Quick Advice for Dealing with Difficult In-Laws

Our responses to this week’s marriage chat, hosted by http://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/.


If you don’t get along with in-laws, what should you do?

  • Handle conflict with in-laws by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Before getting upset, consider their point of view – could you have misunderstood or misinterpreted? Remember they are still your spouse’s family and no matter what you are connected for life. Find a way to fix the relationship. As with any relationship, things can always improve with in-laws (even if you have a good relationship). Ask yourself – what can you do to make things better? What do you need in order to feel that the relationship is improving? The important thing is to always keep trying and, when appropriate, be open about what others can do to help.

Should you confront you in-law about an issue or let your spouse handle it?

  • Let your spouse know about the issue, but handle it yourself. Things won’t improve if you can’t communicate with your in-laws. Plus, there’s always a feeling of satisfaction if you stand up for yourself and let your opinions and feelings be heard.

What if your spouse doesn’t agree that there is a problem?

  • Spouses often view the same situation in different ways. Your spouse doesn’t have to agree that there’s a problem, but your spouse needs to accept and respect your feelings about the situation.

How can you establish boundaries with your in-laws?

  • First, you have to decide with your spouse what the boundaries should be. If the two of you are not on the same page, you won’t be able to establish clear boundaries with your in-laws. Consider being flexible. Yes, your in-laws need to respect your boundaries, but you need to be willing to adapt to changing circumstances as well.

What about confiding in your parents about problems in your marriage?

  • If you confide about the bad parts of your marriage, make sure you share the good too. Otherwise you might create issues between your spouse and your parents. Also, consider how you spouse will feel before you share intimate details about your marriage.

What are your tips on repairing relationships with in-Laws?

  • Stay optimistic. Sometimes people change slowly. When change takes place slowly, it can be hard to tell that a change is actually taking place. Sometimes you don’t know things are better until they suddenly are. Just remember, your in-laws might not be the ones who need to change. Look inside. Maybe the change needs to come from you.


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