On a serious note, one major factor that will determine the success and longevityof your marriage is the way you relate with and handle your in-laws. Do it correctly, you have the most blissful of matrimonies and get it wrong, you will sign the divorce papers faster than the ring entered your finger!
We have criss-crossed the globe and today, we bring to you and your loving spouse, 12 solid ways on how to relate with your in-laws. Irrespective of your religion, tribe or background, these universal values always work. Ready? Let's roll!
1. Know Them: The very first thing you need to do is to know your in-laws. It does not sound too nice of you as a bride not to know the full names of your mother-in-law or what your father-in-law does for a living. Like, seriously? Drill your spouse, know all about her people. This will assist you in relating better with each member. Once you know them, communicate and pick clues yourself. You cannot be aloof and say it is 'me and my husband'. If you agree to marry your spouse, it means you have a new family. Know them, love them and cherish them.
2. Close? Yes, But Not Extremely Close: Your mother-in-law happens to be the very hospitable type, she cannot but pamper you every second of the day. Oh, lucky you! But there is something you must always know: excessive familiarity will always breed contempt. Be close to your in-laws but not too close for comfort. Give them breathing space even if they show you are the apple of their eyeballs. You have your family and they have theirs. create value by scarcity. Do not 'extra cool' your father-in-law at 2.30 am unless your wife is in labor -and he is a gynaecologist!
3. Do NOT Reveal All: Your father-in-law has taken you like a son and one cool weekend, you guys got talking. It all started from politics and before you know it, you started narrating how badly your wife cooks or how good she is in bed (who on earth does that?). Even though your father-in-law knows that you are married to his daughter, do not irritate him with the details of how you give her the pleasure. It is a no-no! Gist generally, give advice when your suggestion is called for and as for what is between you and your wife -let it remain like that.
4. Never Insult: Remember they are his parents and no one will take it lying low if you abuse their parents. Yes, he loves you but he loves his parents too. Do not run your mouth about her sisters or brothers. According to the book, The Mother-In-Law Dance: Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along? by Annie Chapman, one of the most constructive ways by which a mother can stay within her boundaries is by containing the mighty force of the tongue. And yes! Let me remind you, even when he complains about his parents or relatives, calm him down -or keep quiet. Do not join him in hurling careless words at your in-laws -it will only boomerang later.
5. Your Relationship First: In all that you do, never forget this: your relationship first! This is an instinct that should guide you in all you do. There are times you just have to sacrifice your ego not your dignity just for things to work out.
6. Appreciate Their Good Points: It takes two to tango. If your in-laws are trying their best to satisfy you, do not take them for granted. Appreciate that basket of fruits your mother-in-law sends every week for your children and do not say it is just fifty naira orange. Your appreciation and gratitude can sound little but will surely go a long way.
7. Visit Them (With The Kids): Just imagine yourself being a grandparent on nice weekends, with excited kids running all over your courtyard telling you tell them story after story. Visit your in-laws once in a while, and carry the kids with you, if you've got any. Do not deny grannies the right of seeing their little ones (it can be quite painful). Would you want anyone to do that to you? Unless your mother-in-law is a dragon, the cute smiles of the kids will always work wonders.
8. Compete With No One: Know your position as the wife or husband. You can never be his/her mother, father, sister or brother -just as they too cannot replace you as the Love of his life. And if you have all his/her love, affection and attention, do you seriously have to compete with anyone? I guess you can answer that.
9. Never Take Things Personal: I know Some in-laws can be quite frustrating. Even upon all you do, they just don't see the good in all your efforts. For such people, never take anything personal. If there is anything you are displeased with, calmly discuss it with your spouse and let him know you are hurt. Again, discuss it with your spouse and not your girlfriends who will tell you to break 29 bottles of Gulder on your mother-in-law's head.
10. Do Not Denigrate Yourself: That you have to sacrifice some things as a wife or husband does not mean that you have to do away with your dignity. It is NOT your duty to be washing clothes for your in-laws or sweeping their homes every weekend. Of course, you can make delicacies for them but if you feel like you are being used as a slave, stop! By the way, where is your husband? He didn't marry a servant, right? Do not allow your dignity to be assaulted but be composed.
11. Let The Two Families Flow! How is your sister relating with your husband's siblings? Are they on good terms or they have never even met face to face? It's another thing if there is a distance barrier but if they are all within the same vicinity, then let in-laws from both sides mix -it will only reduce your headache.
12. Love Your Spouse -Deeply! I guess this should have been first point. Loving your partner sincerely and deeply is the very foundation of everything. It is the burning love and deep passion that for him that you transfer to his family. Always rekindle your love -and you see your relationship with your in-laws blossoming.