You’re not just marrying your fiancé….. you’re marrying into his or her family and it’s in everyone’s interest if you purposefully focus on building a positive relationship with them.
Pre-wedding planning can often cause relationships to become strained. However, this can also be an ideal time to put extra effort into ensuring you and your partner’s family get along together. The groundwork for a long and positive relationship is thus begun.
Photograph by Andy Dean – Fotolia
- Focus on getting to know your new family, finding the value in what they bring to your life and the benefits of the relationship you and your partner can build with them. It is likely to be a long one, like your marriage, so is worth cultivating.
- When it comes to the wedding, if they offer advice or ideas – why not at least listen? Thank them and promise that you will think about their suggestions. If you were to take on board at least 10% of what they said, what could that be? Make sure you get back to them and let them know.
- Think about what could be prompting their desire to be involved, rather than focussing on what you don’t like about what they’re saying. Perhaps they just want to feel useful. Can you feel some compassion and gratitude? Often, interfering in-laws genuinely want to help.
- It may be they just don’t know your boundaries. Remember – it’s not their fault if they don’t know what works and doesn’t work for you. This is your opportunity, with your partner, to agree your boundaries and gently and patiently explain them to your in-laws. This can be positive groundwork for the future. For example – Perhaps you’d love to speak to them regularly but can’t quite manage every day. Twice a week might work though?
- Could you let go of a small part of the wedding (perhaps something specific and self-contained) and give it to them to be completely responsible for? Will it really matter if the place cards are not exactly as you would like or the favours for the guests don’t quite colour coordinate with the flowers? The benefit of your in-laws feeling valued and involved would outweigh any clash of colour or other mis-match!
Whilst this might feel like the most important day of your life, it is only one day. Think beyond it and see how important your in-laws could be to your future – not just when you need to borrow money or are stuck for a babysitter but by being an important part of the support network for you and your new spouse.
Just as importantly, remember that they are responsible for nurturing the wonderful person you are about to marry. They must have done something right, so perhaps what they say is worth at least listening to!
Focusing on the benefits of building the relationship throughout the run-up to the wedding might just result in a long-term gain.