How To Create Strong Relationships With Your In-Laws

August 20, 2019 By
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I asked my ultimate concierge about how to create strong relationships with your in-laws. He told me it is wise to treat them as good friends and include them as your family. Moreover, if they are great in-laws, go out of your way to be even greater. If they are not good in-laws, continue to treat them with respect because they are your spouse’s parents or your sister’s husband or a member of the family.

How to Foster Strong Relationships With Your Entire Family

Over my years, I have lived through dramas and joys in my various roles within our blended family as a daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, dual roles as mother or mother-in-law and the grandmother-in-law to my husband’s grands.

I have fostered loving relationships with most of my in-laws. I have learned ways to tune out yet continue to remain ladylike with my outlaw in-laws.

Traits to Consider

For these relationships to survive, it’s important to take into account the personalities of each family member and ask yourself why they are acting the way they are before you get flustered and lose control.

Human beings are not programmed robots; everyone is susceptible to weakness. We should remember this and act with forgiveness for our sake and the sake of the entire family.

My Experiences With In-Law Relationships

I was a loving daughter-in-law to one mother-in-law and respectful but distant by choice to the other, who I never loved or liked. Additionally, I am a mother-in-law to two daughters-in-law; one I truly love and the other is not a part of my life due to family circumstances. I have three sons-in-law; two are married to my daughters and one is my husband’s son. They are good men.

One I have never had a crossword with, one I have known since he was 18 and have dueled with him but I love him. With my husband’s son, I have no relationship with him (but I could have had a fun one) because of issues between father and son. There are certainly no robots in my family.

Creating Kinship with In-Law Relationships

I had, at one time or another, four sisters-in-law and one brother-in-law. One sister-in-law passed away. She was passionate about collecting bugs species so we had little in common. One is divorced from my sibling and we remain close. Another is the new wife of my sibling with whom I don’t have a close relationship because she will not forgive me for a few things I mentioned. I would like her to understand that all human beings are susceptible to weakness.

Last but not least is my ultimate concierge’s sister. I love my husband’s sister. Of course, I wish I was batting a perfect four out of four but we all know it takes two to tango and the tango is the hardest dance out there. My brother-in-law, my late husband’s brother, lives in Colorado. I respect and care for him, as we were always close.

Remain True to Your Values

Initially, when asked for my advice about how to build strong relationships with in-laws, I thought I would tell you to always do your best. And then I realized that is only half of the equation because the other person has to do their best as well. Here lies the hurdle: creating strong relationships oftentimes becomes difficult when there are personality clashes, jealousies, different values, and varied expectations.

I hold true to my initial thought: always do your best. This may take a great deal of self-discipline, but practice this approach so you can remain true to your values. If you lose your footing and say or do something you wished you hadn’t, don’t be hard on yourself or make an assumption that your in-law will reject your apology. Tell them you are sorry and mean it. There’s no need to carry unintentional baggage.

Doing our best at all times is difficult because moods change. We all do our best when we are in a relaxed mood, rested and have our ducks in a row. We tend to falter when we are tired and have a lot of unfinished business on our minds.

I have told you the feelings from my vantage point about how I create strong relationships with in-laws. I aim to do my best at all times and to be a good person even when I have been violated by an in-law. When I err, I feel bad and I apologize for my actions.

Taking Responsibility to Create a Stronger Family

We can only be responsible for our actions. We cannot control the emotions or actions of our in-laws. However, when hiccups occur, we have a few choices. When the timing is right, we can invite them to have a respectful conversation and discuss positive solutions or we can quietly distance ourselves from them.

The goal of having these conversations is for the benefit of the entire family. The relative with whom you are speaking should be aware that his or her actions are disruptive to the entire family and for that reason, he or she should do their best at all times. Amen.

 

How do you strengthen the relationships you have with your in-laws? Join the conversation in the comments below or on Facebook and Instagram.

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4 Comments

  • Margo says:

    I’ve known my sisters in law for 50 years and always had a good relationship although it was from a distance. All that changed 6 years ago when we bought a cottage a few doors down from one. She was so excited to have us here on the weekends and we had a lot of fun with her, her husband, and my husband’s brother as well. Problems occurred with the visits from one of the cousins who would swoop in once a year a take over. We have since found a permanent home here on the lake directly across from my sister in law. There are times when all is well and she confides in me but she will drop me like a hot potato if the cousin comes round. It leaves me very hurt and I fall for it time and again. We have done a lot of work on an old house and she is very jealous. My only sibling died 18 years ago, I have no daughter, sisters, no one really save for my wonderful husband and one grandson that keeps in touch.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      You can only do what you can do. If you have not had an open conversation with her I would attempt to do just that. Let her talk first. Ask her what is bothering her in a loving way. The best gift you have is your wonderful husband. Keep in touch. Warmly, Honey

  • Janne Bradley says:

    My brother-in-law and his wife are my biggest diappointment. My husband and I have been together for 47 years and married for 42 of those years. My brother in law was extremely rude to me when their father was dying and then passed away. I took time off work and we took up residence in a motel close to the hospital so my husband could be near his family several hours from our home. My father in law was a very cranky man who I never felt I pleased in any way, however he was my husbands father and out of love and respect for my husband I always took his meanness and criticism on the chin as did our children. When the father in law passed I was by my husbands side all the way with love and support, he wanted me to tell our children and his cousins straight away even though it was the middle of the night. So I made the necessary phone calls so he did not have to pass on this sad news. What ever he wanted I did, when the brother in law knew I had told them he was so angry with me and on our way to tell father in laws brother he told me I was not allowed to speak in their presence, so I did not utter a word other than hello and goodbye. I stayed away during the funeral arrangements where he had yelling fights with mother, both brothers and sister, he forced his way into my home after my husband asked him to stay away until things settled down and then said my parents who socialised through dancing with the in laws had no right to be at the funeral and refused to speak to them. A short 6 months later my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and given very short time to live. Previous to this I had always had a reasonable relationship with brother in law, his wife a little strained but everyone is different and I accepted we would never be very close. My sister in law phoned me to find out what was going on with my mother and when I told her she said oh she will be fine you are over dramatising the situation. That was the last I heard from them in the last 5 months of my mother life. When she passed my bother in law phoned to tell me my mothers funeral was a logistics problem for him and they did not come or offer any support at all. I don’t really speak to them anymore and when we are together I am polite but not at all warm. This all happened 2 years ago and while I have tried to let it go I still feel very hurt. I will meet for dinner if they are in our area (which has only happened once) but find it really hard to bring back the warmth we once had and my bil just dismisses me. So disappointing but my children have informed me they have watched me put up with that treatment all their lives and me make excuses for them but now I feel at peace with them not being in ours lives as family but as people we once knew. Thankyou honey this is the first time I have actually laid this all out, sorry to ramble but I really think this has been therapeutic for my heart.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I read every word of your story and I am glad you laid it out and feel at peace.It is uncanny that I wrote a story where I toot a stand. Read my story today (Sunday, 8/25.) Live your life on your terms. Be proud of who you are and set an example for your children.These relatives should look in ‘their’ mirror. Warmly, Honey

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