The relationship with the mother-in-law is an issue as ancient as time, a phase that is bound to arise at some point in every married couple’s life, especially for newly married couples.
But why is that? Well, we meet someone, fall in love, realize that we’ve found our better half, our soulmate and vow to spend the rest of our lives together.
So far, so good, but things are never plain simple. At some point, you are going to learn how to co-exist with your in-laws.
In other words, when you decided to marry their son, you also signed up for his family to come into your life. So whether you like it or not, they will be part of your matrimony and getting along is going make things a lot more cheery for everyone.
For those of you who might be lucky enough to find a second mother in your mother-in-law or become best friends with your sister-in-law. Good for you because you fall into the minority.
Not everyone is that fortunate. Truth is, statistics show that at least 70 percent of couples experience in-law issues after marriage and that is quite a big number. Of this, the most common would be relationship issues between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
Yup, hard truths.
As in maintaining a healthy and long-lasting marriage, the main bricks of its foundation are mutual respect, willingness, love and acceptance. The important thing here is to enter this relationship, with your mother-in-law, with an open heart and mind.
Rule Number 1
First analyse your relationship with your future mother-in-law. Different as you two might be, is there one thing the both of you have in common?
Okay, if nothing comes into your mind, how about starting with you both loving her son very much? Your in-laws are the ones who have raised the man of your dreams, so that has to count for something, right?
As a mother, it’s never easy to see your son leave home, set up family with another woman becoming the most important person in his life. This transition can be quite difficult for parents, especially mothers.
And as the person “causing” this breach in their relationship, you need to understand that it’s normal for your mother-in-law to feel a little upset but it’s not anger and it’s not targeted at you.
Your future mother in-law might have her mind set before even meeting you in person, and seeing what a wonderful person you are might actually make them dislike you at the beginning.
As ironic as it might sound, the mechanism behind this is quite simple – seeing their son leave with a bright, beautiful, kind woman will only make them realise this is really happening and it will scare them even more at first.
When this new reality settles in, they will be ready to rejoice in the fact that their son is marrying a wonderful woman.
Rule Number 2
Your mother-in-law’s relationship with her son goes way back in time, so don’t make him choose over you or her, nor make him defend you in front of his mother, because it will eventually hurt everybody in the process.
What’s important is to give everyone time, and keep an open mind in the relationship building process. Be kind, accommodating and maintain a positive attitude. But always be yourself! Trying to be someone or something you’re not will only make matters worse.
Being the real you will let your mother-in-law see you as her son does and after all, he did fall in love with you!
Without trying too hard, try to ask for her advice at times and take the first steps towards building a friendship. But do this genuinely and don’t fake it. Learn to truly love them and respect them. Love and respect will eventually only get you the same thing in return.
Rule Number 3
Of course, things can’t all be milk and honey. You have to realise at times, it’s possible for conflicts to surface. When things don’t seem to work out as what you would expect, you will eventually have to set boundaries too, because you don’t want an adverse in-law relationship to affect your marriage.
However, you should first have discussions on this with your hubby and after the both of you agree where to draw the line, let him take the lead and initiate this talk with his mother. Coming from him will make this matter seem more acceptable to her.
For example, you should never be the one to tell your mother-in-law that it’s not ok to visit unannounced or to do certain tasks in your home. This will only make you look like the villain in the whole episode.
Remember to keep your calm and avoid saying something you might regret. Do your best to keep a respectful tone when talking to your mother-in-law too, and don’t hold grudges.
Always try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and remember this, respecting your in-law also means you don’t put your hubby in tight spots. When the situation calls for it, he will return in kind.
It’s really all a matter of perspective and how you choose to look at things. Instead of fretting over that 70 percent of negative relationships with the mother-in-law, why not focus on getting things right for that positive 30 percent instead?