Happily Ever After?
They say that when you marry someone, you marry into his family too. This was very much true in the olden days when women were considered little more than chattels and child-bearers in many cultures. Of all the complicated relationships out there, the mother-daughter-in-law one is quite possibly the most feared – and least understood. Problems between a daughter-in-law and her husband’s parents have always existed, and still exist today.
What causes much of the strife in this world? Jealousy, insecurity, and pride, to begin with. In an in-law fight, the chimera of these three ugly monsters often rears its heads simultaneously. This can create tension between a woman and her in-laws way before the wedding bells ring. The most common reasons for friction between in-laws seem petty but to a newlywed, they can make the entire universe tip out of kilter.
Ingredients for your own Happily Ever After
Some say they want to understand and tolerate; their actions show that they want their daughter/sister-in-law to do the compromising. Here are some basic points to keep in mind when dealing with the in-laws:
• See them as individuals. Do you have common interests? Perhaps you can begin to view them as potential friends, rather than your husband’s undesirable relations.
• Respect them. This goes beyond merely being civil to them but taking the time and effort to observe their household rules (if living with them), or traditions important to them, like Sunday dinner.
• Always be nice. Remembering your mother-in-law’s birthday or celebrating Father’s Day with your father-in-law are sweet gestures.
• Don’t point the finger. If there are any points of contention, try to be objective and think about what you could have done to make the situation easier. If you were at fault, be frank enough to apologize simply.
• Try to be loving in speech and ways. Address them the way your husband does; imbue affection into your tone whenever you speak. You don’t have to fawn or pander, but you can make interaction more pleasant.
Keep the roles and boundaries clear right from the very beginning. It may be awkward, but better an awkward moment now than hold your peace (grudgingly) forever.