how to get along with in-laws

How to Get Along With In Laws During Holiday Season & Beyond!

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Who else wants to know how to get along with in-laws when they visit?

There are plenty of jokes about in-laws and, unfortunately, some of them are based on the truth.

The holidays are one of the most common times when you’ll need to try to be pleasant and cordial.

Fortunately, there is good news. The good news is that you can get through a holiday visit from the in-laws without feeling overwhelmed or overloaded with stress.

One of the best ways to figure out how to get along with in-laws is to look for common ground. Surely you have something you agree with them on.

You should also seek out some peace and quiet for yourself.how to get along with in laws

Even if you have to stay up a bit later or get up a few minutes earlier, set aside time to center yourself, focus on the good things in your life, and prepare yourself for what comes next.

Remember That The Holidays are Temporary

As you approach the holidays and while you’re in-laws are visiting, remember:

• The year is long and the holidays are short.
• Your partner loves these people and wants to see them.
• You can agree to disagree without being rude or antagonistic.
• Let things go. What does it matter what they think?
• You still have time to get away occasionally to experience peace and quiet.
• Judgment reflects badly on you, but acceptance paves the way to a smooth holiday.
• Your house will soon be yours again, and you will have at least one good memory.

How to Get Along with In-Laws? Find Ways to Keep the Peace

how to get along with in laws

Consider these strategies to keep the holidays in your heart and your in-laws’ visit from ruining them:

1. Change your point of view. Try to see your in-laws’ visit from the perspective of your partner. These are his parents. If your partner doesn’t see them all year, he may miss them lot. Let peace reign, no matter how you feel toward them. Your spouse will appreciate your consideration, and your holiday will be more memorable.

2. Suggest things your spouse can do with the parents. That gives them plenty of time to enjoy one another’s company and allows you to go off and do something you would prefer to do. That way, you limit your time with your in-laws without seeming rude. Be considerate and it will help you stay happy and peaceful throughout the holidays.

3. When you do spend time with your in-laws, really listen to what they have to say. You may learn something about them that makes you appreciate them more or that changes your perception of them. The holiday will be what you make of it, so take the time to make it a good one for everyone.

During the holidays, lives are hectic. Visits with in-laws are simply one part of the equation.

The time with them can contribute to the positive experiences of the holiday season if you approach it with a positive spirit and a sense of compassion for everyone involved.

You can get through the in-laws’ holiday visit with a smile and maybe even look forward to their next visit.

How do I get closer to my in-laws?

When you first get married, you may not realize the ongoing involvement you’ll have with your spouse’s family.

Since not every family dynamic is the same, it’s a good idea to observe and learn from your spouse’s interactions with his family members.

This way, you’ll understand how to promote relationships that are more positive with your in-laws.

Using these techniques can help you build strong relationships with your spouse’s family members:

Show an interest in your in-laws & Listen well.

how to get along with in lawsThis will help you to learn more about them and their relationship with your spouse.

An important part of any respectful, cordial relationship is to be a good listener.

If they’re telling a funny story about your spouse when he or she was a child, listen with great curiosity.

Listening well goes a long way toward demonstrating your interest in your in-laws.

Interact with your in-laws.

how to get along with in lawsTaking the time to have a chat with your in-laws demonstrates you want to have a relationship with them.

  • What do they like to do?
  • Do you and your in-laws share any hobbies, like gardening or reading?
  • Finding commonalities between you and your in-laws will galvanize your relationships and give you plenty of things to talk about that interest both of you.

How do you build relationships with in-laws?

Start by taking special care to use social manners & include your in-laws

Out of respect for your spouse, if your in-laws are present, practice those all-important social graces, like saying, “Please” and “Thank you.”

When making plans for holidays and special occasions with your spouse, take the lead in inviting your in-laws to share in the occasional celebration. When you do, your spouse might mention to your in-laws that it was your idea to invite them.

If your in-laws know that you’ve gone out of your way to include them, it will make a good impression.

Stay out of their arguments.

Avoid becoming entwined in any negative exchange your spouse might have with anyone in their family. As you probably realize, most families have the occasional tiff, episode of hurt feelings, or misunderstanding.

In the event there is ongoing stress in your spouse’s relationship with anyone in his family, support your spouse – yet refrain from making any negative statements about your in-laws.

Because your spouse will most likely be able to forgive and forget his own family members a lot quicker than you will (because they’re “family”), it’s best to not generate strong negative emotions about your in-laws.

If you can remain somewhat supportive of your spouse, yet neutral in the “situation,” you’re more likely to be able to continue to build and maintain your own relationships with his family.

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Getting Along with your in laws strengthens your Marriage

how to get along with in laws

Building relationships with your in-laws is integral to experiencing real sharing with your spouse. Healthy conflict can improve intimacy in your marriage.

A close relationship with your partner’s family will enable you to learn so much more about your spouse and his life. Plus, seeing his relationships in action will also help you to better understand your spouse and his beliefs, opinions, and motivators. Especially if he is in an enmeshed family and you feel as if you are a third wheel in your own relationship.

Practicing these suggestions will help you to build the most positive relationships possible with your spouse’s family members. You’ll discover some of life’s greatest joys by building wonderful relationships with your in-laws, especially with your mother-in-law.

Set Boundaries To Safeguard The Relationship With Your In-laws

Try this self-reflection!

I love my in-laws and set boundaries in order to keep our relationship healthy.

I am blessed to have a wonderful set of in-laws. We talk on the phone, have regular family dinners, and even go shopping together on occasion.

Though I am close to my in-laws, there are certain boundaries I like to keep between us.

For example, I ask my in-laws to call well in advance before coming over, rather than surprising me at my doorstep. I ask that they allow me to make my own decisions when it comes to parenting my children or my relationship with my spouse. Making these boundaries crystal clear helps avoid confrontations and aggravations.

