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5 Common Problems With In-Laws and How to Deal With Them

Marriage is a wonderful thing. It is something that a lot of people look forward to and prepare for in life. And although it can be expected that no marriage is nor will ever be perfect, it is still one of the best things to happen to anyone.

Having someone as your constant companion through good times and bad; someone to raise a family and grow old with; someone who will keep you grounded but will also help you soar high in life. Marriage is bliss when done right.

However, certain challenges will pepper all unions. Financial struggles, personality clashes, careers, and in-laws. The truth is, most people would rather deal with fixing a heavy-duty buffer tank or troubleshoot the worst of car troubles than deal with in-laws.

While it has become a running joke for centuries now, in-law problems are as real as the person you’re married to. Just how do you deal with in-law concerns?

There are different ways of dealing with difficult in-laws and they’re mostly based on the type of situation you’re in.

Problem #1: They can be too controlling.

If you’re mostly dealing with a very controlling in-law who wants to always be in charge and have the final say even in your marriage, you need to get to the root of the problem before it takes a toll on your marriage.

Talk it over with your spouse and resolve to have a united front when it comes to who has the final say in your marriage. Either your spouse can talk to them or both of you can have a quiet and honest conversation with them to let them know about your concerns.

Problem #2: They can be unfriendly and even rude.

If you’re dealing with in-laws who are anything but warm and friendly to you, sometimes even hurtful, talk it over with your spouse and let him or her know how their behavior affects you.

Perhaps he or she can ask them to be friendlier and more accommodating to you or you can politely talk to them and ask them what the hostility is about.

Be sure to remain respectful throughout the conversation and seek to understand where they’re coming from. almost anything can be resolved by a respectful and honest conversation.

Problem #3: They still treat your spouse like a baby.

Unfortunately, some parents still see their grown-up children as babies and treat them accordingly. In this case, you can choose your battles.

If all the babying that is done is harmless — and to be honest, it’s sometimes cute to see your spouse embarrassed by the unnecessary attention — you can just let it slide.

However, if it gets to the point that they’re getting on your nerves, making accusations against you that you’re not taking good care of their baby, or if they don’t trust both of you with major life decisions, you have to draw the line and talk to them respectfully to allow both of you to grow into your roles as husband and wife, and eventually, as parents.

But let them know their care and concern are greatly appreciated and that you’re still welcome to their show of love. They just need to tone it down a bit.

Problem #4: They can be too critical and judgmental.

This type of in-law is one of the absolute worst. It seems like everything you do all fall short of their very high standards. They tend to nitpick on your appearance, your speech, your mannerisms, your decisions, your behavior, everything. Nothing you say or do is pleasing to them.

This has been one of the major causes of failed marriages, especially when the spouse whose parents are critical fails to stand up for his or her other half.

You don’t have to deal with this alone. It is during these times that making your spouse your ally is important. He or she can help deflect the situation and stand up for you when needed and explain that every decision in your marriage is made together so they can’t put the blame solely on you.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to have anyone’s approval when you’re building and working on your marriage. Still listen to their input and consider what they have to say and let them know that their concern and their knowledge are greatly appreciated.

Problem #5: They have very little to no respect for your privacy.

Finally, some parents just have no regard for their children’s privacy and unfortunately, that includes yours. They come into your house unannounced. They snoop around and check your mail. They feel free to walk in and out of any room in your house.

Being a tight-knit family is one thing, but some boundaries still need to be set and they need to recognize and respect those boundaries.

family gathering

Just like the other concerns listed above, talk to your spouse about it and see how you can diplomatically present your concern and case to your in-laws in the most respectful way possible. Perhaps they’re just too excited to make you feel like part of the family that they started treating you as if they raised you. To a certain extent, this is flattering and heartwarming but let them know that you and your spouse also need to start building your marriage and your home just as they did before.

Contrary to what most people say or believe, not all in-laws are monsters. A greater number of them are actually very supportive and loving to their child’s spouse and treat them as their own.

The trick really to getting along with in-laws is learning to love them unconditionally as you would your own spouse. Remember that when you marry somebody, you’re also marrying his or her family.

In any relationship, whether it’s your family, your friends, your colleagues, or your in-laws, no matter how smooth-sailing you think the relationship is going, conflicts are inevitable. Disagreements and arguments will ensue. For the relationship to flourish and grow, it will take a lot of patience, understanding, mercy, and grace.

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Happy Knits is a community of parents sharing their tips for better parenting. We include parents of all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds.
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