When people mention in-laws, it is not uncommon to see them shudder or cower in fear. Nothing seems to invoke rage in a marriage like a meddling mother-in-law or a know-it-all father-in-law. Go online or talk to friends and you will quickly see that hating your in-laws is a common theme.
You may not get along with other people in your life, such as co-workers and neighbors. However, you can always avoid them. This is not the case with in-laws, who are your spouse’s family members. You pretty much married them when you married your spouse. Plus, it is possible that your spouse may truly love their family and enjoy being around them, making the situation even worse for you.
Given that you will have to see your in-laws during the holidays and at other events during the year, you will need to find a way to make peace. Otherwise, your animosity toward your spouse’s mother and father will only cause damage to your marriage. In some cases, it can even lead to divorce.
If you truly want to stay married, then it is in your best interest to keep the peace and learn how to deal with your in-laws. Here are some tips to help.
Do Not Ignore the Problem
When it comes to dealing with in-laws, it may seem easier to just ignore the problem. However, this does nothing to resolve the issue. It just delays things until the problems get even bigger. It may be uncomfortable to confront them with the issue, but it needs to be done. Start by having some empathy. Try to see things from their perspective. This will help everyone feel more understood and make it more likely that change will occur.
When you take a stand, your spouse needs to have your back. If your spouse takes their parents’ side and does not support you, then it can mean trouble for your marriage. Men especially have a hard time handling these types of situations. They are afraid of betraying their parents but what they fail to understand is that in a marriage, the spouse needs to be the more important person. There needs to be a united front. If your spouse is supporting his or her parents, then it does not bode well for your marriage.
Do Not Budge
You need to set boundaries early and stick to them. Do not budge even a little bit—the saying “give an inch, take a mile” is very true in this case. When in-laws are given too much latitude, they will take advantage of it. You do not want to spend every Sunday with them? Reduce it to once a month. Avoid the urge to give in.
Address the Situation Appropriately
When your in-laws say something offensive or inappropriate, your first response may be to yell or insult them back. All this does is escalate the situation. It does nothing to resolve the problem. Instead, give yourself some space. Walk away. Give yourself some time to think about the situation and give an appropriate response.
Stick Up for Yourself
While you should address issues appropriately, that does not mean you need to be a doormat. Do not be afraid to stick up for yourself. If your mother-in-law is criticizing you, make it known. You may need to “train” your in-laws to know that you will not accept their criticism or unwelcome advice. If they still do not get the hint after repeated attempts to alter their behavior, then you may need to adjust your tone and be even more firm with your stance.
Remember That You are an Adult
Sure, your in-laws may be old enough to be your parents, but that does not mean you need to let them treat you like a child. You are an adult. You do not have to do what others tell you to do. If you do not do what your in-laws want you to do, it may be upsetting to them, but that is your right. You need to do what is right for you and your family.
If your in-laws are a huge source of your marital problems, then stay away from them. Limit how much time you spend with them. If you must visit them, ensure your spouse is present in case issues crop up. You should also meet on neutral territory, like a restaurant, instead of inviting them over or having to be a guest in their home. This will help limit control issues.
Keep Your Distance
If all else fails, you may just need to move away from your in-laws. This may seem drastic, but many couples have moved hundreds or even thousands of miles away from meddling in-laws. It is even proven that marital satisfaction increases the further a couple is from in-laws. So if your spouse’s parents are causing you to consider divorce, a little distance might change things.
Seek Legal Help
Managing in-laws can be a full-time job, especially if they live nearby and have no boundaries. When their presence becomes more than a simple annoyance, it can negatively impact your marriage.
Having trouble with your in-laws and your spouse does not want to help? This situation can make it hard for you and your spouse to have a united front, ruining your marriage. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler has more than 30 years of experience handling divorce issues. Let us guide you through the process with ease. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (954) 346-6464.