Getting along with your in-laws is a scarcity in today’s world. It seems like more often that not, people have a hard time coping with the family they marry into. In fact, family-related arguments are one of the more prevalent causes of fights among married couples. If you or your spouse do not get along with other members of your family, the strife and anxiety of going to family events can be overwhelming.
Here are a few tips to remember when successfully interacting with your in-laws.
Find Ways to Relate
You may feel like you and your in-laws are from two different worlds. Believe it or not, you’d be surprised how much you have in common with your spouses’ family members. Find something you can talk about it and use that as a tool to get to know one another better.
Don’t change yourself to be more like them or expect them to change either, but keep in mind neutral interests and bring them up from time to time. Familiar topics will make both parties feel more at home.
Go Out of Your Way
In order to build a healthy relationship, it’s important that you send off signals that show you care. This means going out of your way sometimes to show them you’re making an effort. Try showing up to family get-togethers as often as you can, even if it means making sacrifices on your end. They’ll notice the effort and appreciate that you’re there for them.
If they get to know you, they’ll grow to love you just like your spouse does. Your relationship with your in-laws is worth the investment. Let’s face it, you’re in it for life so you may as well enjoy it!
Be a Helping Hand
Help out as much as possible. Bring a dish or two to family get-togethers, or visit the bakers and pick up a nice cake or dessert. Offer to help sweep their yard, or take the family dog for a walk. Chat about your life while helping around the house. If you notice dishes needing to be cleaned after a holiday dinner, help yourself to cleaning them. Don’t ask permission, just do it. It won’t go unnoticed.
If you stay positive around your in-laws instead of complaining or looking stressed, they’ll start to feel good when they’re around you and will open up to you the warmer you are to them. Don’t complain or bring up past arguments or issues, but have a smile on your face and a kind disposition, regardless of how they treat you.
Treat each meeting like you are starting anew with the family. If you feel like people are talking about you behind your back, do your best to ignore it. You can’t stop people talking, but you can choose not to let it affect you. The best way to encourage good behavior is to lead by example, even among adults! Sometimes serving is more powerful than words alone. The feeling is priceless.
If you have these basic principles in the back of your mind when thinking of your in-laws, you’ll not only have an improved relationship, but you may start to feel like you’ve gained a new family who you can accept as an extension of your own. You only are accountable for your own actions. You may want to change them or the situation, but the only thing you can change is yourself. Focus on doing your part and the rest will eventually (with any luck) fall into place.