Your Relationship with Your In-Laws 

Building and maintaining a relationship with your spouse’s family requires some work. Research studies show that having a good relationship with your in-laws can make for a happier marriage. If you haven’t had a good relationship with your in-laws, it’s not too late to work on repairing the relationship.

Focus on what you have in common with your in-laws. You both love the same person. They may show their love differently than you do or in ways that you don’t always approve of. However, try to remember that they do love your spouse and are trying to negotiate an adult relationship with their married child.

Be open-minded about your in-laws’ activities. Some families have dinner together and other families go bowling. Whatever it is your spouse’s family does, it may be quite different from how your family spends time together. Be willing to try new things.

Be open-minded about your in-laws’ traditions as well. Perhaps they do some things for the holidays that you aren’t familiar with. But try to go with the flow and learn the history behind their traditions.

Learn how to respond to advice. Your mother-in-law might give you lots of tips on cooking or parenting. Perhaps your father-in-law offers advice on fixing things and home remodeling projects. Be willing to graciously accept advice when you agree. Also learn how to politely respond to advice you don’t plan on taking.

Set healthy boundaries with your in-laws. Don’t allow them to take over your life only to become angry and resentful. Talk to your spouse about setting limits if you feel like they are becoming too involved. In-laws don’t need to weigh in on all your decisions or know all the details of your marriage.

Remember that in-laws are dealing with a variety of issues as their child gets married. For the first time, they may feel left out of their child’s life, and the more rejected they feel the more they may try to get more involved. They also may feel like they are competing with your parents. Perhaps they hear how much money your family has or what great parents your parents are. Help relieve their fears by making them feel accepted.

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