I am entitled to my privacy and I protect myself from frustration when I voice my concerns and demand my space.

At times, I do notice that my in-laws try to slip their way into our lives more than I would like. When this happens, I generally advise them that I appreciate their advice and expertise. However, I am free to make my own decisions and choose what I think is best for the course of our lives.

I protect our relationship because it is very important to me. However, I gently, but firmly, communicate my feelings when they try to manipulate me into doing things their way.

Today, I assess my comfort zone. I implement boundaries in order to keep our relationship thriving rather than feeling invasive.”

Self-Reflection Questions to get along better with your in laws

  1. Do I allow my in-laws to manipulate me into saying “yes”?
  2. How can I lovingly encourage my spouse to respect the boundaries we set with our families?
  3. Am I comfortable with the relationship my spouse has with my in-laws?

How do you handle conflict with in-laws?

how to get along with in laws

Do you tell your in-laws that you love surprise visits? Do you apologize when someone steps on your foot? If so, you may be conflict avoidant.

While it’s natural to feel uncomfortable about clashing with others, your efforts to maintain harmony at any cost are probably backfiring.

When you suppress your feelings and sidestep difficult discussions, you usually wind up causing more conflicts in your life. You also undermine intimacy, increase anxiety, and prevent yourself from creating solutions to daily challenges.

To find the peace you’re seeking, you’ll need to move from being conflict avoidant to conflict resilient. Use these suggestions to change the way you deal with disagreements with your in-laws or with anyone else.

Dealing with Constructive Conflict

how to get along with in laws

Healthy conflict will help you to be happier and more successful. You’ll also find it easier to connect with others when you talk through disagreements rather than withdrawing or letting resentments build up.

Accept your feelings.

Maybe you panic because any signs of friction trigger strong fear and anxiety. The first step to taking control is embracing those feelings rather than resisting them.

Rehearse your response.

Think about what you want to say before a confrontation occurs. Role playing or writing your thoughts down may help.

Stick to the facts.

Conflict avoidant personalities often have strong emotions. However, when you’re talking things through it pays to be rational. Others may try to dismiss your feelings, but facts are more difficult to ignore.

Recognize common ground.

You can be agreeable while you disagree. Collaborating with others is more effective than trying to be right or casting blame.

Assert yourself.

At the same time, you need to advocate for yourself. Believe in your own worth and stand up for your interests.

Listen closely.

Show the same consideration for others. Once you state your position, give them a chance to air their side. Try to understand their concerns and let them know you care about their welfare too.

Propose solutions.

Be prepared to explain the specific outcome you’re seeking. You may not always get what you want, but you’re more likely to succeed if you know how to ask for it.

Consider therapy.

Conflict avoidance is often rooted in stressful childhood experiences that may be difficult to deal with on your own. Ask your doctor or trusted friends for a referral if you feel like talking with a counselor may help.

Avoiding Destructive Conflict

While it’s usually advantageous to face conflicts head-on, there are some situations where avoidance can be appropriate. Know when to make an exception.

Set priorities.

Starting out with small steps can help you make progress, but there are some issues trivial enough to overlook. It’s okay to forgive another shopper who brings one too many cans of cat food into the express lane.

Cool down.

Distinguish between avoiding conflict and taking a strategic pause. Give yourself and others a few minutes to calm down rather than say something you’ll regret.

Seek support.

Maybe someone other than yourself is more suited to resolving the conflict, such as another family member.  If it’s a conflict at work, perhaps the police or a coworker’s supervisor. There may also be occasions when you need a mediator or other third party to help reach an accord.

Prepare for consequences.

Sometimes the stakes are too high even if you have a valid argument. You may need to stay silent temporarily if your boss is likely to terminate you for objecting to forced overtime.

Conflicts are a natural and potentially beneficial part of any relationship. By building your confidence and strengthening your communication skills you can learn to express your true feelings, collaborate with others, and resolve disagreements with your in laws, with your neighbors and with your coworkers.

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9 Comments

  1. Good advice! I’m so happy that now that I’m an in-law, I have a great relationship with my daughter’s husband. I used my relationship with my in-laws as a learning experience to make me a better MIL to my SIL! At Thanksgiving, he said, “in-laws are a crap shoot, and I’m so grateful I won the jackpot! It was one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten! My husband and I were thrilled. We like our SIL a lot.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Aweeeeee…so sweet that your SIL realizes that he won the jackpot when it comes to having you as a MIL Sharon! How wonderful! So what’s your #1 tip for getting along with your inlaws ( or for being a great MIL) Shari?

      1. Treating them like their just as important as your own kids and making them feel welcome in the family. Include them in everything with the rest of you (unless it’s something like “the women are going to lunch”). We each have our own family culture, and it is so easy to feel left out of the new family otherwise.

        1. Darlene Berkel says:

          Great tips Shari. Making them feel appreciated is really important too. Noone likes to feel as if they are being taken for granted. That only leads to hurt feelings and tension.

  2. Muneerah Tanya Shiraz says:

    Thank you for putting a positive spin on it, not all in-laws are unbearable. Mine actually live with me and they are very nice people.

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Muneerah Tanya, that’s so true. That’s exactly the point I wanted to make…so often you see in-laws being portrayed as these meddling folks who cause problems in their adult children’s marriages. It does not always have to be that way! Thanks for sharing your positive experience with your in-laws. Nice! 🙂

  3. Alas, both my parent-in-laws are gone, but could’ve used this back in the day!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      Same here Laurie, my former in-laws are gone, but I wish I knew then what I know now! Thanks for sharing.

  4. This is definitely one of the most challenging aspects of the holidays for my family. This article is full of great advice! Let’s see how good I am at following your suggestions…

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