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  • 7 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your In-Laws

    7 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your In-Laws
    1. Realize You’re on the Same Team
      • What has brought you into one another’s lives is your love for their child. The child they changed a thousand diapers for. The child they made five thousand PB&J’s for. The child that has their eyes, their nose, their laugh, their walk and until you came around, their devotion. Respect what they have invested in their child and work with them, not against them. 
    2. Give the Benefit of the Doubt
      • Parents invest their entire lives into their children and the transition to let them establish their own family is often difficult for them.  Don't assume the worst about their intentions with every comment and action. Realize that there is often selfishness and manipulation at play but that isn’t always the case. 
    3. Choose to Not Be Offended
      • You will lead a considerably miserable life if you allow yourself to be offended by everything that could offend you. Don’t be offended by every family tradition and routine that is different than what you’re used to. Embrace one another’s traditions and personalities as the makeup of the family only gets more diverse and rich. 
    4. Write an Honest Handwritten Note
      • It doesn’t have to be handwritten, an honest heartfelt text message can go a long way too, but it is a lost art that certainly captures the attention of the receiver and the intentions of giver. Say the encouraging things you never seem to find the time to say but will matter a great deal to them.
    5. Find a Way to Create Some Alone Time with Them
      • I’m reminded of Ben Stiller’s character, Greg (or Gaylord), in Meet the Parents as he attempts to get some alone time with Pam’s dad, Robert DeNiro. Greg rides along with his intimidating father-in-law for a quick run to the store and of course, it’s disastrous. It makes for a great movie but these simple ride alongs are every day excellent opportunities for one on one time that can help build a foundation for a great relationship.  
    6. Include Them in your Life: text threads, pictures, planning, etc… 
      • There is a running joke between Taran and I when we do a group text to the grandparents with a picture of our kids, who will be the first to text back? And after that, who will have the most over-the-top response with the most emojis in tow? Be proactive in continuing to involve them in your life instead of constantly trying to shut them out. 
    7. Have Honest Conversations about Boundaries 
      • Establishing excellent relationships with your in-laws is a process but so are all your other relationships. Your marriage will have many challenging learning seasons and you can expect this in this relationship as well. Some parents, in-laws, adult children and spouses are more ready for this transition than others. One final key component to building a great in-law relationship is to have honest conversations about boundaries in the right time and tone. Both parties have to be prepared to live out points #1-3 for this to turn out in a positive manner. Otherwise, you can probably count on working through some conflict. The in-law relationship provides many complexities and challenges to it but is well worth the investment to build