3 Rules for Having Healthy Relationships with Your In-Laws

By Bridgette Petrino | relationships

Sep 08

Relationships with In-Laws Can Be Tricky

I was very young when I met my husband and his family accepted me in almost instantaneously, so my in-laws have been a part of my life for a long time. Actually, for exactly half of my life.

Overall, I was received into the family quickly and easily. I know that they would do anything for me and vice versa. Of course, we’ve had our moments, but any family dynamic has its challenges from time to time.

It isn’t always this easy, however. After you are married, there is a whole new family for you to meet, get to know, and ultimately become a part of – whether you (or they) like it or not.

3 Rules for Healthy Relationships

  1. Put Your Marriage First

Once your wedding vows are said and done, just like that, you are starting a new family. It’s not that your original family is gone, but this new family that you are creating takes precedence. That’s an adjustment for everyone.

Many times we try to do both. We still want to be the daughter, but also the wife. That doesn’t really work in the same way that it used to work.

Be sure that no one is overstepping boundaries. Maybe you are fine with your mom being around all the time, or showing up unannounced, but your husband isn’t. You need to honor your husband first.

Maybe you are depending on a parent for all of your babysitting needs, and in turn allowing them to have more say in what you do and how you do it.

Remember. Independence is freedom. If there are strings attached, hire a babysitter.

  1. Start your own traditions

Now that you have your own family, start some of your own rituals. I’m not saying to completely blow off the rest of your family, but it’s a good idea to create your own culture in your new family.

Running around to all the different homes on every single holiday gets old fast. You will end up exhausted and resentful. Start creating memories of your own, and think about how you want your children to remember their holidays and vacations.

  1. If you are having trouble with someone, apologize first.

It takes two to tango. Usually, both parties are at least a little bit in the wrong. With all of the new dynamics to adjust to in a new family, feelings end up hurt sometimes. People feel left out or unappreciated.

Especially, when you are newly married you can feel like an outsider at family functions. Everyone has known each other for their whole lives and you are the newbie. You might feel as though you don’t fit in. It can be uncomfortable.

When I am angry with someone, I try to remember what Abraham Lincoln said: “I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.”

When we start to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we can have more compassion and understanding. Take down barriers by admitting your faults first. It’s better to resolve issues than to leave anger unsaid which creates tension and awkwardness at family functions.

Apply these Rules to All Relationships

These really could apply to any relationship, not just with our in-laws. And, of course, you always want to be involved in healthy relationships. 

Leave me a comment and tell me how is your relationship with your in-laws?

And, don’t forget to check out my chat with Nancy Hornback about our relationships with our in-laws.

PS – Have you taken the FREE 5-Day Brave & Bold challenge yet? Your life is waiting.

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About the Author

Bridgette is Founder and CEO of Mommy Needs a Timeout. She empowers moms to reconnect with their identities OUTSIDE of being a mom, without the guilt.

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