5 Tips for Communicating with In-Laws
Miranda Komarek Price
Is communication with your in-laws affecting your marriage? Here are some tips to be able to help you have a good relationship with your in-laws.
1. Set boundaries
It is so important to set boundaries with your in-laws. It is the key to have a healthy relationship with anyone. Setting boundaries can help protect your marriage and relationship with your in-laws. It makes for healthy relationships. Since boundaries are rules you live by, it is important to let your in-laws know what those boundaries are so that they do not accidentally cross them without knowing it.
While we were in college we lived very close to my parents. We would go over every week for Sunday dinner. It was nice to see them, but ended up being a lot. My husband and I decided that we would go over every other Sunday. We talked with my parents and explained that we wanted some Sundays to have to be with each other. After talking with them and setting the boundary of going over every other week our Sunday dinners become more special and a lot more enjoyable.
2. Have open communication with them
Having open communication is so important in any relationship. With in-laws though it can help keep a lot of peace if you are able to express yourself, and they can express their feelings.
Recently I had some siblings that were not open about their feelings about a family matter that was going on with their parents. Instead of sitting down and talking about it in a respective manner hurtful things were said. A lot of heartache came from that experience. The heartache could have been saved if there was open communication on both sides of the party.
If boundaries allow it it is important to be able to sit down and express how you are feeling with them. It is important to let them know what is going on so hurt and heartache does not happen over and over again.
3. Establish your own family space
My husband and I whole married life we have lived very close to our parents. There have been very happy times, and some really hard times. It has been very important for us to make sure that wherever we are and no matter how close we are to them it is important to make our own family space. It is important that you have things that you do with just your spouse and kids. That you have your own traditions aside from the family. This will help you grow as a family and build those relationships.
4. Know criticism will come
You need to be aware that your in-laws may be critical of you and the choices you and your spouse make. They will probably not agree on everything you do, and that’s ok. It is important though to know how to handle that criticism and how to take it and not to let it affect your marriage. You might say things like:
- Thank you for your advice
- We know that you might now agree with it, and that's ok, but it's what we feel we need to do.
- That really hurt me when you said _____. I would appreciate it if you did not say that to me.
Ultimately you need to make sure it does not affect your marriage. If you are struggling then in a nondefensive, positive, calm manner talk to your spouse about it. It is important for them to know how you are feeling, but you also need to be careful to not hurt them in the process of expressing your emotions.
5. Limit time with unsupportive in laws
Sadly, sometimes in-laws are not supportive. Sometimes it brings too much strain to a marriage. If you find yourself in a place where in-laws are impacting your marriage for the worst it is ok to take a step back and limit your time with them. This is something that might be important to communicate with them that hurt has happened and we need to keep our marriage together so we are going to take a step back and not see your guys as much. It could be hard and cause some hurt, but ultimately you need to do what you need to do to keep your marriage together.
Even though in-law relationships can be very challenging and bring a strain on a marriage, they can also be a wonderful thing. In-laws can provide so much support, love, and encouragement into a marriage.