As the daughter-in-law of a phenomenal mother-in-law and the sister-in-law to 5 wonderful sister-in- laws, I can’t say I can relate to this blog on a whole, but I have had to remember my place in my husband’s family dynamic on a few occasions over our 23 year marriage.
I’ve had the pleasure… or maybe not so pleasurable moments of having this conversation with not only a few of my friends, but also with my own mother who didn’t have the greatest relationship with her mother-in-law, and one thing I know for sure its’ never a pretty picture.
Yes, we’d all like to think that once we say “I do” that, we are all “family” and all is well in the world, …but unfortunately sometimes that day does come…the day when a family feud arises and your spouse decides get you involved,... Or the day when one of your In-laws decides to cross the line and chastise one of your children and your spouse doesn’t do anything about it. How do you handle this? What do you say? Do you give your spouse a reply?... Do you say something to your In-law?... Oh the stickiness of the whole situation.!....
Well there is no quick answer to situations like this. In certain instances maybe you should say something to your In-law and in others maybe you should just bite the bullet and let things go for the sake of peace in the family.
Listed below are 5 tips that may not keep the most toxic, volatile, or unstable families from going to blows with you or with each other, but if you put these tips into practice before any drama ensues, you just may keep your relationship with your In-laws stable, or neutral, if nothing else!
Tips for staying neutral in your spouse’s family feuds.
1. Never forget that your spouse will always be blood to his/her family and for them to forgive your spouse for something that was said or done will always be easier than forgiving you. There’s a reason for the saying “Blood is thicker than water.”
2. Always see how your spouse is feeling about an argument, disagreement or decision made by their family. It may not affect them the same way it affects you. Even if you think your spouse should be hurt by something that was said or done by one of their family members, always check their feelings before you go blindly into a response in their defense. They may not be as upset about the situation as you.
3. Always take into account your spouse’s family culture and dynamics. This means just because you did things in a certain way in your family when you grew up, doesn’t mean your spouse and their family did things the same way. For example you may have grown up in a house that never poked fun at each, but maybe your spouse grew up in a family that did this kind of joking all the time… making jokes about each other’s character or physical flaws (etc), but in your family this would have been considered tasteless and insensitive! OR maybe your father made all the decision in the family but in your spouse’s family, momma was the head and daddy just listened and did what he was told. These variants in family dynamics can make a big difference in a family’s structure, and understanding them can definitely play a part in how you and your spouse handle family feuds with each other and with each other’s family.
4. Always remember that your children are your spouse’s children, your spouse’s mother’s grandchildren and even your spouse’s sibling’s nieces and nephews. They will always be family, even if death or divorce takes you out of the picture. So always keep their relationships in mind when responding to family feuds.
5. Remember there are consequences to your actions. Saying something that’s on your mind or doing something about something you feel was an injustice to your immediate family may seem like the right thing to do at the time of the incident, but always remember that after you say or do something in retaliation that there are consequences to be made and paid. They could include you being ostracized from family gatherings, you could be shunned by family members or worst you could cause a rift between your spouse and their family. This is not to say that you shouldn’t say or do something about an injustice done to your immediate family, it’s just saying be ready for the consequences of your speech or actions.
Understand that not all family’s have issues such as this! The Brady Bunch (The perfect looking family) can be a real thing, even if you’ve never seen them… but if you find yourself in the midst of in-law issues or on the receiving end of one of your spouse’s family feuds, just keep in mind that not every issue in life needs to be address and that there are ways to defuse disagreements and rifts in family feuds;… because you never want a rift to get out of hand and cause a tidal wave between you and your in-laws.
Relationships Do Matter!