In-Law Relationships: Tips for Success
People often say when you get married, you’re marrying the whole family. Hopefully you’ve had enough experiences pre-wedding to know what to expect and how to best handle your relationships moving forward. Here are some tips to manage in-law relationships like a pro.
Make the effort to get to know your in-laws on a 1:1 level. Pick an activity that honors their interests but also introduces them to yours. Take your mother-in-law for lunch, take your sister in-law for a manicure…shoot a round-of golf with your father in-law. Make the effort upfront, for no reason. It shows you are interested in being a part of the family and will give you a good foundation to build on.
Take an interest in your in-laws traditions. Which ones have lasted generations? Which one is your partner’s favorite? How can you become a part of it – hosting a meal or learning a recipe, etc. Note – be careful to be respectful of your in-laws feelings i.e. if your mother-in-law always hosted a holiday dinner and now you’d like to do that, be respectful and find a way to ease in to that transition without hurting feelings.
Find a Special Role
Whether it’s wedding planning or preparing for kids, finding a special role for in-laws is a great way to make them feel included and help strengthen your relationship long term. Maybe ask for help with a new home project or teaching a skill you’d like to learn – sewing, home repairs, cooking, etc. With kids finding time for your in-laws to do something special 1:1 is a great way for your kids to make memories (and you to get a little free time!)
Take a Break
One of the tough things for in-laws is that they no longer have much time with their kids without their partners around. Take a break and go have some friend time while your partner does something fun with Mom & Dad. They will appreciate you honoring their relationship and your bond will be stronger because of it.
Find times in your life where it makes sense to include your in-laws. Maybe it’s sport related or maybe it’s just for a Sunday dinner. Include them in your life. Let them see how great your work together as a couple. Let them be a part of the new life you are creating together. Make new traditions – it’s worth the effort for the good memories that will be made.
Don’t Put Your Partner in the Middle
Some of you are no doubt reading this thinking ‘I wish I could do any of these things but my in-laws are difficult’. If that is the case, be sure not to put your partner in the middle of sorting it out. It can be a hard situation but try to deal with it yourself. Go to them, express your concerns, listen to their words, be sensitive to their situation. And then explain yours and try to find a solution. They have been your partner’s number one forever and now you’ve taken that place. It can be a really hard transition. But your respect and understanding will go a long way. Not to mention….when you eventually get to be in that position, don’t you hope your new in-law will treat you the same way?
Hope these tips help get your in-law relationship off without a hitch!
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