Are you looking for Christian relationship help in dealing with your difficult in-laws? Are you wondering how God wants you to deal with them? God wants you to respond in a way that protects your marriage instead of damaging it. Here are four tips you can use to deal with difficult in laws that will minimize the damage they can do to your life and marriage. Interestingly, they all have to do with your response to them since you cannot force them to change:
- Recognize this has the power to ruin your life when you get so upset over it that it consumes you and bleeds over on to your relationship with your spouse. Try to keep a balanced perspective by overlooking the little things and confronting the big things.
- Recognize the expectations you had about your in-laws. Did you want the mother/father you never had? Do you have an affirming family that is affectionate and talkative or the opposite, cold and distant and the differences in this family are hard to adjust to? Any unmet expectations will make it harder for you. Work on letting go of your expectations and accepting them for who they are.
- You have to recognize why your spouse defends his/her family--even if they are weird, flawed, dysfunctional and broken. They are family and they have been around longer than you as the spouse. It isn't easy to distance yourself from your family or face the truth about them. If you criticize family too much, it may cause your spouse to side with them more. Love your spouse by recognizing it is normal for him/her to care about them and it doesn't mean you aren't loved.
- Try to deal with this in a way that brings you and your spouse together rather than apart. Bring up your concerns in as non-defensive a way as possible by focusing on your feelings and how the problem affects your relationship. Then ask specifically for what you need your spouse to do to make the situation easier for you and try to work together to set boundaries. It is only when your spouse refuses to support you at all that you will have to set boundaries with your spouse regarding his/her family.
Recognize that working out something as complex as in-law problems will take time, grace, wisdom, self-control and prayer even with these four tips.. It is a trial that will definitely make you more mature (James 1:4).