Newly married ladies should know this at the very start: In-laws are a crucial part of your spouse’s life. In that sense, they become a significant part of your life too. But what if you’re dealing with a difficult mother-in-law or father-in-law? Is family harmony still possible?
How to live and thrive with difficult in-laws?
It’s common knowledge that family dynamics can have an effect on one’s health and well-being. That’s why many young wives confess that a rocky relationship with in-laws is the reason behind their stress and frustration. Sad to say, it can affect marriages in the long run, even in the most solid ones.
A licensed marriage and family therapist Billie Tyler explained that it’s not healthy for couples to spend a lot of time discussing issues about in-laws. Avoiding the topic will not also benefit them. So what can you do if you’re in this situation?
Let’s look at these tips:
Couples must stand by each other
The husband and the wife should maintain their unity and communicate with each other at all times. According to Tyler, they have to decide together on their stance about the role the in-laws have in their relationship. If this happens, they can deal with the challenges more easily even things did not get better. At least, they have a sense of security that they have each other’s back.
Creating boundaries and sticking to them
Boundaries are important, especially in dealing with difficult family members. So to keep your sanity in these situations, you must set them and of course, follow them. Things can get out of control if you give your in-law too much freedom in terms of meddling in your relationship. To avoid that, you should have limits. If weekly visits are a bit too much for you, you can suggest to your spouse to make it bi-monthly or monthly. This is also applicable to money matters and unsolicited advice to your parenting style.
Face the problem with understanding
Sometimes, we tend to ignore our problems when it’s causing too much stress. But this might not be the answer to them. A way to address your issues with your in-laws is through empathy. According to Tyler, one should spend time with each other while trying to understand their perspective. “If everyone can feel understood, there is more room for flexibility and change to happen in these relationships.”
Establish communication with them
This may take up a lot of courage to do but you can try to speak to your in-laws directly. By doing this, you can say what’s bothering you in a polite manner. Be honest and clear, without the intention of insulting them. Remember, you won’t want to put your spouse in between.
Try to stay calm and level-headed
When we’re being offended by someone, we might lose our control and also say mean things to them. But this will just make the feud worse. Even though you feel that your in-laws are crossing the line, try to compose yourself for a moment. Give yourself a few hours to calm down. After that, it will be easier to discuss the problem sensibly, avoiding further damage to the relationship.
No one says it will be easy, but there are ways to deal with difficult in-laws. But for the sake of your well-being and your relationship, trying the tips above won’t hurt.
Do you guys agree?
Queenie Lasta got her bachelor's degree in Communications Research from UP Diliman. In her free time, she likes to read thriller novels, psychology books, and mangas. She believes in the importance of grit, hard work, and passion to become a great writer in the future.