When a man and a woman get married, they create a new family of their own, but they also bring two families together. The in-laws become part of their son and daughter’s new family. The joining of these two families is a process and takes time, but it is so very important to the husband and wife.
Being newlyweds is a wonderful time in marriage, but it also can have times of frustration and exasperation. A couple doesn’t always know about some of the odd things their spouse does, but once you’re living together and facing the rest of your life with them, sometimes you begin to notice things that you hadn’t before. During these times is often when spouses begin to wonder what they were thinking saying “I Do”… Whether it be to the man who doesn’t put the toilet seat down or who can’t put his dirty socks in the basket 2 inches from where he chooses to drop them each day, or the wife who insists on trying fancy new meals when you really want steak and potatoes or who wants to spend every waking moment with you instead of giving you some space. These times are normal, but husbands and wives don’t always handle them correctly.
In-Laws are Important
Getting to know your spouse a new level can be overwhelming and puzzling at times. It is during these times that you may need to be able to talk to your in-laws, that is why it is important to get to know them and do your very best at building a relationship with them. They know your spouse better than you do, on many levels. They’ve seen them grow up and what they dealt with while growing up, saw past relationships and life difficulties prior to you knowing them, etc. Their knowledge of your spouse could prove invaluable to you.*
Don’t Assume Your In-Laws Don’t Like You
I’m not exactly sure where the issues with in-laws started, but I can’t count the times that I’ve heard people mention that they don’t like or get along with their in-laws. I’ve been very blessed that my current in-laws are a wonderful addition to my family. Though we have our differences, over the years we’ve grown to appreciate each other and the different things we bring to our family.
Anytime you add something or someone new to the mix of things, it can become interesting…until the newness wears off. Oftentimes a spouse feels like a fish out of water and as if they’re under the microscope with their in-laws, nothing they do is right and they’re sure they’ll never like them. While the in-laws are watching, it is likely to be more of a getting to know you and not critiquing you.
Difficult In-Laws Do Exist
It is true. I’ve had them and I have friends that have them. In-laws that just don’t like you (for some unknown reason), in-laws that are upset you took their baby away, in-laws that want to be part of your each and every day, etc. These things do happen to couples every day and it makes their marriages very hard at times.
If you’re struggling with difficult in-laws, my first piece of advice is to pray. Pray harder and more often for them and your relationship with them. God answers prayer and if you are seeking His strength then He will fulfill that request. Secondly, don’t talk negatively to your spouse about their family. No matter what, family is family. If you’re dealing with something of significance then seek the Lord’s direction prior to peacefully discussing the issue with your spouse. Strive to never have a discussion about your in-laws while you’re upset.
In-laws can be a wonderful part of your life, but they can also create difficulty at times. It isn’t always on purpose, so try to keep an open mind. Talk to your spouse about how you’d like to handle things with both sets of in-laws and what (if any) boundaries need to be set up. Thank God for the blessing of family and seek His will for the families He brought together with your marriage.
*Please know, I am not suggesting that you avoid talking to your spouse to get to know them more, nor am I suggesting that you talk to your in-laws behind your spouse’s back. If you know that your spouse would not appreciate you talking to their family about them, then you need to honor their wishes and let them know that you’d like to talk in depth to help you to understand them better.