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    In-Laws

    By Kristen Houghton     

    It seems to be a problem that is never really addressed before the wedding. I’m not talking about the potential disaster of joint bank accounts, or how you’re going to combine all of your “stuff” with his “stuff” in minute size closets. I’m not even talking about making sure your cat Lady Fluffy gets along with your new husband’s dog Brutus while you’re on your honeymoon. Those are minor considerations compared with the one thing we never consider until after the “I Do’s.” Getting along with in-laws.

    Comedies like “Monster-in-Law” and “Meet the Parents” don’t do justice to the problems that in-laws can cause in a marriage. They are comedies. In reality, a bad relationship with an in-law can impact a marriage for years.

    We all know horror stories of mothers-in-law who can bring their sons’ wives to tears on holidays or fathers-in-law who make their daughters’ husbands feel like a prize idiot whenever they get together. Like pieces from different puzzles, the family members do not seem to match.

    Can this disaster of “mis-matched” in-laws be resolved? Here are some tips.

    Meet disaster head-on. Constantly avoiding unpleasant situations solves nothing. If you feel there’s a problem between your in-laws and you, try to resolve it immediately. Make a point to talk about it first with your spouse, then with your in-laws. Be pleasant, polite, and blunt. State how you feel, what you’ve observed but, be fair. Don’t pick on every little innocent remark; it has to be important.

    Have respect; expect respect. Try to be the type of person you, yourself, would like to be around. Be nice, but don’t be a doormat. Respect them and expect the same treatment from them.

    Don’t use your children as weapons. Never state, even in the heat of anger that, “your parents will never hold a child of mine!” It helps no one, certainly not your kids, to know that if Mommy or Daddy don’t like Nonna and Grand-Dad, Little Catie or Little Will can’t visit them.

    Be fair about holidays. Spliting holidays, one at one set of in-laws, one at the others, can work, but be sure to make a nice, happy call to the ones you’re not seeing.

    The Italian phrase, “Guarda tua lingua” (watch your tongue), says it all. People may forget the fact that you arrived very late for a dinner or that you wore white to their wedding but no one ever forgets hurtful words.

    Above all, remember the in-law you may have a problem with is the parent who gave you the person you love.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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