I’ve always heard that when you marry your spouse, you marry their family as well. Yet I wasn’t prepared for how true that was until I the day I said I do.
As a young bride, I found myself trying to navigate in-law relationships with grace and poise. Yet I would often put my foot in my mouth or overstep my bounds. Honestly, I was far from the model daughter-in-law.
But through prayer and a lot of soul searching, here’s how I finally learned to be a gracious in-law. (Truthfully, there were LOTS of growing pains involved in my revelations! Beware!)
How to Thrive in In-Law Relationships
Families are filled with imperfect people with imperfect relationships. Over the years they accumulate passionate feelings about life, world issues, and of course, sports teams. And when you enter the scene, you may notice your views and values may not exactly line up.
Be cautious to treat all views, no matter how crazy they may seem, with respect and dignity. Listen to their opinions (and even their rants), without trying to sway another to your point of view, even if you know they’re wrong. (Yes, this can be SO hard!)
As a member of a large family, I’ve learned that it’s not always easy to navigate tough subjects, but it’s always necessary to respect the person. Often that means choosing your words carefully, politely agreeing to disagree, or simply choosing to not engage in a battle.
In order to establish a healthy relationship with your in-laws, it’s crucial to offer grace and understanding, even in tough situations.
Guard your tongue
In most families, there are times when someone will offend, upset, or simply annoy you with their words or actions. It’s funny how the biggest source of our tension can be those who are in our lives the most.
While it may be tempting to unleash your true thoughts and feelings in a careless and harmful way, choose your words wisely. Not only can we not take them back, but spewing hate and venom (even when you feel justified!) causes tension and unrest.
Yes, some people are difficult and their prickly personalities make you want to run and hide. Yet choosing to guard your tongue and withholding harmful words and comments will build up a spirit rather than tear him/her down.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
More Tips for In-Law Relationships
Handle conflict carefully
It goes against our human nature to turn the other cheek when we’re wronged or feel someone else is incorrect.
Yet conflict should be handled with the compassion of Christ, not with hurtful and damaging words!
Sometimes that means you step away from a situation and take time to pray about how you should respond.
Other times it means taking the higher road and leaving God as the ultimate judge.
Yet in other moments, it means forgiving infractions time and time again.
However, showing the love of Christ, even in messy moments, isn’t impossible. God is faithful to provide strength and gives us self-control to guard our tongues and actions. In His name, we are able to show grace and choose our words carefully, even when it’s not deserved.
While dealing with in-laws may be a tough situation, you can thrive and learn to have a healthy relationship. With God as the ultimate peacemaker, you can love each other well despite flaws and conflict!
What strategies do you use to have healthy in-law relationships?