We, as couples, think of our partner and our self as a team, a unit. As such, we recognize that what is theirs is ours and what is ours is theirs. We understand that, should we take the next step in our relationship, we will be one in many senses from that point on. All of this includes our partner’s family, whether we like it or not. In order to function in the capacity of “in-law” appropriately, we must move past any negative attitudes we have toward members of our husband’s family.
There are times when we may feel that our in-laws-to-be are just simply nosy. We feel as though they push their way into our business, regularly making our problems worse. However, the next time this occurs, we need to step back and look at the situation with an open mind. We must look at what their intentions appear to be and whether they mean well in their interventions. Sometimes, our partner’s family members may want to be closer or more involved with us, but these desires are not apparent in their execution.
At other times, we may find our self annoyed with our partner’s seemed dependency upon his family or their dependency upon our partner. We must look at this situation closer to get a true picture of what is going on. It could be that our partner and his family have very strong relationships, which we will soon also have with both if our relationship continues. This is a positive sign, as it indicates that family closeness is important to our partner and his family.
In spite of the aforementioned situations, when we can look at the situation from another perspective and see a positive, there are some times when we must simply deal with the negative. If we characterize a member of our partner’s family as obnoxious, we certainly cannot just avoid them. We must learn to communicate with them in way that minimizes their opportunity to be annoying. When a member of our partner’s family constantly criticizes us, we cannot get defensive and argumentative. We must maintain our composure and respond maturely. Sometimes, we must make these types of sacrifices for our relationship.
It is integral that we recognize how we view our partner’s family and confront the negativity before we take the next step in our relationship. Although it is not always possible to put a positive spin on the behaviors of our to-be in-laws, it is necessary for us to cope with these problems for the sake of our relationship. If we are not willing to make some sacrifices in this area, then we must confront the possibility that, maybe, we are not meant to be with our partner.