ss_blog_claim=6cd73fab0d1dd89407889b31eb885dd3 ss_blog_claim=6cd73fab0d1dd89407889b31eb885dd3 Blog Directory Things I Did Not Know Before: How to Get Along With In-Laws

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to Get Along With In-Laws

The word “mother” is as sacred as your country’s flag and constitution, but add “in-law” next to it and it sends shivers down the spine. Did you know that among some tribes in Africa, the males do something to their heads so that their mother-in-law’s shadow doesn’t fall on their heads?

Dealing with your in-laws is twice as difficult as dealing with your own family. The snide remarks, the gossip, and the bickering are at their most intense when the in-laws come to visit.

  • There can be no divided loyalties. When you married your spouse and spoke your wedding vows, you promised to put your husband or wife as the first and primary person in your life, and that’s where your loyalty rightly belongs. If your wife has a problem with her mother-in-law, it’s the husband who needs to step in and work on fixing it. The same applies if a husband has a problem with his in-laws, his wife must speak up on behalf of her husband.
  • Good fences make good neighbors. Clear boundaries, as in really good fences, need to be established and set in place about when in-laws are and are not invited into your lives. Negotiate the boundaries with your spouse regarding the role you want your in-laws to have in your life, being as specific as you feel is necessary. Write it all down on paper if that would work well for you during discussion and negotiations.
  • Your parents and in-laws only know what you tell them. Set boundaries so you and your spouse know what specific information will or will not be shared with your family. If you go to your parents or family members every time you’re angry, frustrated, or having problems in your marriage, they hear that but they don’t hear when you’ve resolved the issues. If you’re having a problem in your marriage, you need to resolve it in the marriage, privately.
  • Set time boundaries so that you both will know how much time will be spent at the in-laws’ house and how often they will be in your home. Sometimes husbands and wives argue because the in-laws are always at your house and you don’t seem to have a moment to yourselves. Or, the wife is almost always at her parents’ home and not taking care of responsibilities at home, or constant phone calls by the in-law to find out personal details that impose upon the time and privacy of your marriage.
  • Set decision-making boundaries so that both husband and wife understand that they will make the decisions in their marriage without having to consult the in-laws first. Once a decision is made you should not allow your mind to be changed because one of the in-laws voices disapproval. You have a backbone, so use it.
  • Set boundaries about the care and discipline of your children, so the standards and rules established in your home are not contradicted by your in-laws. If boundaries are not set, clearly communicated amongst the family, problems and conflicts will arise. Problems and conflicts also persist when the husband or wife fails to correct their unruly parent or family member when boundaries have been breeched.
  • Once the boundaries are decided upon, you must now keep to them. If one of the marriage partners violates the agreement then the whole process breaks down and sends a double message to the in-laws. In addition, failing to keep an agreement with your spouse is a violation of your word and his or her trust. You must realize that if you violate your mate’s trust you have betrayed your vows to honor your spouse above all others.
  • Talk to your parents (or the in-law that is driving you crazy) about the boundaries you’ve decided upon together. Make it perfectly clear that the boundaries set have been decided upon and mutually agreed to by both husband and wife. Believe it or not, some mother-in-laws may not even realize how their intrusion and criticisms hurt or belittle you, so you must learn how to be assertive, using assertive techniques to express how you feel when she says or does x,y,z.
  • If holidays with in-laws are so difficult that it’s obvious your parents and in-laws don’t get along, it would be best for you and your husband to talk to your own sets of parents separately. Explain to them that while you understand that they’re not going to be the best of friends with the other couple, that it will make you and your husband happy if they can at least be civil.
  • When it comes to social settings, it may be better to keep them apart than to deal with the stress of potential bickering. If it’s a small holiday dinner, consider celebrating on two separate nights. Bigger parties should have enough people that both sets of parents can avoid each other. But keep in mind that they are all adults, even if their behavior suggests otherwise. And if you’re given an ultimatum such as, “If they’re coming, we’re not”, simply reply, “We’ll miss you.”
  • Never attempt to force your spouse to choose between his or her parents and your marriage. Understand that the other woman in every man’s life is his mother. If your husband starts in on you with something like, “Well, my mother does it this way…”, then tell him to go over and sleep with her.
  • Pick your battles. Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree in some situations, politely telling them that you appreciate their suggestions, but you and your spouse make the final decisions. Be considerate, controlling your emotions and temper as much as possible, being careful to think before you speak those venomous words swirling through your mind at the time.

