Written by Elizabeth Badejo - Nigeria.
One of the fundamental challenges newly wedded couples are most likely to face in the early stage of their marriage is how to manage their in-laws. The relationship between every couple and their in-laws is very important to the success of their marriage, especially their involvement and emotional support in troubled times. On the other hand, when a good relationship is lacking, it can certainly cause friction between the couple and their in-laws.
There may also appear to be a divided loyalty between your newly consummated marriage and some key members of your spouse's family when certain steps are not taken before you make that life changing commitment. In-laws are very important people in the lives of every couple but they can also create hostility and stress between spouses who have emotional and psychological loyalties to their own certain members of their families.
There are some gender differences between men and women when it comes to managing relationships with in-laws and men find it easier to build a relationship with their in-laws in respective of their age or character. Women on the other hand evaluate relationships differently as they are more likely to get emotionally involved with their in-laws and sometime take up responsibilities for them in order to safeguard their marriage.
Get a life
In-laws play a very significant role in the marriage process and their encouragement and support cannot be underestimated but unfortunately, it is not impossible to witness a reversal of that role just months into the wedding too.
The purpose of your marriage is to find a soul mate to set out on this beautiful journey together and not become dependent on your families or in-laws. Learn to solve your marital problems yourselves without the interference of your families and in-laws as it is only when you can solve little problems alone that the bigger ones would certainly not consume you.
This may sound unrealistic or impossible to achieve considering the fact that you are setting boundaries for your families but in reality, it is simply a way to emphasise the importance of focusing on your marriage and avoiding any form of interference from everyone, including your in-laws. It is important to communicate your thoughts with your families so that they understand your reasons and hopefully share your feelings too.
Assertiveness is key
It is important that your in-laws understand your intentions right from the beginning of your marriage, as in doing so, you will avoid conflicts by discerning their motives and by refusing to allow these conflicts to cause contention between you and your spouse. It is more honorable to be assertive with your spouse and in-laws by negotiating the role that you want your in-laws to play so that you and your spouse and all concerned can have a clearer understanding too.
Building a good and strong relationship with your in-laws is fundamental but also ensure that boundaries are set to avoid unnecessary friction.
It is imperative that you hold your spouse in strict confidence so that you can both stand up together for what you both believe in.
Families and in-laws lend their support when you need them, remember that they are part of your marriage success story too.