When you don't have a healthy relationship with your in-laws, it can strain your marriage. That's especially the case when you or your spouse have a close relationship with your respective parents, but they don't have a close relationship with the one who is not their child. There are things you can do to improve the circumstances. Try these five tips for making the relationship with your in-laws better:
Tip #1 - Attend Special Occasions
Don't skip out family reunions or other special occasions because you want to avoid your in-laws. That's the worst thing you can do when you're striving to maintain a healthy relationship. While those events may be stressful, your attendance will do a lot to prevent bitterness. You also don't want to keep your children away from those events, because that would compound the problem.
Tip # 2 - Invite Them Over for Dinner
Make it a point to invite your in-laws over for dinner if they live close by. Plan dinner dates at least on a quarterly basis. Your in-laws will appreciate your hospitality, and dinner in your home is a comfortable and intimate setting that will draw them closer to you. For example, you may feel more at ease talking to your mother-in-law about child rearing problems in your home after dinner than at a restaurant or even in her home.
Tip #3 - Touch Base on the Phone
Call your in-laws every once in a while, especially if they live in another state. Just placing the call will do a lot for maintaining a healthy relationship. Don't miss the obvious opportunities, such as on birthdays and anniversaries. The calls you make that are just to say hello and touch base though, often have a great impact on the relationship. Put their grandchildren on the phone at some point during the call, because that will mean a lot to them.
Tip #4 - Listen to Their Advice
Your in-laws may want to be helpful, and offer relationship or parenting advice from time to time. Honor them by listening to them. That doesn't mean that you have to follow the advice, especially if it conflicts with your ethics and values. You can still be polite and considerate though, and ask questions for clarification and at least show that you are listening to what they have to say. You won't maintain a healthy relationship if you visibly dismiss what they're saying. You'll come off as rude, and your in-laws may want little to do with you as a result.
Tip #5 - Give Your Children Time with Your In-Laws
Don't isolate your children from them, unless there's justification for doing so. Share them with your in-laws when they're in town or when they come over. Give them time alone, if appropriate. The time that you allow your in-laws to spend with their grandchildren will endear you to them. It can be as simple as you going into the next room or out to run errands while they spend time together.
Use these tips to help you build or maintain a healthy relationship with your in-laws. Be patient when implementing each of these, because experiencing success does takes time.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.