When you feel fairly certain your in-laws hate you, the first thing to do is have a quiet conversation with your spouse and ask if he/she knows why. Only open up this conversation when both of you are comfortable, relaxed and not hungry or stressed over other issues.
Could it be that your partner was married before and the ex was not a good person, hurting their son or daughter very much? Now, they are afraid to get to really know you, for fear their grown child may suffer at the hands of yet another spouse.
When in-laws have barriers, its usually brought on by fear of how their child is going to be treated. They have usually a lot of time and love invested in their child, and like all parents, have deep concerns for their child's happiness and emotional well-being.
In talking to your spouse, try to draw him/her out on how their upbringing was, any hard-life stories the parents may have had to endure. What are the parents interested in, hobbies, likes and dislikes. You are trying to find common ground here. The more family insights you gain, the better equipped you are to either help forge a better relationship or give it up as a lost cause.
Many factors, such as the above, should be considered. Your mate will love you all the more for trying to bring peace between their family and his new one, you. Being stuck in the middle is emotionally painful. So, what to do. Try these few tips:
1. Why not write the parents a loving letter, expressing what it is that makes you love their child so much.
2. Thank them for raising such a wonderful son/daughter. Express your appreciation for their role as good parents. Give them some credit for what a "fine" person your mate turned out to be.
3. Tell them you want to have a closer relationship because you want your spouse to be happy and you know they want that too.
4. If you do not get the response you would like, wait a few weeks and send them some flowers, just from you with a "thinking of you" theme. Be patient.
5. Ask your spouse to invite them over for a simple dinner. Ask if they will bring photographs of when their child was growing up. All parents love to show off their dearly held pictures of when their child was a little kid. This is a nice, non-confrontational way to open up a pleasant conversation.
Remember, you can only do so much. If you gain their love through patience and kindness, both you and your mate will win further happiness. If it does not work and they do not respond in kind, just accept it and content yourself with the thought "I did what I could." Do not become frustrated and argue with your spouse telling them "your parents are....filling it in with hurtful words." You won't hurt the in-laws, only your marriage.
Life is full of challenges and changes. Allow your mate to spend time with their parents every now and again. Use the time to do something you would like to do. If they try to tell your spouse you are flawed somehow, it is up to the spouse to defend you. You can save yourself a lot of grief by accepting the fact, these folks do not like me and there is nothing more to be said about it."
Chances are, the relationship will change for the better in time. At the very least, you will never regret having treated them kindly and making a gentle, huge effort to have them accept you. If they do not, it is their sad loss, not your's. You can walk away, but leave the door open because as time goes by and they notice their child is content and happy in their married life, they too will be happy and reflect that back to you.
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A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents
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