Relationship Talk: Avoiding Conflict with Your In-laws
The mean, disapproving in-law is a sad, tired trope at this point. Countless movie plots have revolved around the cold, hard mother-in-law or trying to get the approval of the love of your life’s father who won’t budge. These movies usually involve our courageous hero or heroine regularly deciding that their in-law’s approval or lack thereof can’t stop love and whether they eventually create a bond with their in-law or not. Love conquers all and the two love birds usually ride off into the sunset. What the movie might not show you is just how much strain a bad relationship with your in-laws can cause in a marriage. A good relationship with one’s in-laws can be blissful; you gain a friend who’s known your spouse since before they could walk and so can act as a mediator of sorts or simply someone to run to for advice.
The steps below help to avoid constant conflict with your in-laws:
1. Engage with them: While a mutual relationship with your spouse is a good foundation for a relationship, it can’t be the whole house. Find a hobby that you and your in-law share, and enjoy it together. Have real conversations outside your spouse, as though you were having a conversation with your own parent. A genuine, unique bond with an in-law is a beautiful thing that can last a lifetime.
2. Give space: Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you’re competing with them for the attention of your spouse. Instead, allow your in-law to have their own time and relationship with your spouse. However, don’t neglect your own relationship, and if there appears to be any neglect of your own relationship in favor of the one with their parent, this should be brought to your spouse’s attention.
3. Keeping to yourself: While it’s great to have a friend in your in-law, it doesn’t make them your marriage counselor and going to them about every minor problem with your spouse is not healthy in the least. In a few cases, they can provide moral support and advice. However, every little misunderstanding doesn’t have to be ‘reported’ to their parent.
The in-law relationship is very tricky and often difficult, but with a few easy steps and a lot of love, a genuine, loving relationship is far from impossible.