Moms and Dads
6 Ways To Improve Your Relationship With Your In-Laws
Besides being a parent, there’s also handling one’s in-laws. Here’s how you can improve your relationship with your in-laws.
Besides the stress of money management, household management, and homeschooling, there’s also maintaining — if not, improving — your relationship with your in-laws. In most (if not all) Filipino telenovelas, in-laws can play a big role in making or breaking a marriage. And if there are a lot of conflicts, it can harm the kids, too. It can affect their relationship with their grandparents. So, here are some things you can do to improve your relationship with them.
1. Always invite your in-laws (even if they end up not going!)
A lot of times, we want to keep an event small, especially during a pandemic. But does that mean you have to invite your in-laws? Yes, you do. Even if they don’t show up, extending an invite to them means that you see them as part of the family. Invites don’t always mean physical show-ups. It’s just our way of showing that we care and acknowledge them, too. This heavily applies to elders.
2. Try your best as much as possible to not get involved in your in-laws’ conflicts
A lot of times, we do get involved in their conflicts. Not usually as the aggressor but as the mediator or adjudicator—which is extremely stressful! Staying away keeps us focused on our tasks, the kids, or work—because getting involved can burn us out before we can actually get anything done.
3. But if you do get dragged in, do not assert your judgment.
The key to being a negotiator is being fair. Both sides have their grievances and they need to be addressed. Asserting your judgment right away will only fan the flames and give your in-laws more reason to stick their noses in your marriage.
4. Take note of the little things
Sometimes, their own kids don’t even remember what they said so it’s sometimes up to us to prompt them. Other times, the parents will not confide in their child but instead in you—because they know that their kid’s going to flip and worry. Keep these little tidbits of trivia in the back of your head for celebrations or gift-giving. These little things like knowing their favorite cheese, favorite flowers, or food can go a long way.
5. Keep the marital problems between you and your partner
Problems in your marriage are between you and your partner. Nobody else. Dragging them in unfortunately helps no one. However, there are some cases where the in-laws may have to get involved. Cases such as physiological problems (e.g. family history of diabetes, etc.), cheating, illegal behavior, or chronic psychiatric problems demand more drastic forms of intervention.
6. If they speak another language, try to learn it.
For marriages that involve an X number of languages, it’s good to learn the language used by your in-laws even just a bit. It doesn’t even have to be conversation level! A wise old man, my grandfather, once told me, “The best way to learn the language is to learn the swear words. It’s a word, a sentence, and you won’t just nod and smile like a fool when they insult you!”
That way, you can pretend not to know but still be in the loop. Besides, it shows that you’re making an effort to be a family with them.
The family’s a lot bigger now
Maintaining or improving your relationship with your in-laws is key to making sure things don’t crumble. Or when push comes to shove, the fight can be solved in a clean manner. We’ve seen and lived through too many telenovelas that do reflect the truth of how messy some fights can be when in-laws get involved. Besides, the last thing we want is for our kids to get affected by something so petty all because of a miscommunication.