Relating with in-la...
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Relating with in-laws

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Getting along with in-laws can be quite a difficult task. Follow these tips to improve on your relationship with your spouse’s family

Respect cultural differences

According to, in many cases, disagreements with your in-laws are rooted in cultural or familial differences that can be rectified with a little tolerance and understanding. It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the culture and background of your in-laws. What’s their cultural history and how much do you know about it? Stay humble and be willing to learn about local and regional cultural differences previously unknown to you. You should also encourage your in-laws to share their stories and experiences so that you can understand them better. Be patient with them, and remember that maintaining a warm, welcoming attitude is important.

Present a united front with your spouse

From deciding how and where to spend the holidays, to broaching uncomfortable topics with your in-laws, it’s vitally important that you and your partner see eye to eye. For the really tough issues, make sure you bring your significant other into the conversation to present a united front. Bring them up to speed with the issue and agree on the strategy for the conversation. That way, your in-laws know it’s serious. What’s more, your partner can help broker the situation with their parents, assuming you present your concerns rationally and empathetically.

Reason with facts, not emotions

Shelving your emotions in the heat of the moment is not an easy feat. But framing your transgressions with concrete facts, instead of attacks draped in frustration, is perhaps your greatest weapon. If time allows for it, write down your talking points in advance. Include what the behaviour you don’t like is, when it happened, and how it makes you feel; be factual. Begin with something good about the relationship, transition by calmly explaining what’s bothering you without using emotional adjectives, and finish with a unifier such as I cherish this relationship too much to have this issue not get resolved. How can we resolve it together?

Forget the need to always be right

To be frank, what’s ethically right bears little importance when settling an argument with your in-laws; your self-control will win out in the end. Settling disagreements takes the courage of not needing to win. Realise that as adults, who come to a relationship with different life experiences, you will have different perspectives. The easiest way to survive with your sanity intact is to discover the humour with in-law situations. Using this approach provides the safe distance needed to avoid taking these things too personally. If all humour is tragically lost, smoothly ensure transition to talk of popular books, the night’s dinner, or even the weather. Reach for these tactics when politics or religion inevitably surface.

Be respectful

Yes, it should go without saying but respecting a family’s customs — and history — goes far beyond using your best manners. If they believe in a more traditional family structure and you are a staunch feminist, don’t try to defend or sell your position.

Don’t fight your spouse’s battles

Your spouse may have confessed some not-so-perfect details about his or her childhood. It’s natural to feel protective, but it’s not your battle to fight. Don’t try to repair their relationship. Sometimes, your place is sitting quietly while your partner and his folks hash out history. At home, you may be his everything, but if you take on what isn’t yours to take on, you are going to be creating problems and robbing him of the opportunity to take care of his own.

Be yourself

You want to impress your in-laws, but don’t go overboard. You won’t fit in perfectly and immediately. It takes time. Find ways to interact that are natural for you, such as helping out in the kitchen if you love to cook, and they will begin to learn who you really are.

Never talk about sensitive topics

Try to avoid topics or conversation that may create controversy such as politics or religion. It is better to talk about simple things from day to day. Leave the trickiest subjects for when you are more confident and get to know each other better. Putting yourself in the centre of the conversation will make you have a lot to talk about, although it is also okay to discuss other issues such as work, cinema, sports, among others.

Take care of your manners

To create a positive impact, it is important that your actions and words are positive. Do not make inappropriate jokes and try to have a correct and formal language. It is to make them see that you are a good girl/guy for their child. Apart from verbal manners, table manners are also very important. Speak and behave properly and this will help you leave a good impression on your in-laws.

Your body language is also very important. Do not drop on your couch as you would if you were at home; you have to be very careful and correct with postures and gestures. This way, your in-laws will see that you are an educated man/woman and you are the perfect match for their child.