Commonly in these situations, a mother- and father-in-law worry that they'll child is dating someone of a different race assured me that her problems with her Have your husband or wife tell your in-laws that they don't have to love you, but . Second, the parent partner needs to enlist their partners help in the marriage. and ask your partner for suggestions and advice on how to handle the issue. In a new series on how to build better relationships, conflict resolution expert David Waters explains how to stay on the right side of your other.
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This tip from the elders is one that many have used like a mantra in difficult in-law situations. You are used to putting up with your own relatives and you have accommodated to their quirks and foibles. But now you have to do it all over again. The closest thing to a "magic bullet" for motivating yourself to put the effort into in-law relations, the elders tell us, is to remember that you are doing it because you love your spouse. Most important, by staying on good terms with his or her relatives, you are honoring and promoting your relationship in one of the best ways possible.
Gwen, 94 and married 67 years, puts it clearly: You may not like your mother-in-law or your father-in-law or your in-laws very much but you certainly can love them and stay close to them. Remember that they're your loved one's family.
I learned to love them. I mean, I loved them because they were my husband's parents and I loved him. Eliminate politics from discussion. Here's a specific tip that could not be more relevant during this election season: Keep political arguments out of in-law relations.
It can be the biggest bomb in the minefield, and the elders say that these conflicts are unnecessary. There is simply no need to attempt to engage your in-laws in political debates or to convert them. Often, the urge is to make parents-in-law "really understand" what's going on in society and to show them how irrational or wrong-headed they are politically.
I heard many accounts of holiday dinners and family gatherings disrupted by debates over the President, the Congress, abortion, the death penalty, and on and on. According to the elders, you may not be able to avoid conflict over your in-laws' disapproval of your marriage, your job, your lifestyle, or how you raise your children.
But you can make it a rule to take noisy and unnecessary political debates off the table. Remember, we're not talking here about a lively, enjoyable political discussion; I mean the kind that ends with slamming doors and a spouse crying in the car. Let's return to Gwen for her advice. Gwen made in-law visits much more tolerable by following this lesson and cutting politics out of the interaction.
My husband didn't care for my dad because my dad was a completely different kind of person compared to my husband. My dad was the boss of everybody and everything. He was never aggressive; he never hit us kids or my mother. But he was a total boss. What my dad said was law and order and we all knew it. And my husband was a gentle, soft-spoken, easy-going person who would rather die than make a fuss.
He was a completely different personality. In particular, they didn't see eye to eye about the government. My dad was a Democrat, my husband was a Republican. They'd get into those arguments. So finally, I made the rule that there would be no discussions of politics when we were all together.
We have reassured them that we will not embarrass them in any way. It's so difficult — we like each other so very much, and get on so well — and at our ages 50s probably will not find another opportunity to be happy.
Are we so wrong? I just don't know any more, but I object to being blackmailed by my own daughter! Hooking up with her prospective father-in-law shifts the spotlight from their upcoming union to your new romantic liaison and brings with it added complications in the eventuality that it doesn't work out between you, or them.
If I was a gambler I'd say it actually doubles the odds of trouble. They are also no doubt excited about being the focus of their friends' and families' attention, and now here you are stealing their thunder. Instead of everyone cooing at the beauty of the bride they'll be peering over their shoulders to see if you two are holding hands or not. It would probably have been wiser and less confrontational to save publishing your very new relationship until after the wedding.
Then again you're in one of those damned if you do, further damned if you don't situations, as you'd no doubt have been accused of duplicity had you kept it under wraps. You don't need to be entirely selfless, but you should be sensitive to their feelings. Naturally you two consenting adults have every right to pursue this new relationship with enthusiasm, but it is unusual or weird, as they phrased it and should be handled with empathy for the two people who brought you together, who, while adults themselves now, are also your children.
Whether you and your soon to be in-law stay together for ever or split in a blast of antagonism, it will have an impact on both your children's lives. Initially it's only fair that your new-found happiness take a back seat to your children's wedding. You've been dating three months, and they're about to commit for life, so I suggest you make them your priority until they've tied the knot.
It doesn't mean splitting up but being sympathetic to sensitivities. The last thing they'll want is you two mooning at each other over the top table. I wonder if it's an indicator of ageing or the myopia of midlife, but barely a week passes without some aspect of my correspondents' dilemmas harking back to moments in my own life.
The 3 Best Rules For Managing In-Law Relationships
Then again you're in one of those damned if you do, further damned if you don't situations, as you'd no doubt have been accused of duplicity had you kept it under wraps. But you can make it a rule to take noisy and unnecessary political debates off the table. He was never aggressive; he never hit us kids or my mother.
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