Once we're married (or even before that) we inherit our spouses family. Hiccups with our in-laws are not out of the ordinary.
I'm not going to insert some cliche claim that all in-law relationships are like nightmares, because that isn't true. Hiccups are in line with all our relationships - rocky at it's worst and smoothing sailing at it's best. Some in-laws may be overbearing and some may be incredibly understanding. Maybe your in-laws do not agree with your personal choices or maybe it's you that don't agree with theirs.
You'll hear and/or experience the gamut of in-law relationships. But one thing is for sure, maintaing that family peace will be worth the energy.
Wherever you are it with this, our blog post will explore various ways one can approach building a relationship with our in-laws.
~ You, as a married couple (with or without kids), are first and foremost
The bond you've built with your spouse is the core of your relationship. Take care of each other and know you are to work together when dealing with any issue. What works for both of you needs to be discovered and that will take a layer off the problem.
~ Manage your expectations and communicate them directly and thoughtfully
Whether we realize it or not, at some point we develop certain expectations regarding others. You may expect that your mother-in-law does not show up unexpectedly to your house, but she may beg to differ. It may be okay a few times, but at one point you may find yourself frustrated and upset.
Speaking out emotionally or being angrily tight lipped won't produce the results we are looking for. Strive to be clear and thoughtful with your approach. Pending on the situation, your spouse can deliver the message to his/her parents on your behalf.
~ Set boundaries
Unfortunately (or fortunately?!) there are limits in our emotional, physical and mental energy. If you feel that nagging tinge of drain, set some boundaries. This can be done by encouraging your in-laws that a healthy space needs to be in tact, so you can focus on caring for yourself and your family.
~ Aim to support and respect the relationship your spouse has with his/her parents
Try not to encourage a divide between your spouse and his/her parents. Do not attempt to part the Red Sea. Strive towards healthy relationships.
I know that isn't always easy. For example, your spouses dad may have a drug issue and there might be a desire to slice that communication off. Granted that space may be needed, it is also equally important, to support a healthy perspective on the circumstances. Be wary of making overly critical remarks about your in-laws to your spouse. Watch what you advocate.
~ Realize the tides
All relationships are dynamic. You may be riding a hide tide with your in-laws and that's great. If you are on the opposite end, know that it won't last forever.
I feel fortunate that my mother-in-law and I can speak to each other openly and frankly. Admittedly, there are times when that isn't always the case. When one us sees the communication has dropped off, we eventually work our way back up. Each situation doesn't have to be the permanent forecast of how things will go. Lighten the load, by lightening up your view.
~ Get to know each other
Those one and one moments can create meaningful bonds. Find a common interest or offer to go out for coffee. Even in small doses, planting those seeds of effort, will help move any relationship in a positive direction.
~ Try not to take it too seriously
Critiques, disagreements, misunderstandings and opinions just find their way into our lives. You'll know when "business means business" so handle that. Other times, find some humor in how emotionally riled up we get over small things. However, if the situation means that much to you, trust that you will work it out and don't lose your sanity over it.
This post was done in collaboration with Rosey Gonzales