If you think that dealing with pesky in-laws is funny in the movies or on TV, the reality of it is quite different.
Ask any married person who has to contend with their spouse’s family and they’ll tell you that conflicts of this nature is no walk in the park.
You might find onscreen stereotypes of overprotective mothers or meddlesome fathers as hilarious, but having to deal with such characters in the real world is no joke.
It’s depressing for anyone who’s burdened with intrusive in-laws to have their idea of a perfect marriage shattered.
It’s disheartening to think that you have no choice but to deal with them since his or her family came with the package when you decided to marry your spouse.
With that said, what can you do in order to foster a more peaceful co-existence with your in-laws?
Think about it this way: BOTH you and the in-laws care about your spouse even though you may have different ideas on what that means exactly.
You can look at the bright side of things and think that this puts you on some sort of common ground at the very least.
Essentially, you’ll need to employ a great deal of understanding and empathy on your part in order to appreciate why you’re always at odds with your spouse’s family.
You should realize that the way your own family raised you could very well be worlds apart from that of your partner. As such, you have to see that your spouse came from a different set of values and principles which may be hard to appreciate at first.
So perhaps this discrepancy of opinions (which have been formed over many years) is making it hard for you to please them in every way possible.
Accept the fact that their own biases are causing them to act in ways that could be interpreted as hurtful. It’s natural for families to look out after their own, and this misplaced sense of overprotection (i.e. no one is good enough for their child) could be the heart of the matter.
The best you can do is not to compound the issue at hand through rash actions that you can take in the heat of the moment.
For instance, resist the temptation to come back with a hurtful comment of your own in case they say something offensive.
Your tact and ability to be civil is your best weapon against nasty in-laws. Don’t give them the leverage by allowing yourself to lose your cool.
Secondly, if you’re going to vent to your spouse about this, remember that these people are emotionally close to him or her. Try and focus about why you were hurt rather than directly insulting your in-laws.
Also, never force your partner to take sides – you don’t want to add to the hurt by putting them in an impossible moral dilemma. Simply state what you felt and leave your spouse to address the issue with his family.
Take comfort in the fact that no marriage is perfect, and marital problems come in different shapes and sizes. Don’t forget that many couples out there also have to deal with in-law related issues like you are.
Although you may not have direct control over what your spouse’s family feels or thinks, you can control the respect you have for them.
In fact, respect can keep things from getting worse because being civil is often the dividing line between manageable conflict and absolute chaos. Don’t give them any reason to confirm whatever misconceptions they have about you.