Do you constantly have to choose between being a good son and a good husband? Wives, you’re no exception. Does your husband get the sharp end of the stick because you’re struggling to be a good daughter?
Couples often find it a challenge when dealing with in-laws. In most cases, the mother is the dreaded fire breathing dragon because she believes that her input in her son’s (or daughter’s) marriage trumps that of the spouse.
Whether you’re a husband or wife, you need to know how to deal with your in-laws to not only find enjoyment in your marriage but to also safeguard it.
How to Deal with In-Laws: When Your Parent is the Bully
It’s unnerving to see your mate bullied by your parents. Instead of watching it happen, there are a few things you can do to make things easy for your mate.
1. Remember Who You’re Married To
Often times when parents interfere in your union, it’s because you’ve invited them to. A typical illustration can be used to demonstrate exactly what that means. As a single person, you were accustomed to sharing everything with your parents. After being married, the pattern continues. Instead of running to your spouse when trouble strikes or when making tough decisions, your parents get the preference, and your spouse is left to speculate.
In essence, you’re inviting your parents to ‘meddle’ in affairs that should be kept in-house or handled with your mate. This will eventually pose a challenge, as your parents will subsequently believe they have ‘rights’ to make decisions for your family, even when their help was not solicited.
Remember, you’re not married to your parents. Important family matters should be communicated to and with your mate. When help is needed, as a couple, you should decide what source it’ll come from.
2. Set Clear Boundaries
Your parents should not be able to do whatever and whenever they want. Especially if you have children, your parents will feel as though they are the ‘law’ within the home.
Whenever they visit, help your parents to appreciate that you and your spouse do things a particular way, especially when rearing your children. If a house rule dictates that no candy should be consumed after 7 pm, your parent(s) should not dictate otherwise.
Clearly communicate what you will and will not tolerate from them.
3. Do Not Side With your Parent Against Your Mate
When you got married, your vows were shared with your mate. Those vows meant that you’d leave your parents and create a family of your own.
When disagreements arise within the family, do not form an alliance with your parents to gang up on your mate. Sure, you don’t want to lose your parents’ approval, but when they sully your mate’s reputation or question their parental skills, you need to call them out on their actions. Do not work alongside your parents and crucify your spouse.
4. Be Reasonable
In most cases, parents only want what’s best for their children, even if they go about showing that concern the wrong way. For instance, they might think you don’t have what it takes to lead your family without guidance from someone with years of experience. In that case, they might try to make decisions for you or interfere with your plans.
To supplement, your parents might treat your spouse unjustly because they’ve always held the perspective that no one would ever be good enough for you.
Furthermore, especially in mother in-law scenarios, your mother might see your wife as competition. She sees your wife as your new go to person and may feel as if she’ll be sidelined and replaced. Those are all natural feelings to have so try to be a little understanding. Be reasonable. That, however, does not give parents the key to be disrespectful and rude.
Could you overlook a flaw on your parents’ part by understanding why they behave a particular way? That could help the family to get along.
How to Deal With In-Laws – When You’re Being Bullied By An In-Law
If you’re victimized by the in-laws, take heart, you’re not alone in this fight. Instead of calling it quits, here are some practical things to do.
- Talk to your spouse
Talk to your spouse about the bullying. You don’t have to suffer in silence and you shouldn’t have to. When relating the incident to your spouse, be respectful. Remember, it’s their parents and they might get a little defensive.
- Do not lose your cool
When treated unjustly, you can easily lose self-control. Oppression does bring out the worst in some people. Remain calm and composed. Do not allow the taunts of an in-law to cause you to condescend to their level.
- Remain respectful
Whatever stones are hurled at you, never repay evil for evil or try to get even. Remain respectful. Some parents do reflect on their behavior and eventually catch on to themselves. To retaliate in a disrespectful manner would only add coals to the fire.
- Do not speak badly about your in-laws to anyone, period
It’s normal to talk about those inappropriate or rude encounters with the in-laws. That’s just how it is; we’re wired to lament about the negatives we see in people, instead of highlighting the good.
Instead of meeting up to chat negatively with the guys or relatives about how nasty your in-laws are, why not highlight a positive trait the individual does possess?
Not only does that build character, but should the in-laws get wind of what was said, you would have covered your hide. To add, it might just melt your in-law’s heart.
- Be hopeful
People and situations do change. Once you endure with the right attitude and refuse the urge to lash out at the in-laws, they might come to see how much of a beautiful soul you are. Be hopeful, they can change and things do get better.
- Along with your spouse, speak to your in-law
If you find that your in-law(s) is stuck in their way, it might be best to relate the matter to your spouse and you both speak to your in-law. You could simply state that you felt hurt by the statement that was made. Remember, the goal is not to highlight flaws or nitpick, but to make amends and keep the family together.
No family is perfect. It can be difficult to deal with in-laws, but not impossible. Whatever the situation, always remember to let your words be gracious and respectful. A gentle word can melt the most gruesome of hearts.