For all the married couples out there that do not necessarily see eye to eye with their respective father or mother-in-law, this is a post that we have learned from our past and present experiences with our in-laws. To give a little background on a sometimes touchy subject for most couple, my wife’s parents came out to visit us for about two weeks. As previously stated, we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on everything so my wife and I started writing down a list of the things we learned to help keep our sanity while maintaining a strong marriage the next time we are graced with presence.
1. Remember you are a team
This is a preparation step for when you are planning the sequence of events upon your in-laws arrival and it might be the most important. The first thing to remember is that you are a team by having a conversation before they arrive and agreeing that you and your spouse are united and support each other no matter what. This is important because one of you knows the particular parents that are coming very well and can help prepare the other for any personality or philosophical differences.
The next steps are for when your in laws arrive:
2. Choose your battles wisely
There is usually ample opportunity to get disgruntled over lifestyle differences and honestly it is not worth your time to get mad over each and every one of them. (example: we avoided getting mad over where my wife’s mother kept putting the cleaning supplies as we could never find them. Oh yeah, and the dishes, and the utensils, and well, I can go on forever. We gracefully asked for her to put things back where she found them and avoided an altercation after a week of not being able to find anything in our own home.) This was a small situation that could have been explosive but we used our better judgment and waited for the opportune time.
If you’re on vacation with them, get your own hotel room. Even if you’re newly married and don’t have a lot of money, it’s worth the splurge. The reason being is for us, we have only been married about a year and half and I’m new to my wife’s parents’ mannerisms. I was raised in a very structured family that is always on time and communicates with each other as a problem arises. My wife was raised in a more “go with the flow”, late to everything type of environment to give you an idea of the two very different backgrounds we come from. As you can imagine, that go with the flow attitude can be slightly stressful to someone who enjoys plans. Trust us on this one, creating natural barriers such as separate rooms to give yourselves “us time” is an absolute must.
4. Steal away time with each other
Go for a walk, take a step out onto the patio, hold hands and watch the sunset (basically do anything that can put your mind at ease and get a little break from the in-laws). Communication is one of the best skills to develop in a marriage so that you don’t have to guess what your partner is thinking. Apart from developing a relationship with your new in-laws, you should still be communicating any victories or battles you are going through with your partner.
5. Don’t get negative
This seems to come so naturally these days and it is not healthy. If you are having a tough time adjusting to your in-laws, communicate that to your partner and try to refocus your thoughts in a positive way. Generally your in-laws are not trying to ruin your day. They are just being themselves and all you can do is be yourself so try and highlight the things you like about the situations so that you can make positive memories.
6. Remember they’re here for a reason
Give your in-laws some space to spend time with their daughter or son. As much as you and your spouse have become a unit, they are still the children of their parents. It’s important to provide opportunities for bonding and reconnecting.
7. Take a vacation to recover from vacation
Take a mini vacation after they leave so that you help yourself get back to normal. Having the in-laws in the house can be trying as your world gets tipped upside down. Having some dedicated time to spend with your partner helps you both decompress and remember how much you care for each other. After her parents left, we immediately booked a couples massage at our favorite spa.
These are a few things that we learned from our recent adventures and hope that it is helpful or at least entertaining to those approaching their first vacation with the in-laws or those that have already done this a few times.
If you have any good tips or stories about your in-laws, we would love for you to share them below.