How to protect your marriage from conflicts with in-laws

It would be nice if the only relationship we had to worry about was the one between us and our partners. Unfortunately, there’s a whole list of other relationships that we have to deal with as well — from your in-laws after marriage to your boss to your next-door neighbor. For most people, the relationship with in-laws can be one of the most fraught.

You knew it would happen eventually: The day you got married, you also got a whole new family and all of the potential conflict that comes along with it. After all, in-laws are notorious for their ability to ruffle feathers and insert themselves into the daily lives of their children’s spouses. But what happens when those issues go beyond the occasional meddling and start to affect your marriage?

The truth is that tensions between family members can happen on both sides of the aisle. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly when and why things got off track. Regardless of which side of your family might be causing problems in your marriage, there are several ways to keep these situations from becoming a major problem in your relationship.

Be clear on priorities

Make sure you and your husband are both clear about what comes first in your lives. That is a good idea for every couple to do, but especially if you’re having problems with the in-laws. You need to make sure that you and your husband know that each other is the most vital relationship in your life–not his parents or yours. If this is already clear, then great! If not, take some quiet time together and talk about it.

Communicate your expectations

You both know what’s expected of you when it comes to getting along with the fam, but what are those expectations? Do you hope they will let you live your life without judgement or criticism? Do they expect to see the baby once a week? Do they wish you lived closer so they could babysit more often? If these issues aren’t brought up before they become problems, then suddenly being angry at them isn’t very fair.

Be straight about what’s stressing you out

The best first step when dealing with in-law issues is, to be honest with each other about what you’re feeling. If something is bothering one of you, it has the potential to negatively affect both of you. It will likely resurface until it gets resolved. Talk over how to address any issues as they arise and consider joining forces to resolve them as a couple.

Don’t keep secrets from your spouse after marriage

It might be tempting to turn to your in-laws for advice or support when you’re feeling disconnected from your spouse. But if you let this behaviour continue unchecked, there is a good chance it will blow up in your face later on. That can lead to embarrassment, shame and resentment toward both the in-law and your spouse.

Don’t expect perfection — or even improvement

Accept that you will never be perfect enough for some of your in-laws. Or that they will ever change into people who accept you for who you are. Permit yourself to let go of any unrealistic expectations about how things should be between them and you. However, if your husband goes over to their side and your marriage breaks down, it’s best to hire family lawyers from Sydney, because they can help you fight for your rights.

Be open about the issues

It’s not just about respecting your in-laws; it’s about being open about any tensions or issues that might come up in the future. It includes talking about whether you want to spend a lot of time with them, whether they will visit you often or even live near you, and how you want to raise your family in relation to them.

Be respectful of your partner’s family

If you want your partner to respect your family and their opinions, you need to do the same for them. Being disrespectful toward your in-laws is a sure way to create tension and stress between you and your spouse. If you feel like your partner’s family is wrong about something, don’t make them feel stupid or belittle them; instead, gently explain why you disagree. If they still don’t understand, drop it until another time.

Treat each other as a team

When you have family conflicts, you may be tempted to keep your spouse out of it — either by taking the high road or by taking matters into your own hands. But neither approach is ideal. If you decide to take the high road and avoid conflict altogether, you deny yourself an opportunity for problem resolution. You also limit your ability to seek support from your spouse. And if you decide to handle things on your own, well, that just puts unnecessary strain on your relationship — especially if a situation escalates without any input from your partner. The best plan? Make a decision together and stick to one opinion. Think about what is best for your family and future.

You can always give your best and try to be kind in every situation. Do what is up to you, but know that you will solve the problem only if you all work together on it.