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25 Great Tips for Building a Relationship With Your In-Laws

25 Great Tips for Building a Relationship With Your In-Laws

Prior to marrying, my husband and I went through a twelve-week premarital counseling course with a psychologist whose main focus was marriage.  

Best. Money. Spent. Ever.

We covered every topic under the sun, ranging from finances to children to our pasts and everything in between.  

In our ten years together since that time, I can honestly say there is nothing we’ve encountered that we hadn’t already discussed a “what if” for during those 12 weeks.

At least, that was is the statement I made a couple weeks ago and Keith quickly corrected me.  ”There was an incident with my Mom…and that wasn’t expected.”

Yikes!  I’d forgotten all about that.  Yes, his mother and I are very similar in alot of ways but incredibly different in others.  And when Keith and I were first married, one of those differences caused a momentary rift.

Thankfully, for the both of us, Keith was wise enough to know the best way to bridge the divide and we quickly came to understand how the differences in our personalities and the way we handle certain things could adversely impact our relationship.   

What I discovered during that time, and have continued to learn over the years, was our love for that man of mine (her son) should always take precedence.  And I truly love and adore her too.

Over the weekend, I posted this graphic in our Facebook community that simply read, “To my mother-in-law, thank you for raising the love of my life.”  It was “liked” more than 15,000 times and shared almost as many.

That got me to thinking, I bet the women of this club have some great tips for building a relationship with your in-laws.  So this morning, I posed the question, “If you get along well with your in-laws, what would you say has been the key to building that relationship?”  

More than 500 people responded and provided us with some great tips.  If I could quickly sum up what seemed to make the most difference it was B.RA.W.L: Boundaries, Respect, Acceptance, Willingness and Love.

So instead of having a “brawl” with your in-laws, as so many unfortunately do, remember they are a part of what made your wonderful spouse who they are and try this version [of brawling] instead:

Common Courtesy Can Go a Long Way. “My experience was difficult at first. But, when I realized that they didn’t dislike me, they just would miss their son, it all changed. Respect, honesty and common courtesy goes a long way. Eventually, the F.E.A.R (false evidence appearing real) goes away, guards are dropped and you realize you’re now an extended family – not a discontinuation of one.” -Jenny Campbell

Seek Advice Without Accusation. “Understand that they have loved your spouse much longer than you. Never put them in a position where they have to defend their child. Seek advice without accusations. Celebrate them for their support and encouragement of your spouse.” -Frances Siple

Extend Grace. “…the key to our relationship is respect and grace.” -Melissa Stratton Sanchez

Treat Them As Family. I have always looked at my in-laws like they’re my blood and it has made it so much easier to get along.  We have all worked hard to make it important to us, though. It’s not always easy, but it has to matter enough to you to keep on working on it! -Laurina Rose Hendrickson

Be True to Who You Are. “Being yourself. Eventually it will work out. If you try to be something/someone you’re not, it will only cause everyone problems down the line.” -Karen Royalty Smith 

Have Your Spouse Resolve Conflict.  “When there is conflict between me and whomever, I talk it over with my husband and he talks to them. For one, they’re his family and he knows how to talk to them, and for two it takes him out of the middle – he doesn’t have to choose between me and them, he helps to resolve any conflict instead of letting one build.” -Tresa Koester 

Give it Time. Realize relationships take TIME to build. One or even several large scale fights do not mean you cannot have a relationship. You may be very different people and it takes TIME to look at the world from another person’s viewpoint with love. Don’t give up. Always be kind. Give it time. -Tristan Roszkowski 

Accentuate the Positive. “I love my mother-in-law. I think it helps to try to accentuate the positive. She is loving, giving, and incredibly kind. Of course, there are quirks that irritate me now and again, but in those moments, I try to remind myself that she is only doing what she thinks is best based off of her experience.” -Brittany Nielson 

Include Them. Including them in all aspects of our lives, calling several times a week and including them on our family vacations with the kids. We WANT our children to have amazing memories of their grandparents. One day, WE will be the grandparents and would love the same respect. -Lori Ann Kennelly

Do Not Differentiate. “We never differentiate between “YOUR family” or “MY family”. It’s always OUR family from the day we were married. We love and respect each others parents and they love and respect us. We laugh, love and support each other as much as we can.” -Barbara Rocco Adams

Let Them Out of The Box. “For me, it has been to let them out of the little box I thought they were supposed to fit in. To be patient. To love and accept them as they are! I think I expected them to be like my family, and they are not. And that’s ok. It’s great, actually! They’re awesome!” -Stacy Smith Bishop

Remember Who They Are. “Remembering they raised and love the person you love and enjoy their company.” -Jeanine Parrish Giuliano

Remove Pride. “Love! Not being so prideful myself that I ignore their wisdom and love. They truly love me as their daughter and I love them as parents. Love never fails!” -Molinda Bailey

They Are Not the Enemy. “Mutual respect, not looking at your mother in law like she is an “enemy”, set healthy boundaries early on, communicate well, and a hug truly goes a long way.” -Alaina Marie

Know Your Roles. “Respect. Knowing each person’s role in their partner’s lives. A lot of times it can verge on who is SIGNIFICANT in their lives still? Each party has a different love type and level. When both parties respect that…then you have peace and harmony.” -June Robinson

Protect Your Words. “Prayer, self-assessment, forgiveness, always be humble and protect your own words, they become a part of your life and last forever.” -Melissa Dyer
Respect Their Position. “Respect their positions as parents (and grandparents, if apply)….Always be honest….Show constant love and gratitude for raising a wonderful child!” -Sheryl Taylor

Build a Friendship. “Love them, I mean really love them. Build a friendship with them and include them in your life, not just in areas where your spouse is involved but in all areas. Pray for God to connect your families together also.” -Vycki South 

Have No Expectations. “Having their grandchildren, having no great expectations & just letting go of criticism – they see it as trying to help – believing the intention is good.” -Sara Litzkow Wax

Let Go of Grudges. “Be honest but respectful at the same time. Let go of grudges. Be patient. Have fun together! Communicate! Laugh! Share stories!” -Lesley Michelle Callahan Rogers

Don’t Put on a Show. “My relationship with my mother-in-law is separate from my relationship with my husband. I spend time alone with her…I don’t say negative things to her about him…and I act like me. I never put on a show for her.” -Angela Swartz

Bring Presumptions to the Surface. “Communication. Period. It was rough in the beginning but once I cleared the air by bringing all the presumptions to the surface, it’s been awesome ever since — and that was 13 years ago.” -Carlie Kercheval

Find a Respectful Approach. “If they raised the man of your dreams treat them as they are the reason he exists. Vent to your honey first, if something bothers you, to come up with the most respectful approach to not only them but your honey – respect them as HIS parents but love them as your own.” -Kristyn Johnson

Take Initiative. “Take initiative with them, don’t ignore them and wait for them to do so. Invite them for dinner, help your husband shop/buy gifts for them, etc. Include them in your good news! Help make them feel special and an important part of your life.” -Emily Reese

It’s a Package Deal. “Always put in mind/heart that tt’s a package deal. Love your In-laws as much as you love your husband no matter what.” -Shirley Topang

QUESTION: If you have a good relationship with your in-laws, what has been your secret to success? 

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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Fawn Weaver is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of Happy Wives Club: One Woman's Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage, adopting the same name as the Club she founded in 2010. The Happy Wives Club community has grown to include more than 1 million women in over 110 countries around the world. She’s an investor in real estate, tech sector and lifestyle brands. When she’s not writing or working, she's happily doting over her husband of twelve years, Keith (and sometimes manages to do all three simultaneously).

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