How many movies and TV shows have we seen joking about the relationships between in-laws? One movie comes to mind: Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. These two comedies center around the life of a couple, Greg and Pam, and the meeting of their parents. The movies explore the complicated relationship among in-laws, especially if they have different lifestyles and values. Is it so far-fetched to think that our relationship with our in-laws is as complex as the things we see in movies?
Know Your Boundaries
If you attend a session of family counseling in Sandy, Utah, the counselor will tell you that meddling into personal affairs is always the number one reason in-law relationships fail. You have to know where you stand and when your opinions are needed. For example, your husband argued with his mother. Should you meddle into it? Even if the fight involves your husband, you need to choose your battles well. Remember that as mother and son, your in-laws would forgive their son. What about you? After meddling into their affairs, would they forgive you?
Staying on your lane will keep you away from getting into heated arguments with your in-laws. Never escalate an argument because of your opinions. Let them sort things out. Trust your partner to do the right thing and stand by him. Never, however, in any circumstances should you meddle into their argument.
Lower Your Expectations
Your in-laws are not your parents. They may love and adore you, but they won’t be as tolerant and forgiving as your parents. Don’t expect them to act the same way your parents act toward you. It will always be different, and you have to accept that. High expectations often lead to disappointments. And disappointments often lead to arguments and misunderstandings.
If your in-laws do something nice for you or your children, make sure to thank them. Show them your appreciation and gratitude. Leave them a note or call them. All in-laws want is to feel appreciated and valued.
Spend Time Together
Get together for dinner once in a while. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but you have to spend time together. That’s the only way you will see the positive in your relationship with your in-laws. You will begin to appreciate them when you see how much they care for your family. At the same time, try not to spend so much time because as they say, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Spending too much time together might blur the lines and create misunderstandings.
If there are things that irritate you, don’t give in to it. Be patient and let small things go. There is no reason for you to create issues out of these small things. You can give way and not make these things an issue.
As always, relationships need to be nurtured. They need love, respect, and loyalty. If you are loyal to making your relationship with your in-laws work, you will have a lifetime full of love and peace. Why argue with them when they are going to be a part of your and your children’s lives anyway?