We know that with the holidays approaching, family get-togethers can be fun, but they can also be stressful. Here are tips on how to get along with in-laws over the holidays. Keep these things in mind and you just might enjoy the next family gathering.
1. Team Work
This will be the basis of all successful in-law relationships, work together with your spouse-to-be. It is important to remember you are a team now and any conflicts you encounter with either side of the family should be dealt with together. If you can’t do this, the in-laws can quickly turn into “out-laws.” Being part of a team also means support. Never put your spouse-to-be in a situation where they have to choose sides between you and a relative, try to support their family relationships even if you have some differences.
2. Set the Standards
It is important to be open and honest with your spouse-to-be about your expectations of dynamics in learning to get along with in-laws over the holidays. Communication is key! Decide what is important and what is not. Talk with your fiancé (ahead of time!) about what the right amount of time spent with each side of in-laws feels appropriate to you both. Going into it understanding why and when you’re leaving might take a lot of stress off, and remember you can always adjust this next year if something didn’t feel quite right this season.
3. Topics to Avoid
There are certain topics to avoid when it comes to the holidays and mingling with the inlaws, but our top three are Politics (many a holiday table discussion has gone in the wrong direction with this one), Religion (with multicultural couples this could be a bad subject with older generations) and Children (you might not know if in-laws are all on the same page on this one, and more importantly, if they are on the same page with you, so best to steer clear of it). Remember, the in-laws are not your besties, and they aren’t YOUR parents; keeping this in mind will hopefully avoid a lot of arguments. Knowing ones’ place, and others as well will help guide what conversations are appropriate.
The Knot has some more great tips on navigating these topics.
4. Stay True to You
Don’t feel like you have to morph into someone you think your in-laws want… your soon-to-be spouse fell in love with you and that’s who he or she wants to spend the rest of his or her life with. Of course, you will need to compromise and be considerate, but in doing so be sure you stay true to yourself and stick to your guns! On the other hand, if something comes up that rubs you the wrong way and upsets you, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Give yourself time to cool off and consider their point of view. If you still feel the same way after giving yourself some time away from the situation, then consider talking to your spouse or in-laws about the situation after you’ve had time to settle down.
5. Focus on the Positive
You’re getting an addition to the family! Maybe it’s the big brother you never had or the large family get-together filled with light-hearted chaos, whatever it may be, focus on the positives of this new relationship. Having in-laws can become one of the greatest blessings in life, so cherish every moment and opportunity of this “getting to know each other” time period. Most likely you’re going to look back and laugh that you were nervous about learning to get along with in-laws over the holidays.
At the end of the day, the holidays are all about spending time with those you love and cherishing each moment. Check out ways to a few ways you can make your holiday season special between you and your SO.