So you’ve meet someone; your head over heals in love. Now comes the second part you meet their family. Maybe they’re an only child or like my husband is one of seven. I bet you like your special someone’s family. Now flash forward and you are married your spouses family is now your family. Maybe you only see your in laws a couple times a year, or maybe it’s once week. The question is how do you get along with them?
In my family I have many in laws, of all different personalities. I can honestly say in my fifteen years with my husband that I have a great relationship with all of them. My husband’s sisters and sister in laws are my best friends. I love spending time with my husband’s family.
Today I am going to give you my 10 tips to develop an amazing relationship with your in laws. Most of these are simple things you perhaps already know. However I sometimes need to go back to basics, especially when it comes to the complicated subject of relationships. Although today I am mainly talking about the parents of your spouse however, this can apply to any relationship.
When you get married you are creating your own family. Yet at the same time you are adding a new dynamic, your in laws. So you need to develop a relationship that is separate from your family unit. Once you can separate it from your spouses and that relationship, you can really stop and think what you want from this friendship. Do you want to be close to your in laws? Do you just want to get along? Sit down and really think what it is you want in a relationship with your in laws.
Now that you know what you want from your relationship, spend time without your spouse with your in laws. I know this can be a scary thought. However the best way to develop the relationship that you want, is to put individual effort into it. Some ideas is take one or both of them out to dinner, to a movie, really anywhere that you can spend time together. Think about your best relationships, how often do you have quality time with them? Having alone time turns into quality time, which becomes a good foundation for an amazing relationship.
Along with alone time find out what you have in common. You already know you both love your spouse( their child). So now try to find something else. One thing that helped my mother in law and I have a great relationship is old movies. We both love them and even think one the scariest movies we had ever seen is The Bad Seed (a 1956 movie) From there we have been able to find many other passions we share, and often do together! Finding the first thing in common is the hardest, but once you do the door opens snd I bet you find out you have a lot more in common than you think.
I find that a lot of times when our in laws don’t get along with us it is because we close ourselves up and don’t let them get to know us. Let your in laws in on your dreams, your goals, your past. Give them insight on you. When they hurt your feeling, let them know and give them a reason. The more they know about you the more they are going to fall in love with you like their son/daughter did.
Think about when you started a new relationship, were you always eager to do something to make their day? It could be something as small as getting them their favorite treat, or something you know they would enjoy. Maybe you’ve notice that their yard needs weeded or raked. By helping them and doing nice things for them not only will you feel great but they will too. This also builds confidence that their child made the right choice in picking you to spend their life with.
This one is huge, do not complain or put down your spouse to anyone; especially your in laws. No matter what your relationship is with your in laws it will go sour quick if you complain about their child. Listen, we all have faults our parents know it and your spouse’s parents know it, but it is a disservice to not only your relationship with your in laws but also a disservice to you that they will never forget. This also includes complaining about your spouse to your parents. Remember you want your spouse to have a great relationship with your parent too. So when you complain about your marriage or spouse you may get over it, however your parents will only remember the hurt some caused their baby; tarnishing their relationship with your spouse.
So if you have a complaint keep it to yourself, and talk with your spouse about it .This includes Facebook and other social media outlets,your relationship is nobodies business but yours so respect it. Leave it private between you and your spouse. Remember nobody feels comfortable around your dirty laundry.
So I know this is another basic thing. However complimenting your spouse in front of your in laws can have a huge effect. In the end no matter how old your spouse is they will always be the parents child. When you compliment your spouse your showing that you see what they see; an amazing human being. Remember as a parent we just want our kids to be happy. This does not change when they have grown up. By complimenting your spouse it like creating a since of safety that you can be trusted with their child’s heart.
This goes with number 7, and should be a rule in life. Fights are going to happen, it’s ok and is even healthy to disagree and come to a common conclusion. However doing this in front of your spouse’s parents is not ok. Not only does it make everyone uncomfortable but it might force your in laws to feel like they have to take sides and guess who wins. Nobody, nobody wins. When you feel a disagreement coming either excuse yourselves to another room or the car or wait until you get home. The point is do not fight with an audience, allow yourselves a safe environment away from public view.
I don’t know why this doesn’t occur to people but a Thank You goes along way. It could be for something as small as passing the butter, or as big as raising your spouse. Being appreciative of what your in laws have done in the past, present and future will only make your relationship closer. On mothers day send them a card thanking them for raising the person of your dreams. Also when you say thank you, mean it. Nobody likes to feel they are being humored,or saying thank you just to say it. Let you in laws know they are appreciated by the person their child has chosen to spend their life with.
There are going to be some times when your in laws get on your nerves. Remember back to step one, treat this as it’s own relationship. I do not know of a relationship where toes do not sometimes get stepped on. When this happens you have a couple of choices. First ask yourself is “This something that really matters?” if the answer is no, than give yourself a chance to cool down and move on from it. If the answer is yes, cool down then calmly go and talk to the person who hurt your feelings. Remember your in laws can not read your mind. It is unfair to them and to you to assume that they “know what they did” to cause hurt feelings. So go and communicate what is bothering you.
When I have done this in the past 9.5 out of 10 times my in laws had no idea they had hurt my feelings. Since I was calm when I approached them the conversation was able to stay positive without anger. Also if your in laws come to you with hurt feelings, don’t go on the defensive. Listen to what they are saying. Apologize, and learn from it. When we communicate our disagreements it is an opportunity to grow closer to each other in our relationship. When we don’t communicate and we let things fester, that little thing we were mad about starts growing. So please either let it go or talk it out!
Just like every relationship the more work you put into it the better the outcome. Building your relationship takes work, and at times it can be really hard. However the benefits to having a great relationship with your in laws will only make your family stronger and happier. I can’t guarantee that these steps are the answer but they are a good start!
How do you get along with your in laws? What are your tips to a great relationship with them? Let me know in the comments below!