“You’re not just marrying your spouse, you’re marrying the family, too.”
There’s a reason this phrase is so common… it’s true. Navigating in-law relationships can be as much work as your relationship with your fiancé. You’re entering into a new family, learning new family dynamics, and participating in new family dynamics.
With so much on the line, how do you get it right?
Here are the 5 laws of in-laws:
Your first priority is your spouse. It’s important to set boundaries with your in-laws around personal space, spending time together, communication, advice, and more. Boundaries create healthy relationships. Without them, you’re allowing your in-laws to take priority over your spouse and your marriage.
Joining a new family means you have to be flexible around traditions, plans, and family dynamics. Make a point to go with the flow when possible. Being flexible does not mean you have to be walked on. Go with the flow when you can, but refer to law #1 (set boundaries) as well.
You’ll be spending forever in this new family, and you’ve missed a lot of time getting to know your in-laws. Work hard to pursue and get to know your new family.
This doesn’t mean your in-laws will be your BFFs, but it does mean you’ll be closer and understand your in-laws better.
Just like marriage requires daily selflessness, so does a relationship in-laws. Serve and care for your in-laws in a selfless and humble way.
On a practical level, this means stepping in to help with dinner, filling up the gas tank if you borrow their car, or giving thoughtful gifts.
You and your spouse are one. Avoid going to your family with marital problems. Protect and honor your spouse by putting them above your family.
This goes for all parties... Don’t let your family or in-laws talk disrespectfully about your spouse.