Even before you and your spouse have left the honeymoon stage, you may discover that the wonderful people who so willingly welcomed you upon first meeting may not be who they claimed to be. You may even be thinking that you’re witnessing something from The Outer Limits or that body snatchers have taken over the woman and man who so openly encouraged you to call them “Mum” and “Dad” upon hearing the news you would be joining their family as their son’s new wife. Before you discover that you’ve married into the Addams Family or worse, here are some handy tips to help you gain and keep control of your marriage and keep the peace with the in-laws.
Remembering Who You Love
First and foremost, remember that you fell in love with your guy; that doesn’t mean that you have to fall in love with his family, too. There are bound to be things you will have a difference of opinion about. Whatever the reasons, don’t feel bad for not falling in love with, and adoring, his parents. It’s possible that you will grow to love them and it’s also possible that you’ll never fully adore them. Regardless, you do need to always have some respect for them. After all, it’s because of them that your wonderful beau is here today; if nothing else love them for that fact alone.
Who Did You Exchange Vows With?
When you were saying your vows and promising your undying love and devotion, who was standing across from you, the man of your dream or your parents? When you marry someone, it’s easy to let your parents or even his run the relationship (it can get doubly complicated when both sets of parents are knee deep in your private business). It’s natural for your parents to want to intervene and provide assistance, however misguided it may be. It’s also completely normal to want their guidance and help but often times, it’s possible to take their advice and assistance too far and allow them to start running the relationship as
well as taking charge when it’s not necessary.
Keep in mind that when the two of you got married, you married each other, and not one another’s parents. The two of you are shaping a future together, which means you put each other first. It can be difficult at first to remember that ‘you and he’ does not mean ‘you, he, and Mum and Dad’. Once you exchange vows and begin your new life with your partner, he should come first in your life. Keeping this in mind will help you when the parents can try to influence your choices and the decisions that the two of you make.
Create a United Front
Thinking along the lines that your spouse should be first in your life, is the need to create a united front when parents begin to intervene. Mum and Dad have always had a very powerful voice in your life but when it comes down to your marriage, it helps to know that the most powerful voices are those of your husband’s as well as your own. Even if parents aren’t out to sabotage your marriage, setting some boundaries as well as letting them know that the two of you work through things and make decisions together will go a long way towards showing your love for one another and that you have each other’s back.
Choosing the Battles
You have much to learn from your in-laws but as marriages and relationship dynamics have changed over the years, they also have much to learn from the two of you. Not every disagreement with your in-laws is going to be won nor should it be. There are times when it’s best to let the disagreement go and move on.
You and your spouse must create a set of deal breakers; points of argument that when crossed, one of you steps in to deal with the parents accordingly. Each of you may have different wishes. For you it may be that he needs to have a heart to heart with his mother about whose job it is to take care of ‘her little boy’ now. For him it may be that you need to talk to Daddy and let him know that your new husband is fully capable of making the repairs the house needs. The object is not to make every disagreement between the two of you and the parents an all out war. Some things are worth fighting for and some things simply are not.
Many people don’t believe that their in-laws are capable of ruining their marriage but even the most well meaning in-laws can often come between a wife and her husband, whether they mean to or not. It’s up to you to make sure that your relationship with your husband remains strong.