How Marriage Affects Your Relationship With Your Parents

Reviewed Sep 20, 2015

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that.

When couples marry, they are sometimes surprised by how their new lives transform their relationships with their parents. Other couples, however, feel that their relationships remain relatively unchanged. If you are getting married, consider these factors that affect parent-child relationships.

  • Although the transition can be smooth, marriage shifts the focus of your relationships. You may share thoughts and feelings with your spouse that you previously shared only with a parent, and finding the balance may be tricky. Family relationships that were strong before marriage will likely remain strong. If relationships were already strained, marriage might not improve them and could even increase tension.
  • Parents are people, too, and may have a difficult time balancing their wishes for their children's happiness and independence with their desire to remain part of their children's lives. One woman observed that although she had a good relationship with her mother prior to marriage, after the wedding she realized that her mother was excessively controlling. She commented, "I don't think that she likes my independence." If such a situation arises, it is important to calmly discuss your feelings with your parent without accusing him or her of wrongdoing—understand the sense of loss parents must feel when they are no longer the primary people with whom you share your feelings.
  • After marriage, it may be difficult for parents to accept that their children are now husbands and wives forging their own traditions and customs, managing career, personal life, outside activities and housekeeping without their guidance. Listen to your parents and consider what they have to say. Try to assert your needs—compassionately yet firmly—to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change. If you already got along with them before marriage, the relationship may improve once they know that you will be around for a while. Otherwise, they may feel angry and threatened and you may find yourself in a sticky situation. How you relate to your in-laws may impact your spouse, so be sure to tactfully discuss any concerns you have with your husband or wife.
  • After marriage, it may become more difficult to balance holiday time. Will you spend Thanksgiving with your parents or in-laws? At your house or theirs? Geography is a factor, as well. If you live near both sets of parents, it may be easier to arrange your holiday time. Try to prepare yourself emotionally for spending some holidays with your in-laws rather than your nuclear family. Although there may never be perfect solutions, it is important to work out these issues before they become major roadblocks.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that. One mother commented that she sees her married daughter as "more of an equal now," because her daughter turns to her less frequently for support. As time goes by and you engage in "adult" activities such as jointly managing finances, buying a home or having children, you may find some common ground with parents that helps build a stronger relationship.

If you have difficulty relating to parents once you are married, remember, first of all, that you and your parents are human and you will all make mistakes. If, after objectively thinking about your parents' thoughts, feelings and behavior and you calmly assert your needs, you will be able to maintain a healthy relationship.

By Julie Gold

Summary

  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that.

When couples marry, they are sometimes surprised by how their new lives transform their relationships with their parents. Other couples, however, feel that their relationships remain relatively unchanged. If you are getting married, consider these factors that affect parent-child relationships.

  • Although the transition can be smooth, marriage shifts the focus of your relationships. You may share thoughts and feelings with your spouse that you previously shared only with a parent, and finding the balance may be tricky. Family relationships that were strong before marriage will likely remain strong. If relationships were already strained, marriage might not improve them and could even increase tension.
  • Parents are people, too, and may have a difficult time balancing their wishes for their children's happiness and independence with their desire to remain part of their children's lives. One woman observed that although she had a good relationship with her mother prior to marriage, after the wedding she realized that her mother was excessively controlling. She commented, "I don't think that she likes my independence." If such a situation arises, it is important to calmly discuss your feelings with your parent without accusing him or her of wrongdoing—understand the sense of loss parents must feel when they are no longer the primary people with whom you share your feelings.
  • After marriage, it may be difficult for parents to accept that their children are now husbands and wives forging their own traditions and customs, managing career, personal life, outside activities and housekeeping without their guidance. Listen to your parents and consider what they have to say. Try to assert your needs—compassionately yet firmly—to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change. If you already got along with them before marriage, the relationship may improve once they know that you will be around for a while. Otherwise, they may feel angry and threatened and you may find yourself in a sticky situation. How you relate to your in-laws may impact your spouse, so be sure to tactfully discuss any concerns you have with your husband or wife.
  • After marriage, it may become more difficult to balance holiday time. Will you spend Thanksgiving with your parents or in-laws? At your house or theirs? Geography is a factor, as well. If you live near both sets of parents, it may be easier to arrange your holiday time. Try to prepare yourself emotionally for spending some holidays with your in-laws rather than your nuclear family. Although there may never be perfect solutions, it is important to work out these issues before they become major roadblocks.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that. One mother commented that she sees her married daughter as "more of an equal now," because her daughter turns to her less frequently for support. As time goes by and you engage in "adult" activities such as jointly managing finances, buying a home or having children, you may find some common ground with parents that helps build a stronger relationship.

If you have difficulty relating to parents once you are married, remember, first of all, that you and your parents are human and you will all make mistakes. If, after objectively thinking about your parents' thoughts, feelings and behavior and you calmly assert your needs, you will be able to maintain a healthy relationship.

By Julie Gold

Summary

  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that.

When couples marry, they are sometimes surprised by how their new lives transform their relationships with their parents. Other couples, however, feel that their relationships remain relatively unchanged. If you are getting married, consider these factors that affect parent-child relationships.

  • Although the transition can be smooth, marriage shifts the focus of your relationships. You may share thoughts and feelings with your spouse that you previously shared only with a parent, and finding the balance may be tricky. Family relationships that were strong before marriage will likely remain strong. If relationships were already strained, marriage might not improve them and could even increase tension.
  • Parents are people, too, and may have a difficult time balancing their wishes for their children's happiness and independence with their desire to remain part of their children's lives. One woman observed that although she had a good relationship with her mother prior to marriage, after the wedding she realized that her mother was excessively controlling. She commented, "I don't think that she likes my independence." If such a situation arises, it is important to calmly discuss your feelings with your parent without accusing him or her of wrongdoing—understand the sense of loss parents must feel when they are no longer the primary people with whom you share your feelings.
  • After marriage, it may be difficult for parents to accept that their children are now husbands and wives forging their own traditions and customs, managing career, personal life, outside activities and housekeeping without their guidance. Listen to your parents and consider what they have to say. Try to assert your needs—compassionately yet firmly—to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Your relationship to your new in-laws also may change. If you already got along with them before marriage, the relationship may improve once they know that you will be around for a while. Otherwise, they may feel angry and threatened and you may find yourself in a sticky situation. How you relate to your in-laws may impact your spouse, so be sure to tactfully discuss any concerns you have with your husband or wife.
  • After marriage, it may become more difficult to balance holiday time. Will you spend Thanksgiving with your parents or in-laws? At your house or theirs? Geography is a factor, as well. If you live near both sets of parents, it may be easier to arrange your holiday time. Try to prepare yourself emotionally for spending some holidays with your in-laws rather than your nuclear family. Although there may never be perfect solutions, it is important to work out these issues before they become major roadblocks.
  • If you have depended on your parents for financial and emotional support, marriage may change that. One mother commented that she sees her married daughter as "more of an equal now," because her daughter turns to her less frequently for support. As time goes by and you engage in "adult" activities such as jointly managing finances, buying a home or having children, you may find some common ground with parents that helps build a stronger relationship.

If you have difficulty relating to parents once you are married, remember, first of all, that you and your parents are human and you will all make mistakes. If, after objectively thinking about your parents' thoughts, feelings and behavior and you calmly assert your needs, you will be able to maintain a healthy relationship.

By Julie Gold

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.