I'm sure by now you've heard the saying, "When you get married, you marry the family too." While many of us probably don't want to think about this, there is without a doubt some truth to this statement.
Marrying into a new family is uncharted territory and, in reality, comes with a lot. Of course, we always want to make a good impression and be held to the highest standards. However, you should know that how you choose to deal with your in-laws can affect you, your new bonus family, and your husband in either a positive or negative light. With new families comes new opinions, new personalities, and new conflicts.
While there usually is always a honeymoon stage, it can end sooner than you think. When behavior, values, or certain practices are set and presented early on, it is easier to set boundaries and to gain a healthy balance with your in-laws.
Being a newlywed myself, I have learned a lot in a short period of time. I overextended myself way too much early on and it ended up sending the wrong message. It was almost like I couldn't say "no." If something bothered me I never mentioned it, I kept it to myself. I never wanted confrontation. Little did I know that I was digging a hole for myself.
The situations I have endured have forced me to make decisions for myself that I would have never made in the past. As a result, I have my sanity back and am no longer afraid to do what I need to do for myself and my marriage. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are the lessons I discovered along the way that helped me deal with my in-laws and my marriage.
Set The Tone Of Respect Early
Make sure both sides of the family respect your relationship, whether they agree with it or not. It should be known by your families that you always have your wife's back or your husband's back. How you treat your partner is how your family will treat them. How you treat your family in front of your spouse and speak to them is how your spouse will think of them and treat them as well.
No Matter What, You Are Not Their Blood
I know it may feel so real, and so authentic but be careful. As much as it may feel like you are their biological daughter, you aren't. Don't let your hair down and put your feet up. Understand that this is your bonus family. Sometimes they may include you, sometimes they won't. Sometimes they may call you, sometimes they won't. Sometimes they may encourage you to include your own family, sometimes they won't. Never take it personally and always be on your best behavior, be aware and say less.
We are all humans, which means we are not perfect. We all get angry and say things we should not say to each other in our relationships. However, when it comes to your partner's families, make it a rule to never call family members out of their name, or to be demeaning. You can always say "sorry," but words hurt, and you don't want your partner to have resentment towards you because of the things you say out of anger.
The More You Do Doesn't Mean They Will Like You More
Sis, don't get caught doing too much! I know it will feel like the more you do, the more you're getting in good with your in-laws, but it ain't true. In fact, they may think that you're not the brightest thing for always over-extending yourself. It will definitely be something they use to their advantage as well. If you are a person who does not utilize the word "no," you can quickly get abused and be thinking, "You're doing the right thing." You don't have to do a lot if you know who you are and are secure in your marriage.
Mind Your Business At All Times
If your husband and his family are having a personal issue, put the blinders on! I made the mistake of trying to mend some relationships and issues that had nothing to do with me. While I thought I was doing the right thing, I always ended up being the bad guy and got my feelings hurt in the end. No matter the intention, you don't want any of your in-laws to take you wanting to help the wrong way. You also never want to get caught up in the good old classic, "He said, She said."
Mind your business, eat your vegetables, and drink water.
Keep Your Business Under Your Roof
Be mindful of inviting family members into your personal business. When you share any arguments or disagreements that you and your spouse have with family, you are now inviting them in and giving them a say so. You are also giving them the platform to judge your partner and to only see things from your perspective. As you know, most families will always be ready to go to bat for you and be on your side, whether you're right or wrong. So when you and your spouse get over your little argument, you'll be getting the side eye from all your aunts when everything is all good again.
Share The GOOD Things
This ties into my last tip, but don't be the wife who is always talking about her husband like a dirty dog. We all have our besties and closest family members saved in our favorites, and are ready to call in a hot second to give them all the tea. Be careful, this can be dangerous. I never want any woman to hide something serious from their man, or to keep secrets from their loved ones, but approach with caution.
For every fight that you share and act out with family members, you better share some of the good times too. When you only share negativity with family members and friends, you are making it easy for them to not like your spouse. They will only build off of what you share with them. So, before you talk about a petty argument, maybe share how he brought you flowers or the new restaurant he took you to for date night.
Don't Have Expectations
It is so important to not have expectations. The worst thing you can do is set multiple expectations of someone and them not even know it. This will be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you are someone who always puts expectations on people, at least be willing to shift them, communicate what they are directly, and be open to change. When joining families, what is a value to you may not be a value to your inherited family. I remember feeling salty on many occasions because I "expected" them to step in or do something for me. If you need someone to be there for you or you're expecting someone to be there for you, you better call on your own family or phone a friend. Your spouse will always be their main concern, not you.
Go To Couples Counseling
Many people are embarrassed to admit that they might need counseling. I'm here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with it. Going to couples counseling will help you establish rules and boundaries when it comes to your marriage and family, especially if boundary-setting is something you are not used to doing. You can also realize a lot about yourself. A lot of the time we bring family drama, beliefs, and closed-mindedness into our marriage. Counseling helps with being open. Counseling can only help you go up if you're willing to be vulnerable and do the work.
Have you ever had to deal with difficult in-laws? What important lessons did you learn? Share with us below.