The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing With Your In-Laws.
WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE WITH IN-LAWS?
Parents can be a blessing to a married couple by offering love, wisdom, and encouragement. Even the Bible makes note of several supportive in-law relationships, namely Ruth and Naomi, Peter and his mother-in-law, and Jethro, Moses’s father in law who guided him.
In laws are blessings to a married couple and a family unit at large. They are necessary for a family unit to work together effectively. You acquire new parents through marriage, new brothers and sisters through marriage. You get into new relationships, new culture and a new way of life. With this in mind you need to be wise as you interact with your “new family” and also allow yourself to have a healthy respect for your in-laws.
One of the most important ingredients in your relationship with in laws is respect. And respect is not demanded but earned. Now that you have been ‘welcomed’ into a new family as a son and as a daughter, you should always count it as a privilege on your side. With this in mind, begin to approach and treat your relationship with them with utmost respect.
It is also important to note that your relationship with in laws will be tested. And many times, this testing comes in the area of finances. It is therefore important for you and your spouse to talk about this. Helping you in-laws financially is always encouraged, but it should be done in a wise way. If you used to support your family before getting married, you may continue this support, but this time you should be in agreement with your spouse. Wisdom dictates that you support each other’s family equally as much as is possible except in cases where it is obvious that one side would require more financial support than the other. Couples should let their immediate families know that their spouses are involved in every financial decisions that they make. For example, if the husband’s sister calls to ask for financial help, the husband should let the sister know that he needs to speak to his wife about it. When it comes to handing over or sending the money to the sister, he should let his wife do it and vice versa. This will go a long way in passing the message that you are united and that your spouse is very important in the marriage. This will ensure that the in laws from both sides respect the couple and their marriage.
This same principle should apply in every other area including family visits. Not for the sake of wanting to look tough but for the purpose of sending the message that you are one and that your spouse is an important part of your life and she or he deserves to be respected.
It is crucial to be united because it is in unity that you can better experience healthy in-law relationships. But unity doesn’t always mean harmony. There may be moments, as a couple, when you have to agree to disagree with your parents and in-laws.
Since now you and your spouse are both to leave your parents and hold fast to one another, it is clear that you have a new priority: your marriage. Make it a culture that when you are with your parents, or with your spouse’s parents or on your own, you always take care of each other first.
Finally, as much as you love your family, you must make a deliberate decision, to put your marriage relationship above your relationship with that of your parents and siblings.
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