Are you having difficulty getting along with your in-laws? Would you like to share your story or ask a question related to your specific situation? Or, if your relationship with the in-laws has been virtually flawless, to the point where you simply love and adore your in-laws, what further advice would you give couples dealing with in-law problems? Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome in the comment section below.


  1. Hello Mare..Kumusta ka na??so sorry if I was not able to visit the past couple of days ha..been busy..nagkasakit pa talaga ako..went to my aunt's wake for two days..she passed away last Saturday lang...

    Anyways..thanks for still visiting me ha..and thanks for adding me sa YM..hope to catch you one of these days para maka chika ta..

    How's the baby??are the two of doing okay..??

    Love this post..I bet you can relate..nag research jud ha..hehehe

  2. hahhaha....grabi sad ni nga post ha...hehhe..basin mabasahan ni sa imong inlaws..tapos maghimo sad dayon sila ug blog....ang title sa ilang post kay "how to get along with daughter-inlaws"...ejhehhehe....joke!

    Nice post dangz...ako FIL lang man ako I dont need to deal with in-laws feud...hehhehe...ana man jud nnang life uy...samot na sa pinas...hahha....unsa kaha kung ako bana is pinoy..agoy ambot lang kaha kung magkasinabot ba kaha mo sako inlaws...kay maldita raba intawon...hehhee! wala man nuon ko problem sako in-laws hinuon talagsa raman sad mio magkita mao nang walay feud...hehhee!

    Thanks for sharing dangz!

  3. oi, layo man sila nako so why kurat. haha.

    murag nasayud na ko da why butang nimo diri. haha. bitaw sistah, sungod ra taka. ayo ayo diha.


  4. halo in na miss na ta sad ka miss nako imong mga yapak ug katawa...hehhehe!

    hhaha..thanks sa mo lang sige si Akesha ug reklamo..sige ingon..'am dun mama"....kapuyan..pinogos gani tong iyang katawa...hahha...intawon!

    sige lang dangz basin mag abot ratong imong package dha...basin pod di sila ka afford sa shipping...ahhaha..kay ang shipping nila kay 7 bucks...usually ang regular nga shipping dire is 49cents....hehhehe

    Gi add ba nimo ang imong address sa imong account sa PPP and SS?

    Lagi wa nako ka dungog sa imo..mao bitaw nga nag add ko sa message sa akong plurk..gpangita taka...hehheh!

    Maayo ra jud ka kay sige ka ug shopping..haha..maayo nuon na kay exercise sad ba...hehhee! come na virus imo laptop...wala ba ka anitspyware? be careful sa uban bloggers kay usahay makakuha ka sa virus sa ilang page

    hahha..makamuot ko sa imo kay mapangalaan man kaha na nimo sila..init man permi imo dugo sa ana bya na dangz...ako sa una kay friends ni Greg ang ako di gusto makita..tapos dko gusto nga nay mag visit sa amo balay...mao na akong buhat sa una nga buntis ko...hehhe..murag normal lang na dangz...hehehhe!

    Woi unsa man day na imo inlwas spoiled day na ninyo? ana bya na dangz...kay gusto nila ug attention...pila man day siblings ni banana mo? basin gusto lang na sila ug atention dangz...luto-lutoe ra jud na sila...hehe..invite them for dinner sa inyo house....hehhee:) lisod lagi ning mga tigols no?

    Oks lang ko dangz...hapit na nuon mahuman akong PMS...ehhehe..d na kaayo busy akong negosyo ron dangz kay locked akong account sa PPP...heheh...oks lang..30 days nila locked akong account...shuang kaayo...hehhe!

    Agoy murag baha naman jud ning akong mensahe...basta lagi kita magchicka tag taas kaayo...hehe..malingaw man jud ko sa imo uy..hala susunod na dha!


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