Dealing With In-Laws


It is an exciting moment when the love of your life proposes marriage.  However, the thought of getting to meet the new family sometimes threatens the joy initially felt.  Questions on whether your in-laws will gladly accept you or outrightly deem you unfit for their son fill the mind.  Interacting with your husband or wife’s to-be family is the first step in determining how your relationship with them will be once you are officially married.  Unfortunately, unruly family members who have no respect for boundaries form the reason why there is an end to marital bliss. How does one identify that family members are intrusive and how best does one deal with them?

Stories are told on a one-on-one basis, on several online platforms, and via shows created of in-laws from hell. There are in-laws who will gossip about you, flirt with you, ignore you when you visit, control you, pop in your home without any prior notice, hurl insults at you, and are outrightly rude.  Further, some family members will be hosted in our homes but will show no respect to your partner or personal space as they are entitled.

Regardless of this hurdle, there is a desire for marriages and relationships to thrive. One must be ready to put in the work if the relationship is to survive.  The talk on in-laws is often a sensitive topic. Whether during bridal showers, family meetings, on the eve, or the morning of the wedding, there is no limitation to the number of times one is indulged in the conversation. Here are a few tips for having the situation in control.

  1. Avoid any of the gossip sessions. If you do not contribute to whatever they have to say, they will have nothing to hold against you
  2. Create a united front with your spouse
  3. Create boundaries and enforce them.  This can be in terms of them calling before visiting you and how much you are to chip in financially
  4. Avoid being hard on yourself as the spouse.  You do not have to overdo house chores or change who you are to please your in-laws
  5. Learn to let go for your peace of mind.  Not every fight is worth engaging in
  6. Maintain respect.  Not to mean that you are subjugated, instead, be polite and value those around you
  7. Communicate directly to resolve conflicts
  8. Set realistic expectations as they are human are bound to err.  It also helps reduce chances of disappointments
  9. Employ a sense of humor at rude comments made to you
  10. Maintain a distance. Familiarity breeds contempt.  Hence the need to practice visiting and calling family once in a while
  11. Accept them by familiarizing yourself with their culture and traditions as well as avoid comparing them to your kin
  12. Avoid sharing your issues with your own family because this will strain the relationship between your spouse and your parents

Whenever the discussion is on, it is the couple that is frequently counseled on how to handle the situation. Not to dispute, but relatives also need to take up their role in making the couple’s lives easier. Relatives shacking up with you need to understand that it is a favor and not a guarantee, and they should not ride on your generosity.  Therefore, they should assist in household chores, cover some costs if they are earning an income, and give the couple their privacy by not barging into their room unannounced or asking privy questions.

If you can’t beat them, join them perfectly describes this family incidence.  By joining them does not mean that you suck up to them but be authentic. Some will appreciate you for that while others will not.  Whatever the case, live with wisdom, seek guidance from God and maintain your peace.


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