You work hard all week to support your family. You shower your spouse and kids with love. But your sense of accomplishment fades because your relationship with your spouse’s family is difficult to navigate.
The familiar refrain causes problems in many relationships. You’re not alone in feeling disappointed.
Because you love your spouse, it’s important to be proactive in improving your emotional reactions within the extended relationship. Try seeing their point of view by intentionally putting yourself in their position. How can you move past the comments or actions that aggravate you?
By being intentional with your spouse’s family, you can:
- Allow your spouse to handle disagreements with his or her family directly;
- Give them time to understand you and you them;
- Ask questions to discover the reasons behind your dissatisfaction;
- Talk to your family and seek their counsel;
- Realize their side of the story;
- Explain your feelings to your spouse;
- Come to terms with your feelings.
Your spouse will need to engage his or her parents. The biological child generally will carry more credibility with his or her own parents. He or she should decide how to best communicate with them and discuss sore points.
It is vital for spouses to stand together. When you marry, you are to leave your parental home, hold fast to your spouse and build a new home—with rules, expectations and goals set by you, not your parents.
As a couple, you set clear boundaries regarding how you will maintain your relationship with your in-laws, and how you will communicate this to them.
In fact, it’s best to do this when you’re engaged so that the expectations of both you and your in-laws are established before marriage and parenting enters the picture.
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Have you had trouble with your spouse’s family? How did you deal with it? We’d love to hear your success stories. Post your comments below.