The appreciation of in-laws is the beginning of wisdom for any long term relationship. In-laws can make the difference between the life and death of your marriage or relationship. In-law politics is one of the mandatory courses that I teach couples when I conduct premarital counselling for young couples. The reason is that it doesn’t matter how much you love your partner if in-laws are not well managed, the chances of that love working out are definitely slim. In-laws can make the difference between relationship heaven or hell. Just as the immediate environment of a plant determines it’s longevity, the atmosphere created by in-laws can impact your relationship heavily. Here are some keys…
NEVER DISCUSS THE SHORTCOMINGS OF YOUR PARTNER WITH YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY
The family you came from will always side you in matters of controversy because you grew up with them. However, siding with you will mean that they will most likely be against your partner. Such a bias can further strain both the relationship you have with your spouse, as well as the relationship your spouse has with your extended family. Besides this, every negative thing about your lover that you share with your extended family diminishes your lover’s credibility in their eyes and it will always be used as a weapon against them. This is why it is best you seek advice from a neutral party who has no stake in your relationship.
BE CORDIAL WITH YOUR IN-LAWS BUT NOT OVER FAMILIAR WITH THEM
It is an age-long principle that familiarity breeds contempt. Many have damaged their homes by granting excessive access to in-laws who have ulterior motives. I am not saying you should regard your in-laws as enemies, no! You should love and appreciate them but don’t become too familiar with them. You can only pick on someone you are overly familiar with. Unfortunately, I have seen scenarios where married couples live with their parents. I guarantee you nothing good can come out of it, except conflicts. Value gap must be left for virtue flow.
NEVER CONFRONT YOUR IN-LAWS DIRECTLY BUT LET YOUR LOVER DO SO
Nothing destroys the stability of a home like a tendency to cross address one’s in-laws. Early in my marriage my wife and I decided that if we had difficult issues to address, I would handle my family and she would handle hers. That secret has served us well over the years. What this does is that it strips the in-laws of the privilege of pointing accusing fingers at your spouse, since it was their son or daughter who dealt with the issue. To violate this strategy will be to court trouble for your relationship.
GIVE UNTO CAESAR WHAT IS CAESAR’S AND GIVE UNTO YOUR IN-LAWS WHAT BELONGS TO THEM
Handling one’s in-laws may be tough, but it becomes tougher when you aren’t playing your statutory roles. There are certain things you owe your in-laws mandatorily. Things like honour, respect, appreciation, and gifts just to mention but a few. It is not that doing these things guarantee acceptance with in-laws, but not doing them will complicate your relationship. Play your part, as much as is possible but don’t assume that you can dishonour them and get away with it.
DISTINGUISH BETWEEN YOUR PRIMARY AND YOUR SECONDARY INTERESTS
Once you are married in particular, your primary allegiance should be to your spouse and not your extended family. This point should be made as clear as possible from the inception of your relationship. The reality is that you must act first in the best interest of your spouse before considering the interest of your extended family. If you put the secondary interests of your extended family, over the interest of your spouse, you will end up destroying your relationship. Though you must appear to your extended family as if their interests are primary, in reality, your priority should be your own relationship and not theirs.
My time is up. Let me plainly state that managing the relationship with your in-laws well is one of the greatest keys to the success of a long term relationship. The highlighted tools will enable you to succeed at it.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE