It has become a well-established cliché that getting along with your in-laws is as challenging and tedious as negotiating costs with your wedding caterer or arranging your wedding seating plan. Luckily, not all newlyweds struggle with in-law irritation, but for those of you who may need a helping hand, here are the top seven tips to impress your new ‘mum and dad’.
Impress the in-laws tip 1: Find common ground
Nothing says friends more than a shared interest, so find out your commonalities and enjoy them together. Perhaps your in-laws enjoy tennis or fine dining – there are plenty of things you can enjoy together. While you may think it’s in your best interest, forging what you have in common will backfire sooner or later – you have been warned.
Impress the in-laws tip 2: Look after your spouse
Surely one of the main things you’re being ‘tested’ on as a new son or daughter in-law is your ability to care for your spouse. Now you’re all grown up, the responsibility of care changes hands from the parents to the partner, so you need to show you’re in it for the long run. Make your in-laws aware of the ways you care for your spouse – whether it’s doing the housework if they’re working late, caring for them when they’re ill or making them their favourite dinner once in a while, it all goes towards impressing them.
Impress the in-laws tip 3: Promise them grandchildren
While you may not be in the position to start planning a family just yet, dropping hints to the in-laws of your future offspring may make them warm to you. There comes a certain age where all you want is to be a grandparent, so giving them hope of this may win them over. Of course, you should never feel pressured to be a parent, and be sure to tell them honestly if starting a family isn’t in your future plans, but it could just be the sweetener you need.
Impress the in-laws tip 4: Spend time together
If at first you don’t see eye to eye with your in-laws, make the effort to spend time together. You might find that your first impressions are not accurate and that there is more to learn about their personalities, interests and lifestyles. Try not to see them as ‘your partner’s parents’, and instead see them as individuals. Go for a drink or to the cinema, or just visit their home and try to enjoy one another’s company.
Impress the in-laws tip 5: Be a saint
While you don’t want to put on a front which you can drop as soon as your in-laws aren’t around, it does work in your favour to be on your best behaviour. Mind your manners, be complimentary and attentive – small gestures can go a long way, such as offering to clean the dishes or bringing wine, flowers or food when they are hosting. Above all, don’t get drunk when they’re around and always dress demurely – especially you, ladies! Flashing your flesh is not the way to your in-laws’ hearts.
Impress the in-laws tip 6: No hanky panky
Despite point 3, parents will try to convince themselves that their son or daughter doesn’t have sex – in a similar way to how you would never want your parents or in-laws to know you have sex! When it comes to family holidays, or even the morning after the wedding, be discreet about any naughty goings on, and keep public displays of affection to a minimum when in their company (of course, your first kiss as man and wife is allowed!).
Impress the in-laws tip 7: Bite your tongue
It is quite common, especially throughout the wedding planning process, to resent your in-laws’ input. They’re from a different generation and might be overly protective of their son or daughter –these are things that eventually make you want to snap. But to keep the harmony, and to avoid falling out with your partner (after all, your in-laws are their parents), try to bite your tongue and go along with their suggestions as much as you can bare – it will be worth it in the long run.