How to Deal with the In-Laws

Enough movies have been made portraying the nightmares of having in-laws. From “Meet the Parents” to “The In-laws,” all of us get a chuckle out of Hollywood’s portrayal of this topic. We stop laughing though, when it comes to our own personal experiences with our own “in-laws.”

The first rule to remember when dealing with your in-laws is that they are not strangers off the street that demand to be hated. In fact, the opposite is true. They are the flesh and blood that created your spouse, and no matter how frustrated you are with them, you have to keep that fact in mind. Your spouse loves his parents and you must respect their relationship, even if at times it frustrates your own.

Getting along with your spouse’s parents means being flexible, but firm. You and your spouse are your own individual unit, but you are still an extension of the bigger unit. As a result, it’s good to maintain open communication lines with this “bigger unit.”

Sometimes compromises need to be made, but the main thing you want to remember is that you and your spouse should come to a mutual agreement concerning issues, events, and situations related to your in-laws. The last thing you need is a rift to form between you and your spouse, so make sure all decisions are reached mutually.

As far as the in-laws go, they need to be made aware of your mutual decisions and if they beg to differ or become difficult concerning an issue, it’s important to be consistent and firm with them. This is especially important if the in-laws are being irrational or difficult, and demanding something that is out of the question or inconvenient to your own individual unit.

It’s also important to make your in-laws feel special and included. Your spouse’s parents aren’t stupid. They’ve seen the same movies you have and have heard all the jokes about in-laws, so it’s important to break through the typical stereotypes and ultimately make your spouse’s parents your friends.