The focus of this post is handling the relationship dynamics of invasive, but well-meaning parents. The impact on your marriage could be very costly and damaging if it is not well managed. The couple have to be mature psychologically and spiritually. I have always mention that marriage is for matured adults, not babies. Your level of maturity will go a long way in determining the level of success in your home.
When you understand the place of money in your relationship as detailed in the previous post, you also need to understand and manage the relationship dynamics of your In-Laws. Some of the useful tips are explained below;
The couple need to pay attention to the following tips;
1. Respect and attentiveness.It is clear that their season and the uniqueness of their challenges are quite different from yours. Therefore, some views might be a bit different if not totally tilted from what currently obtains in your case. But one thing is needful, listening. The most important thing is to be attentive if they had to advice in your case. You have a responsibility to use the very useful ones to make progress in your marriage. In return, you need to appreciate them for their genuineness to see your marriage succeed.
2. Need for clarification.There are cases where some In-Laws have an opposing view to some financial decisions. It could be some or all of; properties in the city or suburbs, choice of school for children, choice of location etc. You need to clarify with fewer words, but not with unnecessary details that could be misunderstood at the end of the day. The point here is balance. For instance, my parents wonders why I have not come to my home town to start building. They meant well, only that the way it works now is different from the way they would have expected it. I had to make a bit of clarification to her. I said while we have investments in the city, it doesn’t mean in no distant time we will not have some back at home. I made it clear we already have a landed property in the city which we are currently working on. I don’t have to go into the details of the financial figure. The important thing is that they are made to see the importance we attach to there view, and also how we are working on what is expected from them.
3. Calmness and Firmness.In clarifying issues, there is a need to be calm and firm. Few of the things you do that relates to money matters will not really be acceptable to your In-Laws, but without firmness, things could go out of control when unnecessary room is given for interference. You have to stand for the vision you already have for your family. Does this mean you discard their advice? Absolutely not. What is expected is a display of understanding,maturity and diplomacy. This is because not all suggestions will fit into the picture you already have for your family. And in trying to achieve this, firmness with reasons will be necessary. The flip side to this is that when you don’t maintain a position, you will yield to virtually everything they suggest.
4. Maturity.The level of maturity you display will go a long way in determining the extent of involvement of your In-Laws. The level of involvement has the potential of taking over and making decisions on your behalf in your marriage if not checked and managed well.
5. Responsibility. The husband must take the responsibility of shielding his wife from her In-Laws. While it is not all cases we have difficult In-Laws, the husbands need to note this and ensure that the wife is protected. The interesting thing about this is that a man’s fault is easily overlooked and forgiving than the wife. There is a way the fault is explained away when it has to do with their son. But much lesser mistakes are usually magnified and used to label the wife. The husband must therefore stand for his wife and take responsibility, even when she makes mistakes once in a while. The issue can therefore be dealt with privately, but never publicly.
6. Agree on Allowances for your parents.There must be an established and agreed budget to be sent to In-Laws on a regular basis. I usually advice that wife gives to her In-Laws while the husband also give to his In-Law as many times as possible. This will send a strong signal of sense of belonginness.
The route you take in dealing with relationship dynamics with your In-Laws will determine the impact it will have on your marriage. Applying some or all the tips given above aid you in the right direction. Approaching it in a contrary vein will pose strain, friction, arguments, quarrel and or disagreements among your family and In-Laws. The decision lies before you to choose from.
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