Build a Healthy Relationship With Your In-laws

Posted Apr 3, 2018

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Summary

  • Get to know them.
  • Try not to criticize them to your spouse.
  • Adopt holiday traditions that are important to them. 

Marriage is a package deal. You not only get a spouse, but you get that person’s parents, siblings, and other relatives. Ideally, you and your in-laws will hit it off and you’ll have a close and loving relationship. If you don’t get along, that can create tension in your marriage. Whether you adore your in-laws or merely tolerate them, there are steps you can take to create a healthy relationship with your spouse’s family.

Getting along

  • Get to know your in-laws. Spend time with them. Interact on social media or send emails. Ask questions. Try to accept them for who they are.
  • Set boundaries. This is especially important if you have children. If you don’t like drop-in visitors, ask your in-laws to call ahead of time. It’s OK to let grandparents, aunts, and uncles indulge your children a little. But make it clear what you won’t allow. Staying up an hour past bedtime may be fine. Staying up past midnight may not be.
  • Avoid hot topics. You probably know where you and your in-laws disagree. Stay away from those subjects.
  • Respect your spouse’s privacy. She may not want you to reveal everything about your marriage or her personal life to her parents.

Resolving conflict

  • Control your emotions. Try not to lose your temper with your in-laws. Angry words can do lasting damage.
  • Don’t criticize your in-laws to your spouse. Even if he’s angry with them, they’re still his family. It’s likely to upset him to hear you talk unkindly of them.
  • Take your spouse’s side in a conflict with your in-laws. It’s important to present a united front. Your spouse also needs to know that you support her.
  • Speak directly to your in-laws if something is bothering you. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to them for you. That can lead to misunderstandings and more hurt feelings.

Celebrating the holidays

  • Before the holiday season, decide which holidays you’ll spend with which set of in-laws. You might want to switch off each year. If you don’t want to or can’t spend holidays with your in-laws, choose another time to be with them. You might make up for missing them on Christmas by hosting them for a special visit in January.  
  • Give your in-laws a say in how you’ll celebrate the holidays together.
  • Carry out traditions from both families. Try to choose the ones that are most important to your in-laws. It will mean a lot to them to see their beloved customs continued by the next generation. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource. Used with permission.

Summary

  • Get to know them.
  • Try not to criticize them to your spouse.
  • Adopt holiday traditions that are important to them. 

Marriage is a package deal. You not only get a spouse, but you get that person’s parents, siblings, and other relatives. Ideally, you and your in-laws will hit it off and you’ll have a close and loving relationship. If you don’t get along, that can create tension in your marriage. Whether you adore your in-laws or merely tolerate them, there are steps you can take to create a healthy relationship with your spouse’s family.

Getting along

  • Get to know your in-laws. Spend time with them. Interact on social media or send emails. Ask questions. Try to accept them for who they are.
  • Set boundaries. This is especially important if you have children. If you don’t like drop-in visitors, ask your in-laws to call ahead of time. It’s OK to let grandparents, aunts, and uncles indulge your children a little. But make it clear what you won’t allow. Staying up an hour past bedtime may be fine. Staying up past midnight may not be.
  • Avoid hot topics. You probably know where you and your in-laws disagree. Stay away from those subjects.
  • Respect your spouse’s privacy. She may not want you to reveal everything about your marriage or her personal life to her parents.

Resolving conflict

  • Control your emotions. Try not to lose your temper with your in-laws. Angry words can do lasting damage.
  • Don’t criticize your in-laws to your spouse. Even if he’s angry with them, they’re still his family. It’s likely to upset him to hear you talk unkindly of them.
  • Take your spouse’s side in a conflict with your in-laws. It’s important to present a united front. Your spouse also needs to know that you support her.
  • Speak directly to your in-laws if something is bothering you. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to them for you. That can lead to misunderstandings and more hurt feelings.

Celebrating the holidays

  • Before the holiday season, decide which holidays you’ll spend with which set of in-laws. You might want to switch off each year. If you don’t want to or can’t spend holidays with your in-laws, choose another time to be with them. You might make up for missing them on Christmas by hosting them for a special visit in January.  
  • Give your in-laws a say in how you’ll celebrate the holidays together.
  • Carry out traditions from both families. Try to choose the ones that are most important to your in-laws. It will mean a lot to them to see their beloved customs continued by the next generation. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource. Used with permission.

Summary

  • Get to know them.
  • Try not to criticize them to your spouse.
  • Adopt holiday traditions that are important to them. 

Marriage is a package deal. You not only get a spouse, but you get that person’s parents, siblings, and other relatives. Ideally, you and your in-laws will hit it off and you’ll have a close and loving relationship. If you don’t get along, that can create tension in your marriage. Whether you adore your in-laws or merely tolerate them, there are steps you can take to create a healthy relationship with your spouse’s family.

Getting along

  • Get to know your in-laws. Spend time with them. Interact on social media or send emails. Ask questions. Try to accept them for who they are.
  • Set boundaries. This is especially important if you have children. If you don’t like drop-in visitors, ask your in-laws to call ahead of time. It’s OK to let grandparents, aunts, and uncles indulge your children a little. But make it clear what you won’t allow. Staying up an hour past bedtime may be fine. Staying up past midnight may not be.
  • Avoid hot topics. You probably know where you and your in-laws disagree. Stay away from those subjects.
  • Respect your spouse’s privacy. She may not want you to reveal everything about your marriage or her personal life to her parents.

Resolving conflict

  • Control your emotions. Try not to lose your temper with your in-laws. Angry words can do lasting damage.
  • Don’t criticize your in-laws to your spouse. Even if he’s angry with them, they’re still his family. It’s likely to upset him to hear you talk unkindly of them.
  • Take your spouse’s side in a conflict with your in-laws. It’s important to present a united front. Your spouse also needs to know that you support her.
  • Speak directly to your in-laws if something is bothering you. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to them for you. That can lead to misunderstandings and more hurt feelings.

Celebrating the holidays

  • Before the holiday season, decide which holidays you’ll spend with which set of in-laws. You might want to switch off each year. If you don’t want to or can’t spend holidays with your in-laws, choose another time to be with them. You might make up for missing them on Christmas by hosting them for a special visit in January.  
  • Give your in-laws a say in how you’ll celebrate the holidays together.
  • Carry out traditions from both families. Try to choose the ones that are most important to your in-laws. It will mean a lot to them to see their beloved customs continued by the next generation. 
By Sharron Luttrell, Military OneSource. Used with permission.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as behavioral health care or management advice. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have questions related to workplace issues, please contact your human resources department. ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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