Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Preparation for Divorce Awareness Month Segment 2: Love Your In-Laws as Yourself

In-laws can bring all sorts of new concepts and ideas to the family dynamic. Things that the family had never considered would be introduced into their homes or lives.

For instance, we know someone who just had a baby and now have decided to spend their holidays at home, not rushing around between grandparent's and great-grandparent's homes for dinner and gifts and gatherings. I'm sure there were a couple of people who weren't so excited about that. What helps though, is that they welcome their families into their own home for the day. So everyone still gets to gather together and celebrate but the new baby doesn't have to carted all about town. I'm sure that mama was the #1 in-law on "the bad list" for a bit. She and her hubby stood up for what they believed was the best decision for their new little girl though, and that's their job.

I know another gal who is not friends with her husband's family. She thinks they're strange and uninterested in her life. To her they seem un-friendly and cold. She can see that they have meaningful relationships with one another, she even feels that they are too close. She just doesn't see that there is anything to build a relationship on for her. My friend has told me that she has tried to involve her in-laws in conversation but they seem unresponsive. Does this sound familiar to you? If so, trying talking to them about something they might be interested in. Ask questions about their life. Don't think they've been sitting around waiting to hear about your decorating plans. I can promise you, they probably don't really care.

When my mom and I were planning my wedding, I was sure that everyone else was dreading the thought of being asked to help out or do something like cut the cake. I am sure I got that vibe from the one person who was feeling that way. Because of that one person though, I didn't involve any of my husband's family. Most specifically his mom. I didn't want her to have to lift a finger. I wanted her to come, relax, and enjoy the day. As it turns out, she very much wanted to be involved in the planning and preparation. She would have loved taking part in the day. I figured that out too late and I regret it. Something that I really loved about our wedding day was that my mom and my mother-in-law, by no plan of my own, ended up cutting the cakes together and had such a wonderful time doing it. It felt so special to me, and to them. So, take into consideration that people want to be wanted, and needed. They want to help and to bless you. By asking for help, or for advice, or opinions from your family, especially your in-laws, you can build relationships that will be full of joy and blessings. Just remember to be genuine. If you really don't care what brand of laundry soap your MIL uses, find something you do care about and target that area. She'll feel special to have been asked and you'll get to hand something down to your children from their grandmother, even if it is something as simple as the scent of her clothes.

Obviously some people get stuck with the crazies. Don't hop on that bandwagon just to get the easy way out. I do know of some nutty in-laws though. So don't kill yourself trying to be the perfect daughter-(or son) in-law for someone who will never accept you anyway. Much too much sleep to be lost there. On the other hand, if you have a bad egg, and even if your spouse agrees with you. Don't spend much time talking or venting or raging to your spouse. Like I said, even if your husband agrees with you, because it can still hurt. You can change the vibe of your relationship by not taking every opportunity that presents itself to bash your husband's family. You could probably discuss it now and then in a level tone of voice, but try to zip your lip for the most part.

So, bottom line, when you're looking at your in-laws like you have no idea how your beloved spouse came from a family like that, realize that they think you're a little different too.

1 comment:

  1. interesting...
    my in laws are interesting, nice big family (mine is small) but they are far away so we don't often see them.
    By the way my mom in law made our wedding cake. She is very good at doing that kind of thing.