Help, I have Monster-In-Laws!
If you don’t know this by now, between both sets of our parents, there are 12 marriages.
Yes you read that correctly - 12. So you can imagine how much family drama we've encountered in our years together. The holidays, the step parents, the hurt feelings, the critical in-laws, the expectations, the gossip - you name it, we’ve experienced it. And it's been rough. It’s been very difficult on our marriage and we wouldn’t want anyone of you to go through what we’ve had to.
With that said, we need you to engrave this on your heart and mind:
There can be no divided loyalties. When you get married and start your own family, that’s where your primary loyalty needs to be.
And since we teach people how to treat us, we can both admit that there have been many times we have made excuses for our parents behavior because… well, they’re family. Which left us both feeling alone and frustrated. But it's our fault. We taught them that they could give us their opinion and we wouldn’t say anything. That they could talk bad about us, judge us, and even criticize our parenting and we allowed it for years.
Your marriage is and will always be your number one priority. And you have to be on the same team when it comes to the topic of parents and in-laws.
The stronger and more connected you both become, the less of an impact your parents and in-laws will have on your relationship.
Here are frequent topics that tend to get heated when it comes to in-laws:
Frequency of visits
Living up to their expectations when it comes to faith and spirituality
Choice of friends
Again, it needs repeating… your spouse and their opinions, their wishes and their desires come first, over your parents. Even if your parents are incredible human beings, you do this out of respect to the one you vowed to love, honor, and cherish.
Here are some Connecting Questions for you and your spouse to talk through to ensure that you’re on the same page:
What are two positive characteristics your parents taught you as a child?
What are some behaviors your parents modeled when it coms to communication?
Is there anyone in either of our families you don’t feel comfortable with?
When we go to your parents house, I would like you to ______________. (Fill in the blank with your expectations of what you want them to do, say, etc.)
What are the topics we will not discuss with our parents? (Examples: sex, money, parenting, etc.)