Surviving the In-Laws
My in-laws came to visit my wife and I for the first time since we got married. Although I had no idea what to expect, we had great conversations and did fun activities to make all of us feel more at home in each other’s company.
#1 Have no expectations.
If you expect your in-laws to be nice, you may be disappointed by the little hurts that are normal in any family dynamic. If you expect them to be mean or demanding, you might miss out on the funny or sweet moments that explain who your spouse grew up to be. That’s why I recommend just keeping your eyes open to the good things about them, and not expecting anything at all.
#2 Make a plan and ask for their input.
A plan may sound a lot like having expectations, but it isn’t. Having a plan allows you to have some structure, if needed. Check out local tourist spots etc etc By knowing this information beforehand, you can make suggestions if it seems the day is starting to drag.
In preparation for my in-law’s recent visit, my wife and I made suggestions of ideas for activities. And what did they enjoy the most? Breakfast on Table Mountain, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens, Open top tour bus and shopping the world in Canal Walk! (Girls will always be girls)
#3 Don’t completely abandon your normal routine.
Just because you are hosting your spouse’s parents doesn’t mean you suddenly have more patience and good cheer than usual. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. The more time you spend catering to their preferences, the more energy you expend by making things different from your customary methods.
My in-laws were great about understanding this. After a long day at work, I sorely missed the time I ordinarily get to spend with my wife and daughter sharing the days ups and down. SO I called my wife a-lot during the day to catch up with her, and then as much as I could I would join her in the kitchen to cook and clean- then we could talk ‘privately’ and gossip about our parents 🙂 Other times … actually most times we all helped around the house cooking and cleaning and feeding/entertaining the baby etc
Introduce your close friends
I have learnt that it is important for your parents know and meet your friends. This helps get rid of fears that most parents have about their children being lonely and in want of friends and family when they live far away from home. We are blessed to have many such friends who hosted our parents for dinners and lunches!
Your in-laws are coming to visit because family is important to them. Now, you are a part of their family. Offer them ideas on what you can do together, and listen attentively to their preferences while still asserting your own. These simple steps will help you to relax and enjoy the people who made your beloved spouse who he or she is today. Overall we had an awesome time together. We were blessed to have them over and I pray that we shall be blessed by many more such visits. Like they said to us … most people dont get to live with their parents for a month at a time after they leave home. SO this was a rare blessing to us!
So folks … dont you be scared of the In-Laws … or else pray that you get great in-laws like I did!!