There are a lot of jokes about in-laws and how awful it is. There are lots of movies and television shows that emphasize the terror that are the in-laws. Monster-in-Law is one film that leaps to mind. Few of these address the positive relationship that can occur between in-laws.
Flexible, But Firm
Let’s talk a moment about why a negative relationship can occur between in-laws. First and foremost, a new spouse is not ‘stealing’ away an in-law’s child and they should never interfere in the relationship between parent and child. They should think, and think very deeply, how they would feel if someone came between him or herself and their child.
For the in-laws, they should recognize that their child is now an adult and they are making a loving, thoughtful commitment to another individual. Whether you like their choice or not, you have to respect their choice and the person they are marrying or risk alienating their child.
Give Yourselves a Chance to Get to Know Each Other
In our marriage, I call my mother-in-law Mom and have for years. My husband doesn’t call my mother mom, but they have a good relationship. The difference in parenting styles coupled with personalities is what defines our very different relationships with our respective in-laws.
On both sides of the family, we have received support, assistance, advice and more. When it comes to these forms of communication, we have not always agreed. Agreement is not necessary, but respect and understanding are. When it comes to listening to their advice, there is nothing wrong with it. What you choose to do with it is up to you and your spouse.
Sometimes, friction occurs when in-laws desperately want to intervene because they want to help their child and their child’s family, but in healthy relationships – they also understand that couples have to make their own mistakes and recover from them. Once you have a chance to get to know your extended family – you may discover that their advice is something you come to treasure – whether you find it useful or not.
You can build a wonderful friendship with your in-laws that can help provide you both with support and caring. But you should never put them in a position to choose between you and your spouse. The divisive nature of disagreements will usually find parents falling down on the side of their child and creating more negativity.
How do you promote a positive relationship with your in-laws?