A New Family: Learning to Love my In Laws
There is often truth to some to the things we joke about. I have heard lots of jokes about in-laws and how awful they can be, but I never thought I would be the one to experience anything like that!
When I first got married I didn’t know much about my husband’s family. I knew a little, but my concern was my husband so I didn’t bother thinking about the in-laws too much. Then suddenly I was married and I had to start thinking of them as my new family. I failed to realize the true meaning of a family that comes with the person you marry.
Family has an impact on everyone, whether good or bad. You married someone who grew up in a family, who loves, knows, and cares for that family. Now you have to try to do the same thing or feel the same way? In most cases, this doesn’t happen overnight.
If you are having some difficulties, here are some points that I like to keep in mind:
It’s important to come to terms with the fact you might not like the family, but you still need to learn how to love them. This goes a long way in improving how you view your spouse’s family. A negative attitude towards them can affect your spouse.
- Remember, when you talk to your spouse about their family they will likely take it personally. They are attached to their family so be sensitive.
- Forgive your spouse’s family for what they have done to your spouse in the past. Families aren’t always nice nor are they perfect, but holding a grudge does more damage to you than it does to them. Bitterness poisons from the inside out.
It’s good to be willing to look at things from the other side. Here are some things I found helpful to remember when my husband talks to me about my family:
- Learn to separate yourself from your own family. Make your spouse your top priority.
- Allow yourself to see both the good and the bad about your family from your spouse’s perspective.
- Don’t compare families or pit one against the other.
Recognizing that differences aren’t always bad is one of the keys to success. Embrace the diversity. Through this you can learn to be more tolerant, loving, and accepting.
By saying, “Your family works differently than mine, but that’s okay” you take the first step in progress. Then, learn to accept those differences instead of asking “why?” I used to ask that all the time. “Why do they do that? Why are they like that?” My husband still doesn’t know how to answer those questions. It’s not fair to try to find reasons why they shouldn’t do something based on finding out the reason why they do it. They will do what they do, and the only person you can change is yourself.
When I’m exhausted and don’t want to be nice anymore I pray. That calms me down and helps me to clearly see what the problem is. Often I create problems in my own head and don’t notice I’ve done that until I think through why I’m upset about something. I’ve been mad and sad. I’ve cried. But the thing I remember is that, it does pass.
I don’t have to be “best friends” with my in-laws. I know I never will be, and that’s okay. I consider how I can get through anything if I’m willing to listen and make changes. I don’t have to let what they have done or said stop me from treating them the way I would like to be treated.
I’m still learning every day. I know this will continue for the rest of my life. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with your in-laws?