Marriage is such a beautiful partnership. When two people fall in love and decide to be life partners, they hold the power to be an unstoppable union. However, it’s important to note that it’s not always the easiest transition. In fact, marriage takes a lot of work, effort, and sacrifice. One of the ways people sacrifice is through their commitment to bond with their in-laws. If you’ve had negative experiences with your father-in-law, consider the following ways you can improve the situation.
Improve Communication Skills
Within a marriage, communication is the key. At the core of every issue, communication is the most important facet. It’s not even just what you say. It’s also about how you say it. When you’re talking to your father-in-law, do so with respect. Even if you feel he hasn’t earned respect, give it regardless. After all, he is the father of your spouse.
Offer Genuine Gifts
It’s nice to figure out what your father-in-law’s love language is. Just like you need to do that with your spouse and children, try to figure out the love language of those around you. Start paying attention to the things or experiences that excite your father-in-law. If he goes to church every week and is impeccably dressed, consider purchasing a men’s cross necklace as a small token of love. If he loves goodies try surprising him with a bag of chocolates or his favorite wine next time you visit.
Ask Your Spouse to Intervene
Ultimately, your spouse should defend you. You two are a unit. If your father-in-law is acting inappropriately or insists on being difficult, encourage your spouse to handle it. They invited you into their world. They asked you to be a part of their life. A part of this involves making sure you feel welcomed into their world. Don’t be afraid to bring it up with your spouse. It’s important and essential to the health of your relationship.
No matter what, always maintain boundaries. Remember that boundaries are different from walls. Manage your expectations when it relates to your father-in-law. If you recognize that the battle won’t be won with one heart-to-heart conversation, adjust the way you approach him. Know what you will and won’t tolerate. Protect your boundaries as they will help you maintain sanity.
If you are not putting yourself in mental or emotional danger being around them then know what bridges you’ll never cross. This doesn’t mean that any inappropriate behavior is suddenly forgiven or ok. It can mean that you create a topic list in your head of things that are safe to bring up. For example, if they really like their pet parrot or a hobby like working on cars you can bring it up when they start talking about things they shouldn’t. It’s a way to keep the conversation going even if it’s surface level. You can talk about grandchildren, how delicious the food smells, your shared love of ice cream. Use it as a red herring if you must. It’s better than you both ending up in a shouting match.
When you marry a person, you also marry into their family. If their family seems awkward or hard to get along with, give it time. As you make adjustments, make sure you commit to these tips. Before long, you two will be able to find a great balance between loving each other well and loving your in-laws well.
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