My marriage will clock eleven years this year, and it has been an interesting journey filled with ups and downs, seasons of agreements and disagreements, and In-Laws related issues. I grew up in a family that was socially bonded, had healthy parent-children relationship over decades. With this background, having a wife come in detaches the man from his family and this will cause some rocking within his family. What I experienced was a display of suspicion, threat of losing a son relational wise, especially with our cultural differences. My early years went through these teething problems where my wife had serious issues with my family. Some of the causative factors that I observed in all this uproar were differences in approach to issues, the style of children upbringing, perspective to quality and quantity which informs the language of waste or prudence. The subject of In-Laws is such a delicate one in marriage. This is very important to the newlyweds because what you allow from the beginning in your marriage, IF allowed to go on will be difficult to reverse afterwards. It is therefore very necessary you get it right from the beginning. Make your stand known from the inception and let it raise possible dust, so it can gradually settle later on in your journey. The role of In-laws could either strengthen or destroy marriages, depending on how it is handled. It is worthy of mention that there is a knowledge gap between what is expected and what is obtainable. The degree of effect this has on marriage varies from culture to culture depending on the belief system of the couple. I am from a culture where there is strong attachment to families. It is believed that your family has a part to play in your new family before, during and after the wedding ceremony. The idea is; that spirit of oneness should continue. There is other belief system that sees the bride as the wife of the entire family, a situation where she has to give regard to all the siblings of her husband much younger in age to her. The dynamic nature of In-Law’s influence therefore calls for maturity and wisdom. Marriage also brings two parents together. The same way the newlyweds tries to understand each other better, parents of both parties also face the issue of trusting the root where their child is to be married to. This state of mind makes In-laws observe the marriage with keen interest, even after the wedding. The seeming “suspicious observation” whether it will succeed or not put a responsibility on the couple to be sensitive to their In-Laws, as it has the potential to make or break the relationship. This does not mean that couple should now streamline their life on In-Law’s expectations. You are not to live your life on another person’s template. Marriages have their uniqueness, and must not be copied with its methodology. The principles are to be drawn instead of the style. This is because there are two different individuals with varying background experiences; culture, religion, economy, environment etc. I will appreciate your opinion and personal experiences on the following questionnaire items. This will help the next post address the uniqueness of your issue(s). I intend to address real issues and not assumed issues, so its impact could be maximized. All feedback can be sent to the feedback form link below;
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF IN-LAWS 1. Give due respect to In-Laws, but over-caring influences on spouse and children should be avoided. 2. Do not take sides with them in any attack against your spouse. You must speak with one voice. The husbands need to deliberately shield their wives, even when they are wrong in some occasions. The impact of exposing your spouse to your parents far outweighs shielding him/her for any wrongs s/he might have made. 3. In-Laws should be helped as much as resources permit. Undue preference should not be given to the detriment of your own family. In-Laws are to be honored and deliberately cared for. There is a saying that what you make happen for one, God will make happen for you. There is a need to see thirty, fifty years ahead and put yourself in that position. Not that you will necessarily need resources from your children, but the fact that your life will be honored and appreciated for the investment you have made in their life. What goes round, comes around. 4. Maintain Balance. Make deliberate effort to strengthen relationship with your In-Laws. Don’t make your visit a once in a year type. Leverage on technology to ease communication, especially if you live far apart .In all that you do, avoid telling your In-laws everything about your family. This might be counter-productive because you might have varying view to some issues. 5. Leverage on principles and not methods. There might be strong values your parents lived by all this years, extract the values and adapt to your uniqueness. The values or principles will remain constant, but the style obviously will be different, considering the different seasons between your parents and your family. This explains why you should not tell them everything because interpretations will be different. The marriage life you live will either be an exciting one or full of horror. Appropriating the above tips in your home will make the running of your home effective and exciting. It turns it into a reference that other families will love to pattern after.
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