Yesterday I had two whole 20 oz bottles of vanilla Coke after not having caffeine for a while. Needless to say, I was up all damn night. After attempting to wash the dishes, I was met by a little mickey who decided to harass me until I freaked out and killed him. The anxiety I felt from the mouse reminded me of all the things in my life that has been infuriating me lately. I thought, I can't be the only person who gets anxious thinking about family in-laws.
Dating is hard. You spend time to get to know a new person. You move in together and toy with the idea of getting married. You weave time for them into your life and then once you guys get everything copacetic, it's time to meet 12 new people, their family members. It's only natural that you may not get along with everyone in their family and they might not mesh well with everyone in yours. But, here are some tips to keep the peace in your relationship when it comes to being a blended family.
1. Do not wage war especially with mom or dad in-laws
While it may seem like a good idea to tell one of your in-laws about themselves, it will never go right. It will have your spouse angry with you and uncomfortable unnecessarily. The relationship your spouse has with their parents automatically becomes your relationship especially if they have accepted certain actions prior to your relationship. IE parents coming over unannounced or calling all hours of the night.
2. Listen to your spouse but keep opinions to yourself
A lot of times our spouses just want to air their grievances about their family members. Family is a sensitive topic and you shouldn't be creating more rift between your spouse and their family members. Avoid being judgmental at all costs and using certain language that could be misconstrued as negativity or shade. Only offer advice if it's something positive.
3. Avoid drinking in the presence of the family member you don't get along with
On this one, I definitely didn't take my own advice last time. Alcohol is usually unpredictable especially as a coping mechanism. At times, it gives us the freedom to say things that we most certainly shouldn't. If it's a family event that will have social drinking keep your consumption to a maximum of two, avoid celebratory shots and brace yourself to span those drinks over two or more hours.
4. Honoring their parents does not mean being a doormat
The older people get, the more manipulative, neurotic and controlling they get. Their requests are a bit outlandish and at times, they can be invasive and disrespectful without being aware.. Being respectful to them for your spouse doesn't mean being a yes man/woman.
5. A problem with the in laws usually reflects a problem in your own relationship
If you find yourself frustrated that a certain family member is out of control, more likely than not it's the perception that the family member has of what they can and cannot do. They are convinced that their attitude is acceptable and even encouraged. It is up to you as a couple to respectfully draw the line with both of your families and let them know what they are not allowed to do. Or, if your spouse is too dependent on their family/ parents e.g. a spouse who does their laundry by their parents house those are things that need to be discussed earlier than later in a peaceful manner.
6. Move to another state
This might sound a little crazy but saving your sanity and relationship is worth it. If you have family members/ in laws that constantly show up and violate your space, it may be time to move to another state. The science is that you want far enough that they can't just show up but close enough if they come they only have to spend one night.