How to Get Along with Your In-Laws

The relationship with your in-laws can be a tricky one to navigate. It’s imperative to remember that they are an important part of your spouse’s life and, by extension, yours. Whether you are a newlywed or have been married for years, building a positive and healthy relationship with your in-laws can make all the difference in your marriage and in your life. In this blog post, we will be discussing some effective strategies that can help you get along with your in-laws.

Communication is key

Clear communication lays the foundation for any healthy relationship. It is important to share your thoughts, feelings, and expectations with your in-laws in a respectful and honest way. Practice active listening, avoid assumptions, and ask questions when needed. By expressing your boundaries and preferences, you can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

large family at table-woman facing younger women .
Photo by Maryia Plashchynskaya on retrieved 4/21/23

Enforce boundaries

It is important to set boundaries early on, but you must also be prepared to enforce them if necessary. This means standing your ground without becoming aggressive or confrontational. Instead, calmly explain the reasons behind your boundaries and stick to them. I know we are all used to hearing “No is a complete sentence”.  However,  sometimes helping someone understand the reason for your no will help them respect it. This is especially true when issues with grandchildren arise.  This will help establish a relationship of mutual respect and understanding.

Show empathy

Try to put yourself in your in-laws’ shoes and understand where they are coming from. Practice empathy by listening to their concerns and showing that you care about their feelings. This will not only help you build a stronger relationship with them but also make them more understanding of you.

Although your marriage is about you and your spouse, it changes the dynamic in the entire extended family.  This may be a difficult transition for your in-laws.  Thus, some of their behavior may be more about them adjusting to this than anything personal with you. 

Be willing to compromise with your in-laws

In some instances, you may need to compromise on certain things to maintain a harmonious relationship with your in-laws. This may involve  bending some of your routines to accommodate them. It can be a difficult conversation and a frustrating situation, but keep in mind that it’s often worth it in the long run.

Be a good listener

Sometimes in-laws may want to share their opinions or advice with you. Let’s be honest, sometimes they overshare. Even if you don’t agree with everything they say, it is important to listen patiently and respectfully. You can acknowledge their point of view, express gratitude for their input, and share your own perspective in a non-confrontational way. By being attentive to their thoughts and feelings, you can build trust and empathy.

Spend time with them

Finally, one of the best ways to get along with your in-laws is simply to spend time with them. Engage in activities that you all enjoy, such as cooking or watching movies. Get to know them as individuals and treat them as you would any other friend or family member. By showcasing your genuine interest and affection, you will undoubtedly win them over in the end. This is a great guide to maintaining your own comfort while spending time with in-laws.

Respect your in-laws culture and traditions

In-laws may come from a different culture or  religion.  By definition, they come from a different generation.  It is essential to respect their beliefs and practices, even if they differ from your own. If you have questions or are curious, you can ask them to share their customs or stories. By being culturally sensitive, you can avoid making assumptions or offending your in-laws unknowingly.

Set realistic expectations 

Lastly, remember that building a relationship with your in-laws may not happen overnight. It may take time to get to know each other better, learn from your differences, and find a comfortable rhythm. Avoid pressure, negative stereotypes, or unrealistic expectations. It is also a good idea to keep some healthy space. Focus on the positive aspects of your in-laws, and give yourself and them grace as you navigate this new chapter.

Developing a healthy relationship with your in-laws can be a source of joy and support in your marriage and family life. By communicating effectively, finding common interests, respecting their culture and traditions, being a good listener, and setting realistic expectations, you can build a positive connection. While challenges may arise, remember that patience, kindness, and respect can go a long way in creating a meaningful and lasting bond with your in-laws.

Need help getting along with you in-laws? Email us now to set up an appointment.

About the author: Sharon Fisher, MS PMHNP-BC, PMH-C is the founder of Nurtured Well, LLC where we help women navigate all sorts of relationships.  She also sometimes prefers her in-laws to her own family,

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