According to oxford Learner’s dictionary, in-laws are your relatives by marriage, especially the parents of your husband or wife.
Our marriage clocks thirteen years this year, and it has been an interesting journey filled with varying adventures (ups and downs, seasons of agreements and disagreements, and in-laws related issues). I grew up in a family where the family members are well bonded; we had a healthy parent-children relationship while growing up. With this background, having a wife come in has the tendency to psychologically detach the man from his family and this has the possibility of causing some reactions from his family. What I experienced was a display of suspicion from my parents towards my wife, the threat of losing the affection of a son, especially with the cultural differences of both parties. The early years of our marriage went through some teething problems as both of us had the issue of adjusting to the reality of a new family. Among the teething problems experienced are the following:
Differences in our approaches to issues.
The approach to be used to raise our kids.
Perspective to life. Perspectives in career path, location to settle in and what will be the contribution of our life to humanity.
The subject of in-laws is such a delicate one in marriage. This is very important to the newlyweds and people in courtship or dating. For the people in courtship or dating, you need to have information of what to expect and for the newly weds, you’ve got to have the right understanding and approach to dealing with this issue. This is because what you allow at the beginning of your marriage with respect to in-law related matters, IF not handled well with maturity, can either make or mar your marriage. It is therefore very important that you equip yourself with all the information that will be provided in this series.
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 extent of effect this has on marriages differs from one family to the other, depending on the level of understanding of the couples. I am from a culture where strong value is attached to families. It is believed that your family has a part to play in your life; before, during and after the wedding ceremony. The idea is; this spirit of togetherness should continue all through your life. There is another belief system that sees the bride as the wife of the entire family, a situation where she has to give respect to all of her husband’s siblings, including the younger ones even those younger than her in age.
Marriage brings two families together. The same way the newlyweds try to understand each other better, parents or guardians of both parties also face the issue of trusting the root of the family where their child is married to. This state of mind makes in-laws observe the marriage with keen interest, even after the wedding. The seeming “suspicious observation” of the marriage, whether it will succeed or not, put a responsibility on the couple to be sensitive to their in-laws, and this has the potential of interfering with their marriage. This does not mean that couples should streamline their lives to their in-laws’ expectations. You are not to live your life on another person’s template. In the same vein, it does not mean that the in-laws should be treated as toxic in your home. Marriages have their uniqueness; therefore, approaches should be different, even though the same principles can be applied to all. This is because there are two different individuals with varying background experiences; culture, religion, economy, environment and exposure.
The dynamic nature of in-law’s influences on marriage therefore calls for deliberate effort or attempt to make one’s marriage work.
In this series, we shall be looking at different angles with true life scenarios and then come up with advice to help us act better in order to experience success in our homes when dealing with in-laws issues.
How do I handle a situation where my in-law(s) has an over-bearing attitude towards my home?
2. When the wife puts to bed, which of the mothers should come over to take care of the baby?
3. Is it really appropriate that my in-laws should regularly buy stuffs (Food items, clothes etc.) for our home?
4. Is there anything wrong with leaving our child (ren) with our in-laws on a daily basis?
5. Is there anything wrong with telling my parents everything about my home? After all, they are my parents.
6. How can I manage difficult in-laws?
7. Is there anything wrong with allowing one of our children to be trained by my in-law?
Come along as we explore the adventure the involvement of in-laws bring into marriage.
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