by Casey Caston
When you married your spouse, you married their parents . . . like it or not. And if you plan on going the distance in marriage, which we hope you will, they are in your lives forever too. We’ve heard reports of families with healthy relationships on both sides. But for the some of us, we are forced to find healthy boundaries with the in-laws. Here are some practical tips on how to better your relationship with your in-laws while keeping your marriage intact.
- There can be no divided loyalties. When you get married and start your own family, that’s where your primary loyalty needs to be.
- You only have a certain amount of physical and emotional energy. If your in-laws are draining you, there needs be a healthy conversation with your in laws that clearly defines boundaries. Let them know that you aren’t closing them out but simply focusing on your marriage.
- Never tell your in-laws too much about your personal life, including finances, sex, and work. It’s none of their business unless you make it their business.
- Don’t assume that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to their parents. Come up with specific boundaries you both want in place.
- Never borrow money from your in-laws . . . EVER!
- Be quick to defend your spouse’s honor. If their parents bad mouth them, don’t allow it. Simply say, “I understand your concern but we would rather want your support and not your criticism.” This also goes with your own parents bad mouthing your spouse.
- Try not to criticize your spouse for their relationship with their parents. It may only lead to more clinginess and complications and no one wants that.
- Never tell your spouse that they remind you of their parents. Example: “You sound just like your mother.” “You’re acting just like your dad.”
- You do not have to agree with your in-laws opinion, but you do need to respect them.
- If something they said or did bothered you, assess the situation and decide if its worth confronting or letting go. If it’s worth confronting, be sure that this is done over the phone or in person. Never text or email because these communication methods lack tone, and often can be misunderstood.
Reposted with permission. This article originally appeared here.
Casey and Meygan Caston are the founders of Marriage365, and the authors of Naked Dinners and Communication That Connects.
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