Your in-laws are a crucial part of your spouse’s life and this makes them a crucial part of your life as well. Therefore, creating family harmony is possible and it is worth the effort.
Marrying the man or woman we admire and love is surely a dream come true. Yet dealing with in-laws can be tricky for both men and women. Doreen Nassozi, a family counsellor at Kitebi Hospital, says despite your differences, sharing a good relationship with your in-laws is vital. However, this starts with you.
Be open minded
With marriage, expectations are always high. However, Nassozi says being open minded is what determines the kind of relationship you are to build with your new family.
“Before you address them as opponents, get to know them in a more professional way. Appearance and character is what many couples get wrong. One’s appearance may not be appealing to you yet their character is warm and outstanding,’’ Nassozi explains.
She adds that you should ask your partner to draw a clear picture of their family tree to help you know each family member plus their interests, likes and dislikes. She says this puts the couple in a better position to know what to expect and how to get over it without conflicting with any of their in-laws.
According to Sr Lawrence Nakiwu, a counsellor at St France Clinic, Nalukolongo, regardless of the kind of message you want to pass on to your in-laws, it is best to communicate with them directly.
She says this might not come easily but the more you interact with them, the more you get an insight of who they are. However, she opines that many couples prefer communicating through a third party which she thinks is not bad but opening up to in-laws is genuine. Though some other times it might be misunderstood, take caution of how you approach them not to seem rude.
“My husband’s mother kept complaining about my cooking not until I had to find out why, only to learn that all she ever needed was just a little more salt added to the food food,’’ Gloria Nakinga, a mother of two, reveals. She adds that in most cases in-laws will not stay in your home for good and attending to their needs should only help you live in harmony with them for the time they are with you.
Nakinga says, “Let it not seem like they are trying to impose demands on you but try to look out for their good intentions and focus on that. Suppress your ego to take caution of what to do each time they are in your presence.”
Set and enforce boundaries
Edward Kyamanywa, a lawyer, says in the desire to impress in-laws many couples find themselves committing too much especially when the relationship has just started. “But ask yourself for how long will it last. Make family values clear to them from day one. Let them know the dos and don’ts of your household,” he says.
“For example, you could say that chores are a shared obligation that every member of the household has to take part in. With this rule, everybody in your household, including in-laws will know what to expect and how to behave,” he adds.
You are not a visitor
Each time you are at your in-laws keep in mind that you are no longer a visitor but a member of the family. Suppress your ego and get involved in any duties that are available. Nakiwu says help with the cooking, do the laundry and look after the children.
This will bring a special kind of affection towards the family besides showing your hidden talents. And the next time any of them is at your house they will freely extend the same services.
Remember that marriage is a lifetime commitment and getting along with your in-laws will.