Do you bristle at the thought of your in-laws? The relationship with your husband's parents can be challenging at best. But learning to get along with them may be key to a successful marriage. David and Claudia Arp explain.
Build mutual respect
When you married your spouse, did you accept your spouse's parents as well? Judging from all the in-law jokes, in-law relationships may be the most neglected and abused of all family relationships. How can you build healthy relationships with your spouse's parents? The more mutual respect and enjoyment you experience with your in-laws, the more security and stability you and your spouse will enjoy in your marriage. So if you'd like to maintain a growing friendship with your in-laws, here are some ideas to try:
- Put it in writing -- First, write a letter to your partner's parents thanking them for a character trait or personal skill they instilled in your mate.
- Be helpful -- Second, the next time you visit your in-laws' home, look for something you can do for them. Maybe you could run an errand or help in the kitchen or yard. Look for ways to serve them.
- Keep them informed -- Third, keep grandparents informed of your children's activities, interest, and accomplishments. Grandparents especially love newspaper clippings and lots and lots of pictures. Every couple of years, make sure your parents have an updated picture of the family.
- Stay in touch -- Fourth, if you live far away and see them infrequently, schedule a regular visit by phone. The cost will be low compared to the rewards. Also e-mail is a wonderful way to stay in touch.
- Be grateful -- Above all, be grateful to your in-laws. They were the ones who provided the climate for cultivating all the attractive qualities in that special person you chose to marry!
Remember, in making ties stronger with your in-laws, you'll make your marriage stronger as well!