In-laws to most but Outlaws to a few! In-laws come with the marriage, whether you like them or not. It’s like living in Texas, you do not have a choice about the sales tax, you just pay it.
When you marry, you do not only marry that person you get the entire family. You just cannot ignore that these people exist; you are going to have to form a relationship with them. If only because it makes your partner happy knowing how important they are to him.
Deal with it, your partner did not fall from the sky, someone gave birth to him, loved him, nurtured him and he will not be the person that he is today without those people in his life. Just like you have parents who loved and cared for you, same goes for him too.
This is a very important topic for everyone to seriously discuss, especially for these two groups.
A – Divorcee.
B – Single parent.
These two groups of people I would suggest to really discuss these issues fully, because they may have had a brush with the outlaws’ in-laws in their previous relationship, especially If their previous experiences were negative. They want to be very careful not to bring that bad experience over to a new relationship.
I am enjoying and loving my in-laws, they are not in-laws anymore they are my family. You may not know this, but I’ve been divorced, and I must say, I had a really nasty not so good experience in my formal life, but thank God that’s all in the past. Honestly, I never thought it was possible to have good in-laws but am here to tell you it is possible, even after a divorce. God is truly a God of restoration and He makes all things new and wonderful.
For the single mom coming into a new family, exercise much patience and don’t be on the defensive. Give your new family time to bond with you and your child/ren. Your spouse’ support is what is critical and you have that already or you won’t be at this stage. As much as you may want everyone to get along, your primary focus is your initial family. Ensure that the bond with your spouse and child/ren are good because ultimately you all have to live together.
We’ve all heard the Mother in-law jokes, it’s not just a joke to some, it’s some people’s reality. We cannot discount people’s feelings, it has to be addressed.
Everybody Loves Raymond is an American sitcom. The mother-in-law, Marie Janella Barone, is the real star of the show, played by the lovely Doris Roberts. My husband and I love watching it, even the reruns never get old. As funny as it is, I can’t help feeling sorry for Debra (Patricia Heaton) Ray’s wife. The mother-in-law is lovable but also very manipulating. I usually tell my husband after watching an episode that there is no way I can live next door to Doris, I’d rather leave an entire State for her.
Why discuss in-laws before marriage?
In-laws can either help or break your marriage. It is best to be on their good side. Yes, you can’t please some people no matter what you do, but you can choose to walk in love and forgiveness with them regardless of the way they treat you. There is a saying that goes “keeps your friends close and your enemy closer” is true, treat your in-laws with kid gloves and be respectful.
God is the author of marriage and He should be the foundation. When you make God the foundation of your marriage nobody can destroy it, they may try but they will not succeed. That is why it is very important to get the foundation right, don’t try to build on a shaky foundation. We are to count the cost before building (Luke 14:28)
Know who you are marrying.
What do I mean by this? It is very critical that you understand the relationship your husband-to-be has with his family. Their closeness might have been an attractive quality to you while dating but being married is a different matter. Depending on who you are marrying there comes certain responsibilities and duties and you need to be aware of that.
Is he the first or only child?
Traditionally, the first child of the family has a role to play, whether they agreed to it or not. They are born with the role of a leader, the go-to-person in the time of problems. In the absence of the parent, they become the head of the family.
The first or only child – The Parents have heavily invested in the first and only child, a lot of sweat equity has gone into the child. Especially if it’s a male child, they are often burdened by exceedingly high parental expectations. Their failures and successes become their parents’ too.
The parents (especially the mother) feels strongly connected to them and won’t let anybody knock them out of his life. You ain’t going to get mama out-of-the-way just like that, she has been No.1 and intends to remain the reigning queen whether you like it or not. You have to work with your husband in wisdom for the reversal of roles over time.
Ok as a mom myself, I get it! Although I don’t plan to be the MILH (Mother-In-Law from Hell). We tried for a while before conceiving our first child. Oh boy! I have never prayed as much as I did when we were trying to get pregnant. She was delivered by C-Section and nothing has been the same ever since we brought her home. She is perfect and we adore her. I would hate for her to get married to some hotshot who thinks we are not important anymore. Just the thought of that makes me break out in tongues (speaking in tongues).
So I know how tough it is for moms especially – I have been on both sides and I know that will make me embrace my future sons and daughters in-law. Furthermore, having good In-laws have taught me a better way and I see the benefits of a wonderful family.
I am older and just a little bit wiser, that not-so good experience I had in the past taught me a lot. I don’t recommend that you need to experience divorce to learn these lessons. I honestly believe that sometimes as a new bride, you can be clueless about how to deal with the in-laws and you can mess a good thing up with a lack of wisdom. The incoming daughter should also give the new family a chance, some relationships will not blossom overnight. Marriage is not a race but a marathon, don’t rush in expecting to be best friends, give it some time. It will take some time for roles to change, be patient and you will enjoy your new family in time to come.
Respect your In-Laws
This is sometimes harder to do when there is fracas already. Respecting them will help you in the long-run. You love their son, therefore respect them. Respect their home when you visit them, mind your language when you are around them. Respect their boundaries even if you don’t understand it, understand that there is a generation gap and it seems so 1920’s. Respect that they raised your husband-to-be, so they have done something right. Dress appropriately when you visit them, keep your negative feedback to yourself, they are not your parents who you might feel you are free to talk to however you like to.
Oh boy! Conflicts with the in-laws are not a good step forward but it can be resolved eventually. The best thing to do from now is to maintain a dignified silence, you have probably said too much already. One of the worst things you can do is to vent your feelings and tell your In-laws how you really feel about them. The Bible says a wise man ponders his thoughts. Silence is truly golden sometimes.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue; Proverbs 17:28
Save your energy and please don’t try and prove a point to your in-laws, invest your time in working things out with your husband to make peace.
If you find yourself having to defend yourself against them: then maybe your spouse has dropped the ball. It’s not your job to fight and defend yourself, that is for him to do and vice visa. He knows his family better, he knows the best way to approach them than you and they will always forgive him.
Sometimes the young and inexperienced wife does not help by the way she handles matters. Coming into marriage with an unrealistic expectation, thinking that after all he loves her and he should straighten his mom and family up. That just won’t cut it, remember he knows them the longest and is fiercely loyal to them. He sees them through the eyes of love, they know his weaknesses and strengths and they have been there a long time before you showed up “looking fine”. It will take time for him to see them any other way, and nagging him will not get him there faster if at all.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the
foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1
Prayer – There is power in prayer, instead of venting all your feelings to the In-Laws, vent your feelings to God. Learn to fight your battles on your knees in prayer. Let God fight your battles and you keep your peace and be still.
James 5:16: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Take your issues to God and see how He will turn them around. Remember to still continue to keep a dignified silence, walk in love and forgiveness.
We must continue to keep in front of us the ultimate goal which is two becoming one. This process will take time and we must never forget that we are on the same side.
It is better to discuss these issues and be honest about your families before you say ‘I Do’
Christmas Holiday – Is it a tradition to spend festive time with the in-laws?
Find out what he has already told his family about you.
Find out what their personalities are like, that way you identify them and that will save you from getting mad over nothing.
When visiting in-laws, where do you stay? Hotel or in-law’s home?
(This is Part 3 of 5 series of Before “I Do”)