Becoming one in marriage is no easy feat. You both have different wants, needs, and perspectives. Then even if you get a handle on those things and are finding ways to make it work, that is only the beginning. When you get married, it is not only about the coming together of two people. It is also about the coming together of two families. As much as we wish our families did not factor into our marriages, they do. Having healthy relationships with not only your family, but your husband’s family is so important to your marriage. With a little effort and these four tips, you can make sure your in-laws don’t become outlaws.
Tip #1: Treat Your In-Laws Like You Treat Your Parents
We are supposed to honor and respect our own parents, and the same should go for our husbands’ parents. I understand that not everyone has the best relationship with their own parents. Having healthy adult relationships with our own parents is not always easy but we have to put in the effort to do our part. If we always come from a place of honor and respect when dealing with our in-laws it helps to maintain a good and healthy relationship.
I happen to call my husband’s parents mom and dad. I have since Eric and I were dating. For me, this started for two reasons. First, because Mr. or Mrs. was just too formal for me. And second, because it reminded me to treat them as I would my own parents.
Tip #2: Establish Boundaries Early
This is a big one for all relationships. This is especially true with your in-laws. No one wants to feel like someone other than their spouse is always in the middle of their marriage or always causing conflict. The two most important things about the boundaries you set are that you and your husband both agree on them and stick to them. The boundaries you set are completely up to you. For example, if you happen to live close to your in-laws you may want them to always call and make sure it is okay before they come over. One of the boundaries we have is if my in-laws want to buy a big-ticket item for our girls, they always check with us first. Boundaries are for necessary for the health and protection of not just your relationship with your in-laws, but also your marriage.
Tip #3: Do Not Over Share
Sharing may mean caring in a lot of instances, but when it comes to talking about things that go on in your marriage this is not the case. You want to be both open and honest with your parents and your in-laws, but some things should be kept just between you and your husband. This is really important because although we may forgive and forget easily, that may not be the case for your in-laws or your parents.
Tip #4: Let Your Husband Deal With Any Conflict You Have With Your In-Laws & Vice Versa
Despite how much you honor and respect your in-laws and work on ways to foster healthy relationships with them, conflicts will arise. We are all human. We may unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings or get our feelings hurt. This happens in our marriages and will happen with our in-laws. One thing that I have found that has made dealing with conflict a lot easier and has made sure my in-laws don’t become outlaws is to have the child of the parent address any issues or conflicts with them. So for example, if I am having a conflict or issue with my in-laws, Eric talks with them about it not me. This helps to prevent the situation from escalating and sends a semi-neutral party to resolve it.
Marriage can be hard enough without adding our in-laws into the mix. Yet, with these four tips, we can all make sure not only to we have good and healthy relationships with our in-laws, we can make sure our in-laws don’t become outlaws.
I’d love to hear any tips you have about having healthy relationships and
dealing with your in-laws in the comments!