Can We All Just Get Along?

by Yvonne Chase on December 14, 2011

Last night on the weekly Twitter #MarriageChat, the topic was in-laws and extended families.  While I don’t have in laws of my own, I have sister in laws and brother in laws.   I wish I could say those relationships are great however I can’t and its not because I don’t want them to be.

I’ve heard it said often that marriage is for mature people only.  While maturity is definitely needed to become one with your spouse, its also needed to handle the relationships that come with marriage.  In case you didn’t know it, when you marry, while you are only putting a ring on your spouse’s finger, you are getting his family as a part of the deal and there’s no getting around that.  Below are two ways to be a good in-law:

Reach out and touch.  Because you are the outsider coming in, I believe it is up to you to extend the olive branch and show yourself friendly.   I don’t know about you but I find that when I am nice to people who are in their right mind (keywords…right mind) and I show myself friendly, I receive the same in return.   In their book, I Do, Now What? Bill Rancic loves the way his wife Giuliana always seeks out opportunities to include his family.  He said, family is very important to me and I did not want to marry a woman who tried to harm those relationships.   Giuliana says, whether its Thanksgiving, Christmas or Bills birthday, I always call his family to ask if they’d like to join us for the occasion and express how happy we’d be if they did.  I find that being kind, generous and accommodating goes a long way.  In loving his family, she shows him how she will love him.

Stay in your lane and mind your business.  Years ago when my sister married, I remember something my dad said; keep your mother and I out of your marriage.  Solve your problems with your husband.  I’ll always be here to listen but I don’t want to be involved.  You will not put us in the middle of anything.  I so love and respect my parents for taking that stance.  Meddling in laws can create a mess.   Even if the couple wants to include the parents, its up to the parents to draw a line in the sand and stay out.  In some instances though, parents need to be involved.  For example, when my brother was terribly ill, if the in law relationship were better, that would’ve been a great time to include the family and get us all on board to help with his care.

At the end of the day, no matter how nice you play with some, some don’t want to play nice.   Bill says, being good to your in laws is about being decent to people who’ll be in your life forever.  I think you need to treat your spouse’s family the way you want them to treat yours.  Even if you don’t get along with yours, you don’t want other people to treat them badly.

So how are you getting along with your in laws? Are you showing yourself friendly? Are you reaching out and touching? Are you glue or acid in those relationships? What can you do today to make your in law relationships even better?

Something to think about…

See also: The In Law Factor

© Copyright 2011-2012, Yvonne Chase. All rights reserved.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

20 and Engaged September 1, 2011

I have a great relationship with my in laws. My mother/father-in-law love me and I love them. Sometimes I just go by their house and hang out with them without my husband. I have lots of brothers and sisters in law since hubby has 10 brothers and sisters but I’ve only met a handful. We have a big family, but we’re not involved with everyone. Hubby has his own relationship with my parents & I with his.

It’s got to be difficult to not get along with your in laws. I think these are great tips to making a smooth transition.

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jane September 1, 2011

i too love my in-laws particularly my mother in law – she’s like a mother to me and then some. in my experience the onus isnt only on those marrying in to the family, but on the family itself to make the newcomer/outsider feel welcome. my future fil, took me out to dinner prior to my wedding. we didnt always see eye to eye, but that first step on his part made a huge difference. their reaching out also gave me a huge new appreciation for my husband – recognizing the types of people he came from. when you’re a newcomer/outsider its awfully hard for you to be extending the olive branch and no one is grabbing for it – it has to go both ways.

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Yvonne September 1, 2011

@20andengaged…that’s great.

@Jane…I agree. Relationships of all kinds work best when both parties take the initiative in making the relationship happen and thrive. You’re so right and I can speak from experience. It is awfully hard to extend the olive branch and no one is grabbing for it. What I know for sure is this; when people want something, they go out and get it. They make it happen…

Thanks for reading and sharing.

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jane September 2, 2011

but why the need for an olive branch? olive branch implies that there’s peace to be brokered – that something was wrong and now it needs to be fixed. both sides should be welcoming, but the larger unit should be more welcoming than the newcomer joining the family – think how intimidating that can be to the newcomer.

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Yvonne September 2, 2011

@Jane…while an olive branch may imply something is broken, its also used to extend a branch/hand of friendship. Both sides definitely need to be welcoming. I don’t know about you but anytime I’m the new kid on the block…whether it be with a family, @ a job, @ an event etc. I do my best to show a friendly spirit to those who are already there simply because I am the outsider coming in to their space for the first time. Its the reason I’ve never had any problems with the families of the men I’ve dated and its the reason I have in laws even though I’m unmarried. Being friendly, nice, accomodating and kind goes a very long way.

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Yvonne September 2, 2011

@Jane…in addition, extending the olive branch also refers to those who may not be nice to you from the gate. I’ve seen ppl come into families and be rude with an attitude to family members because that’s who they are I guess. Now you could go along with that and allow that to grow into a horrible situation or you can extend the olive branch and do your best to nip that in the bud. Like I said, some ppl want to play nice and others don’t.

Thanks again for sharing. Appreciate you.

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Mary September 2, 2011

I love how you use the phrase “Stay in your lane” because it’s so true that we need not get into whatever is not our business/problem. We just need to drive nice and not swerve into their lane!

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Tiya September 4, 2011

I just love the advice your dad gave to your sister! I love my in-laws, and I came into the family with the idea that we would get along. I never saw any reason why we wouldn’t. They love my husband and so do I. So with that much in common what could really prevent us from getting along. Great article!

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Yvonne September 5, 2011

@Tiya…I love what you said, “I came into the family with the idea that we would get along. I never saw any reason why we wouldn’t.” That’s the way to come into anyones family because when you come in with that attitude, all of your actions, energy and behavior support it and you end up with your result.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Appreciate you.

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