In-laws in marriage, wow, what other topic has so fueled the routine of more stand up comics than this? It can be a slippery slope to be sure. You want to like your in-laws, and have them like you. But sometimes they just don’t know when to quit, do they?
Finding common ground – and peace – may require a few simple techniques for you and your spouse to learn.
Here’s a story from a reader, Gina, to jump off from:
My first marriage ended in divorce. It wasn’t a shock to anyone.
My husband begged me to marry him shortly after we started dating. I, of course, said no at first since it was just too soon. But as we got to know each other better and fell in love, my “no” turned to a “yes” and we were married.
The problems started long before the wedding bells started ringing. During the planning of our wedding his mother would constantly barge in and want to make changes to our plans. The truth is that that wouldn’t have been such a problem except for the fact that my spineless soon-to-be husband let her!”
Rule Number One When Dealing With In-laws In Marriage: Always, Always Keep A United Front
You can argue like cats and dogs when you are alone behind closed doors, but when someone else (yes, even a parent) tries to make decisions or change existing plans you tell them no!
It’s a real kick in the teeth when the person you love and who you think loves you will take his mother’s advice and make changes to your life – here her wedding plans – without even asking you for your opinion. And yes, Gina says:
“I know what you’re thinking, I probably should have called it off right then and there.”
And that leads us to point number two: the problems are usually pretty easy to spot if you aren’t actively trying to ignore them . If your spouse was unable to set proper boundaries with their parents before the two of you got married, what in the world made you think they would after you got married?
It’s wonderful that they have a close relationship with their parent(s), but there still has to be boundaries. It’s you and them now not them and their parents. That may sound harsh but that is the way it has to be. You and them are the couple, you are in this life together and in this marriage together and must make your decisions together.
It’s fine to get the opinion of a parent, it’s even advisable since their experience may be able to help you make better choices, but ultimately decisions have to be made by the two of you only.
When It Comes To Dealing With In-Laws In Marriage It’s All About Setting Boundaries
The longer the two of you have been together (and the longer your in-laws have gotten their own way) the harder it will be to establish those boundaries, but if you want your marriage to succeed you must do it. And you and your spouse must be able to find some common ground. A therapist may be able to help with that part.
From the Editors: Marriage is very different from dating, and even from a relationship. The elements of marriage are based on a CONTRACT that exists, that says you’re a team – for better or for worse. And problems that develop between you that might normally make you break up with a man can easily get “tolerated” or “excused” or “swept under the rug” for years and years.
Jeffrey Mark Levine’s ebook “The Good Husband Guide” will help you STOP this downward cycle – no matter HOW BAD things might be right now. Go here to get Jeffrey’s free newsletters and free “Good Husband Toolbox” report, and to check out “The Good Husband Guide” to improve – or even SAVE – your marriage->