GOT MONSTER IN-LAWS?
October 25, 2011, 3:27 pm
The following article is exclusive to Hitched Magazine:
Do your in-laws call constantly? Do they invite themselves over and drop by unannounced? Do they beg you to visit them all the time… especially during the holidays? Do they give frequent unwanted advice about finances or the way you raise your kids? Do they manipulate you with guilt if you don’t do exactly what they think you should? Do they control you with money and gifts? Do they insist that you follow their holiday traditions? Do they gossip behind your back?
Many couples struggle with monster in-laws. Here are three helpful tips:
1. Stop behaving as a victim. You can choose to stay in the victim role by complaining and gossiping, or you can do what is in your power to improve your situation. Equip yourself to deal with in-law problems by reading books and articles. See a marriage-friendly therapist and/or join a positive support group in order to surround yourself with encouraging people who can validate your feelings and help you maintain a healthy self-esteem. The more knowledgeable you become about difficult in-laws, the more equipped you will be to prevent them from becoming an obstacle in your marriage. When your insecurity is replaced with confidence, you’ll realize that your in-laws’ opinions don’t outrank yours and you don’t need their approval.
2. Be assertive and draw boundaries. In many situations it’s better to gain respect by standing up for yourself rather than expecting your mate to rescue you. Both you and your partner play crucial roles in protecting your marriage from difficult in-laws. Rather than holding silent grudges while growing more resentful, be honest with your spouse’s parents in a respectful, yet firm manner. When you grasp the fact that you are an adult on an equal level to your in-laws, your behavior will change, and that will likely trigger a change in their behavior. If you want to be treated as an adult, then you must behave as one.
3. Unite as a couple. The best way to protect your marriage from monster in-laws is to unite as husband and wife. Make your spouse a priority over your parents, seek loving compromises, and present a united front. Refuse to listen to your parents gossip about your sweetheart, and don’t complain to him about his parents. Rather than allowing in-law problems to divide you and your partner, seize every opportunity to behave in a way that strengthens your marriage. If you feel that your mate doesn’t make your needs a priority, then help him become a loyal partner instead of complaining that he isn’t one already.
Monster in-laws can be a huge challenge, but you and your spouse have the ability to protect your marriage. Remember, you can have a great marriage even if your in-laws aren’t so great!
Jenna D. Barry is the author of “A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents.” Find more at www.WifeGuide.org.
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