Living with In-Laws?

Living with in-laws is a situation some married couples face. Sometimes it is early in the marriage until a couple gets on their feet financially. Other times it occurs when parents get older and need care. It is something a married couple needs to think seriously about before embarking on it.

Mick and I have been in this position three times in our married life, and we have seen several others examples within family and close friends, so we know some of the positives and some of the pitfalls.

Some things to consider if you are contemplating this decision:

Do you both get along well with the person or persons in the family? Or is there an underlying tension present? Unless you get along well and have some similar interests, living in the same house could create more problems that make family life and married life stressful. This is especially the case of the in-laws are the type that want to interfere or take over. They might see it as helping but you might resent it and view it as interference.

Do you have adequate room if they will be sharing your house, so that they will have their own space? Or will you have your own room and maybe sitting room and bathroom if it is you living with them? Often a granny flat or a place which has its own entrance but which can be closed off from the rest of the house is a good option.

What about other family members? If you have small children or teenagers it can be difficult for an older person to adapt to the day to day demands and noise level.

Would a small place nearby but not in the same house, where you could pop in each day and check on them be a better option?

Do the in-laws tend to jump in and stick up for their son or daughter in the case of an argument? If so, living with them may not work well.

Will in-laws be inclined to spoil children and undermine your authority and rules? Again this could create lots of problems. The same applies, if they favor one grandchild over the other. That can tear a family apart.

I’d suggest if you are contemplating such a move that you all sit down together and honestly talk through what you see might be the issues, as well as the good points. Such a situation needs give and take on both sides. If you can’t sit down and talk about them honestly then maybe it’s not the right option.

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