Tips For Managing Your In-Laws

inlawsSo are your in-laws coming to town? and you’re not exactly thrilled, or are having anxiety about it. In-law visits don’t have to be unpleasant when you’re armed with a few tricks to manage some of those sticky situations. Do you have a mother-in-law who won’t butt out of your marriage? Or perhaps she’s disapproving or condescending? Got a father-in-law who’s a know-it-all? If you plan on sticking with your spouse, then you’re also stuck with your in-laws, so finding ways to get along with them is crucial. Here’s advice for keeping the peace with your extended family.
Spouse comes first. 
When you get married, it’s time to grow up and leave your parents. You already an adult. This doesn’t mean you emotionally kick them out or cut all ties, but you do need to establish your own family (your spouse, children) By putting your spouse first, you are choosing the adult role of being a husband or wife over the role of being a child in your parent’s family. The other woman in every man’s life is his mother. If your husband says, “Well, my mother does it this way my mother does it that way..” maybe you need to tell him to head to his mother’s house and sleep there! You need to come first now, not her.There can be no divided loyalties. When you get married and start your own family with your spouse and children.
Don’t be a right fighter.
Do you always need to be right during an argument? Even if your in-laws are clearly in the wrong from your perspective, the way you react to a situation could inflame it and overshadow your position. It’s not about being right; it’s about being happy. Take the moral high ground and learn to play along during a disagreement. Be polite. This doesn’t mean you have to change your personality to please your in-laws, simply respect rules and traditions that are important to the older generation. Being polite and respectful with in-laws will go a long way in improving the relationship not only with your in-laws, but your spouse as well.
Know your role. 
Setting clear ground rules for handling extended family will improve your marriage. If an husband has a problem with his mother-in-law, it’s his wife’s job to step in. Likewise,like wise if a wife doesn’t see eye-to-eye with her in-laws, it’s her husband who needs to help resolve it. Try as much as possible to be a peace maker.
Negotiate with your partner the role that you want your in-laws to have.
Don’t assume you’re on the same page until you talk about it. Try not to criticize your spouse for his/her relationship with his/her parents. It may only lead to more complications.
Don’t share your marital problems with your parents.
There are many things that happen in marriage that are none of your parents’ business. One of the biggest mistakes that couples can make is sharing their relationship issues with their respective families. You fix problems in a marriage within a marriage — not by turning away from your partner and toward your parents. You can love your parents and have a rich, active relationship with them without involving them in your marriage. And remember: If you vent to your parents every time you’re angry or hurt, they’ll build a case against your partner As a matter of fact, if you run to mom or dad any time you have a fight with your spouse, how are you going to learn to handle life with your spouse on your own? Avoid sharing the household secrets with your parents. Discuss with your spouse what topics and areas of your life are off limits to others. Once you’ve set boundaries, talk to your parents about them. They’re not as fragile as you may think.
Don’t involve the children.
Children should never be used as pawns. Protect them from being manipulated or emotionally damaged by being in the middle of a war zone. Parents should make every effort to keep the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild healthy and loving. Grandparents need to understand that even though their role is vital in a child’s life, their involvement is a privilege, not a right. They must earn that privilege by putting the children’s interests above their own.
Spend time with your in-laws
Develop a better relationship with your in-laws by doing things together. Find out what they enjoy and try joining them. This could be shopping, playing golf, cards, whatever. A tree they say does not make a forest you may find you have more in common than you thought.
Distance yourself physically at all time is not too healthy. You don’t need to move cross-country, but you also don’t need to show up at every event. It’s acceptable for your spouse to attend some family events without you. This should not be a common occurrence, however. You should not try to drive a wedge between your spouse and his family. It could also be a victory of sorts for that mother of his/her and do not give your in law the opportunity to spend time with your spouse to avoid you completely. This might cause discord in your marriage eventually..
Disarm guilt as a weapon. 
If the your in-law attempts to use guilt as a tool of manipulation, it’s fairly easy to overcome. Whenever you perceive the attempting to manipulate your emotions by making you feel guilty, bring the whole matter to conscious awareness by asking, “You’re not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?” Your in law will probably deny it, but soon the pattern will re-emerge. Keep interrupting the pattern of falling into a state of guilt by using the emotionally manipulative tactics. You don’t want to be rude, but put a stop to the use of guilt as a weapon. If you refuse to enter the emotional state of guilt, it will allow you to be more objective and compassionate in seeing that your is probably using guilt to get at you because that is the only weapon they have. If you can address that sense of powerlessness, that their only weapon you have the opportunity to transform the relationship for good.
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