Despite what the movies will tell you, it is entirely possible to get along with your in-laws. In fact, some couples have better relationships with their married relatives than they do with their own. The way you interact with your spouse’s family will have an impact on your marriage. We want to help you succeed in that.
Check out these tips for bonding with your in-laws, courtesy of our Michigan marriage counseling center.
Find Shared Interests
The easiest way to forge a friendship with someone is to find shared interests. This works with in-laws as much as anyone else. Ask your spouse about some of their parents’ interests, or ask them in person when you speak to them. When you find something you both enjoy, build on that. This will establish comradery that you can carry throughout your relationship.
Reach Out To Them On Your Own
The time you spend with your in-laws does not always have to include your spouse. Call or visit your in-laws on your own to see how they are doing. This shows that you personally are interested in their lives. Even if it’s just a quick “thinking about you” phone call, you will strengthen your bond as a family by interacting with your in-laws independently.
Do NOT Talk To Your In-Laws About Marital Disagreements
There may come a time when you feel so comfortable with your spouse’s family that you turn to them for comfort and guidance. That’s fine in certain settings, but it is not appropriate for marital disputes. If you are having an argument with your spouse, do not reach out to your in-laws. This will backfire in one way or another. At the very least, it will anger your spouse because you got his or her parents involved. If you need an outsider to talk to about your marital issues, consider working with a professional marriage counselor.
Split Family Time Evenly
Family time should be split evenly between your family and your spouse’s family. If there is a noticeable imbalance in bonding time, your in-laws may start to resent you. The split may not be 50/50, but you should at least make an effort to see your in-laws on a regular basis. If they feel included in your lives, they will be happier with your relationship altogether.
Put Your Marriage First
At the end of the day, you have to put your marriage first. You cannot let your in-laws come between you and your spouse. If you feel like your spouse’s parents are undermining your relationship, say something about it. Also, be willing to listen to your spouse if he or she feels unsupported. You can work with a family and marriage counselor to overcome obstacles in your relationship and get to a happier place in your lives. If your in-laws truly love their son or daughter, they will support this happiness no matter what.