The struggle is real. Your mother-in-law is bent on pushing your buttons. Your father-in-law makes demands that border on being ridiculous – to you, anyway. But love them or hate them, you’ll need to get along, for the sake of your marriage. Read these tips to get you started.


 Image: imtmphoto/


#1 Respect is crucial 

They might be critical of you and openly show it, but that doesn’t mean you have to retaliate. Taking the high road might be difficult in these situations but you don’t want to validate their reasons for disliking you. By showing respect, it also signals how you want to be treated, and that you are open to finding common ground. Showing respect also means doing so regarding differences in culture and upbringing. 


#2 Put yourself in their shoes

Perhaps they seem nosey or offer unsolicited advice but it could also be that they’re insecure and want to remain in their children’s lives. Understanding the reason behind their actions also helps you put things in perspective and creates less resentment on your part.


#3 Setting boundaries

That being said, having boundaries is important. For example, it might not feel appropriate to you for your in-laws to appear at your home unannounced, much less request for your home keys. Convey your respect for their feelings, and that you will incorporate their ideas and advice when possible, but also be gentle but firm that you appreciate the need for marital or private family time. 

Photo: Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

#4 Don’t criticise your in-laws to your spouse

There’s a fine line between communicating how you feel about their treatment of you. Your partner will naturally have loyalty to his or her family, and attacking his or her loved ones will inevitably bring tension into your relationship. Instead of “How can he/she say that about me?”, consider rephrasing it into something like, “I’m a little uncomfortable with what he said regarding…” or “What your mother said had me confused.” (Also read: 6 ways to save your marriage when your mother-in-law hates you)


#5 The only person you can change is you

You’ve tried everything in the book but your in-laws are still rude, bossy or nosey. You can’t control their behaviour but you can control how you react to the situation. You don’t have to let their words or actions get to you but allow them to roll off your back. If what he or she is saying doesn’t threaten your relationship, it’s best to let it slide.