One of the most important and potentially tedious relationships you’re likely to have, is with your in-laws. They’re not your parents, but now they’re family and very important to your spouse. Taking the time to get to know them as individuals (not just your in-laws) will help your relationship with them and your relationship with your partner for years to come.
Everyone likes to be appreciated, so take your mother-in-law out to lunch for her birthday. Don’t forget a card and/or flowers on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. While technically your husband should keep up with his family and you should keep up with yours…you may end up responsible for all parents appreciation. Better to be the one sending cards than letting your spouse forget and make both of you look bad! There are a number of creative ways you can show your respect, so take advantage of each one of those.
Think Outside the In-Law Part
Sure, they’re your partner’s parents, but you should think of them as your friends and/or mentors. Try to get involved with something they enjoy (like gardening or golf). Having a common interest will give you things to talk about during family dinners and holidays. The relationship you have will be an important part of your marriage, and a cue for how your spouse should treat your parents…so keep that in mind the next time you visit your in-laws.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
There are bound to be differences between you and your in-laws, but if you don’t keep an open mind, you may not really see them for who they are. So maybe your mother in law has a few decorating opinions that aren’t in step with yours, just smile and try to understand her viewpoint. You aren’t obligated to make any of the changes she suggests. Listening will win you more points than arguing. Keep in mind that it takes some time to develop a relationship and understand each others boundaries. Proper communication will help you build a lasting relationship.
Time Will Tell
Rome and relationships weren’t built in a day. Try to give things a bit of extra time to gel, particularly if your new spouse was very close to his family. The closer they are, the more threatened they may feel by your presence, so be sure to be respectful and friendly, but try to give your in-laws a bit of extra space too. The relationship you build is essential to a happy marriage, so even if you don’t start off on the right foot, keep at it.
What tips do you think are the most important when adjusting to your new in-laws? We’d love for you to share in a comment.