Perhaps you have the greatest in-laws anyone could imagine. Maybe you look forward to seeing them because they’re so easy to love, genuinely kind, and fun to be around. If this is you, you’re more blessed than you know. But if you’re like most of us, you know how hard it can be to deal with your in-laws. As justifiable as the reasons are for not getting along with your in-laws, it is so important. Here we have gathered four simple reminders that will help you in your relationship with your in-laws.
Love is the fuel to your relationship. It should drive all you do. Remember, these are some of the most important people in the world to your favorite person in the world (your spouse). Love means choosing to be kind, even when you don’t feel like it. It means having patience with their craziness and having a good attitude. Love your spouse by loving his family.
Are you dealing with in-laws who do not like you? Sit down with your husband to reflect on past behavior. Reflecting with help, you can start to understand your part in the relationship and how your behavior may have been misread. However, if you feel as though you did not do anything wrong and that you are just dealing with difficult in-laws, then you need to resolve this issue.
Ask your in-laws if you can sit down to discuss your relationship. Ignoring the issue will not make it disappear, and in fact, it will continue to grow as children come into the picture. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for and will catch on if there is tension. Spend time with your in-laws, even if it’s hard. The less time you spend together, the more awkward and distanced you will feel. Find activities to do together to build good memories.
This is the foundation of your relationship. If you do not respect your in-laws, it is going to show, whether you want it to or not. It could leak out through eye rolling, glances to your husband, facial expressions, negative demeanor, etc. Respect who they are as people and the decisions they make. Show respect even when they offer an idea that you don’t agree with. Understand that they do things differently than you do and respect their differences.
Respect them by the way you talk about them when they aren’t around. If there is a conflict, resolve it quickly without getting others involved. There should be mutual respect. You cannot expect your in-laws to respect you if you are not respecting them. And since we can’t control other people, let’s work on what you can control-yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
You are allowed to have your own ideas, traditions, and opinions. It is perfectly okay not to do everything they do. You are still your own person that has had your own experiences. You don’t have to participate in everything or agree to raise your children how they did, for example. You are allowed to say no to events, to helping out, and when ideas are offered to you. You and your spouse need to make decisions that are best for your family.
However, remember to do so with respect towards your in-laws. Rudeness will only add fuel to the fire and will not help you accomplish your goals. It is okay to say no, but do so with gentleness and respect.
If you have toxic in-laws, you need to set boundaries to protect your marriage and children. Toxicity can show up in different ways, but some of the signs are if you feel the need to constantly impress them, if you are affected by their drama, and if you are frequently trying to fix their problems. It can also be a toxic relationship if they ignore your needs and do not respect you. You may have toxic in-laws if you feel angry/sad/depressed around them, they cause you to act mean or gossip, and you feel so drained after being with them.
Setting physical boundaries would be helpful if this is the case, such as limiting how often you visit or call each other. Emotional boundaries may also need to be created, such as not allowing negative criticism to be spoken or choosing to not be around the family if drama arises. Both you and your husband need to agree on the boundaries and sit down together with your in-laws, but only if it seems necessary.
Let Go Of Expectations
It will be so freeing to you if you recognize that your relationships may not look the way you want them to. Maybe you’re not as close to your sister-in-law or mother-in-law as you thought you would be. Try not to take offense at things they say or do. Understand that you cannot change circumstances or people. Just let it go.
Marrying into a family can have a lot of benefits and make room for new opportunities. Families can be so supportive and loving, especially during difficult times. But if you are noticing that the difficult times are actually with your in-laws, then it may be time to apply some of these principles. Relationships can be messy, but many can be restored. I pray these tips are not only helpful, but healing to your families.