When you get married, your spouses' parents and siblings become your family. However, unlike your own parents and siblings, your in-laws don't have to love you unconditionally. They don't even have to like you. Some people are on good terms with their in-laws, and some struggle to improve the relationship with their spouse's relatives. Here are 5 ways to improve you relationship with your in-laws.
Set your boundaries and respect theirs. Any healthy relationship needs boundaries, and the earlier and clearer you set these boundaries with your in-laws, the better. If you don't want them to visit you unannounced, get involved in your arguments with your partner or question your parenting methods, just let them know that as politely as you can. Of course, you should respect their boundaries in return.
Focus on your relationship with your spouse. Sometimes you feel like you married your partner's entire family. However, you should remember that your relationship with your spouse is your priority. You in-laws have their immediate families and their own problems to take care of, and you find yourself alone with your spouse at the end of the day. Your relationship with your in-law is less important than your relationship with your spouse, so focus on your partner and your love for them.
Don't choose sides. When your partner and his or her parents have an argument, be neutral like Switzerland. Choosing sides will create even more tension within the family no matter who you side with. If you have an opinion on the matter, talk to your spouse when you're alone, but don't participate in their argument with their parents unless you want to be made a scapegoat.
Treat them with respect. You don't have to like your in-laws, but treating them with respect is a must even when it's not reciprocated. Be a better person. Even if you don't get along and they drive you nuts, be polite and control your temper. It will help your spouse understand that it's his parents' fault that your relationship is strained and not yours.
Spend time with them. Maybe you have a strained relationship because you don't know each other well and act based on assumptions. Try to spend time with them without your spouse around, so that you can concentrate on getting to know each other. You may find that they are not so bad and you have more in common when you thought, and they may change their opinion about you as well. Remember that your communication with your in-laws doesn't have to involve your spouse. You are allowed to talk to them and see them on you own.
- What to Call Your In-Laws, How to Handle Unsolicited Parenting Advice From Grandparents, 6 Things You Should Never Say to Your Mother-in-Law, How to Set Boundaries With Grandparents