4 Ways to Improve your In-Laws Relationship

in-laws relationship family sisters

When we think of marriage, we often think of it as the act of leaving one’s family and joining your spouse (who has also left his or her family) to form our own. We know that the immediate family of our loved one is now going to be part of our lives, but we don’t always put the work for these new individual relationships to build and deepen

One of the most crucial relationships that you will have to pay attention to is the one with your In-Laws because the way you relate to them will have an impact on your marriage in the long run. In an article by The Boston Globe, we find that more than 60% of married women experience sustained stress because of their in-laws. That is because females tend to give more significance to the In-laws relationship. If you are trying to find ways to improve the way you relate to your In-laws, you’re probably part of that 60%. 

…more than 60% of married women experience sustained stress because of their in-laws

Every family is different and has unique and complicated circumstances to take into account, but these 4 principles will help you prepare a solid ground to build and strengthen your relationship with your In-Laws. 

  1. Direct communication is key 

You are probably thinking that you already know this or that this will come naturally over time so there is no need for another lecture on communication. But before you skip this section, there is something that you need to consider.

When there are possible conflicts, your partner cannot be the mediator all the time. It is natural for new wives or husbands to communicate through their partners when there is a problem with their In-Laws. However, this will not only bring a lot of pressure on your spouse, but it will prevent you from learning how to solve problems with your new family, and eventually, getting closer to them will become harder. 

Try to find balance in how much your partner intercedes for you, and as you get to know your In-Laws, seek opportunities to communicate directly with them.

  1. Let them know they can count on you 

Joining a new family can be scary, just remember the first time you met with your In-Laws. Questions like “Will they accept me?, Will I blend in?” were floating around in your mind. 

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But as it is for you, accepting a new family member can be hard on them too. Letting your In-Laws know that they can trust you when things get tough will create a stronger bond. But make sure you are direct and don’t assume that they already know this. 

The way you communicate this will look different depending on your culture, and their family traditions. For example, my husband is Korean (I am from Latin America), and since he is the eldest son it is expected for us as a couple to be the first ones to respond in any family crisis, especially when his parents experience illness. We had a conversation in which I let them know that I understood this and will lovingly and willfully take care of them when the moment arrived.

 So consider in what ways, or even when is the best time to have these moments of assurance in your particular case. 

Caring for the wellbeing of your spouse’s parents will also strengthen your marriage, so these opportunities are something you don’t want to miss. 

  1. Talk about expectations 

This is probably the first thing couples do after they get married and start experiencing conflicts and disagreements with each other’s family. 

Even though conflict is a natural aspect of all kinds of relationships, solving them quickly and more effectively will depend on your honesty about the expectations you have of your new family. 

Things like which holidays do you want to spend with family and which alone with your spouse, and how often is it ok to visit them are just a few questions to start digging into your expectations. 

Finances are another aspect to consider. For some people, including parents when making important financial decisions is the norm, so if you are more independent, this is something you will want to talk with your significant other.  

Even though conflict is a natural aspect of all kinds of relationships, solving them quickly and more effectively will depend on your honesty about the expectations you have of your new family. 

But your In-laws also have expectations, so you will want to ask your spouse about these. Some of these may sound impossible to you, or too hard to fulfill. Just have an open heart and provide a safe environment where every party can be ready to set more realistic expectations.

Remember, be honest and listen carefully to not only your own but also your family’s expectations. 

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  1. Be gracious with boundaries 

After you are clear with expectations, it is normal that you and your spouse agree on the boundaries that you will have with your In-laws to fulfill the couple’s needs. And you won’t have to worry about this anymore because everything will turn out as planned, right?

Well, that’s not how life usually works! Be aware that while being independent and starting new schedules and traditions as a couple, is healthy and recommended practice, life happens and people’s needs might change. 

Be gracious with boundaries that you have previously set when times are hard, especially when you face tragedies in any side of the family. This doesn’t mean that your voice will always be the last to be heard but that when the time is right, you will be able to put your In-laws needs first out of love.

In what ways have you been able to improve your In-Laws relationship? Leave a comment and share your story! 

Megan Miranda – Virtual Assistant 
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/meganmirandava/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.m.jang/

Click here to find a useful In-Law Gift Guide for use on any occasion

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