute baby pictures of the groom?).
- Ask for advice.
If your future mother-in-law is a good baker, ask for her opinion on cakes. If your father-in-law specializes in DIY projects, ask for great places to get supplies for the wedding.
- The dress.
If you want to take a positive relationship a step further, allow your mother-in-law to come bridal dress shopping with you. If youre inviting your own father, you could consider inviting your father-in-law as well.- The big day.
Include your mother-in-law in the pre-wedding celebrations, such as getting ready day-of or a pre-wedding lunch. The groom can do the same with his father-in-law.Another way to inspire that family feeling can be with a meaningful wedding gift, like these:- Have a recipe your mother-in-law shared engraved on a plate. - Take his mom on a special outing, such as a spa day or dinner out.- A family photo session for your fiancé and his parents. After the session, frame a favorite picture and give to your in-laws on the big day.
After the WeddingNo matter how difficult building a relationship with your new family may be, for the sake of your marriage you have to try. Not only is it important to your new spouse, but you cant avoid holidays or special occasions. Once you're married, you can follow some of these suggestions for surviving the post-wedding years:Set guidelines.
You may appreciate the childcare advice, but maybe youre uncomfortable discussing finances. Let your in-laws know which topics youre willing to discuss and which ones you arent.Keep communicating.Its important to talk to your husband about your concerns, because if you dont, the stress youre feeling will only get worse. Plus, your partner may be able to offer some coping suggestions. Just keep in mind that no matter what trouble your in-laws may start, they are still your spouses family, and he or she may not appreciate negative comments. Stay level-headed. Dont participate in the arguments. When trouble starts, and spiteful actions or comments are directed toward you, do your best to let the small things go. Being the bigger person is never the easiest route, but it does provide the least hassle in the end. Better yet, your spouse will love you even more for being the level-headed one. It can be difficult to include relatives when you arent getting along, and sometimes, even guidelines and traditions wont ease all the stress. However, if youve seen the movie Monster-in-Law, youll remember that a lot of in-laws are simply afraid of losing time with their children. When times are tough, just remember how important family is and keep an open line of communication with everyone involved. Remember, someday you might have kids of your own that you will have to share with a daughter- or son-in-law! *Names have been changed due to the personal nature of each story.