Getting along with in-laws can be tricky business. The relationship may start off well, but you make one wrong move, and it can create a rift between you and your in-laws that will last a lifetime. Avoid this pitfall by following these 10 golden rules:
Never speak against your in-laws to your spouse. Always remember that your in-laws are the parents of your spouse. If your spouse gets upset with them, the spouse holds the right to bad mouth them; you don’t. Leave the bickering between the in-laws and your spouse. You’ll be glad you did.
Never criticize your spouse to your in-laws. If things aren’t exactly right at home, don’t tell your in-laws. This puts undue stress on them because they want their child to be happy. Knowing that you are less than content with their child will cause concern for them. As well, your giving information invites them to say whatever they like about the situation. It’s best to leave the in-laws out of your squabbles with your spouse.
Never place your spouse between you and your in-laws. If, for some reason, you have words with members of your in-law family, make sure that you handle this on your own. Asking your spouse to play the go between can cause friction between the two of you. A spouse never wants to referee (or choose) between family and partner.
Never try to get between your spouse and his/her family. If your spouse holds some issues with family, don’t try to fix things. Often, you will just create a bigger mess. It could come down to he said, she said conversations, and they could both end up blaming you.
Respect tradition. If the family dines together every Sunday, try to honor their tradition if distance allows. Tradition holds family together. Once a family lets go of one tradition, then the family sometimes forgets tradition, altogether. If you cannot honor a current tradition, create a new one. (For instance, if distance fails to allow the family to dine together every Sunday, try the first Sunday of every month.)
Respect belief systems. If your in-laws hold a different belief system that you, always honor theirs first. For instance, if they believe in saying grace before eating a meal, honor them by saying grace.
Act respectfully in your in-laws’ home. Help with such activities as cooking and cleaning up after the meals. Be conscious of your in-laws usual bedtime and retire at the same time. If you can’t sleep, read or engage in some other quiet activity in the bedroom in which you sleep. Don’t stay up late and disturb their sleep with a blaring television.
Provide your in-laws with privacy at your home. Try to make sure that your in-laws get a room with a door that they can shut, even if this means giving up your own room. It’s never polite to ask your in-laws to sleep in an open room on make-shift beds while you sleep comfortably in your own.
Don’t borrow money from your in-laws. Borrowing money from in-laws gives them permission to question you on your finances. Even more, it puts a burden on them if they feel they cannot say no. Seek another source for a loan.
Don’t expect favors from your in-laws. Don’t ask your in-laws to pick up your cleaning or other daily activities, unless it is absolutely necessary. Your in-laws are a gift to enjoy, not ones that you can treat as hired hands.