Authored by Rodney Southern in Relationships
Published on 10-07-2009
Virtually every spouse has at one time or another had some kind of issue with their mother in law. This is a time tested fact of married life. There is the occasional strange situation, however, when the mother in law and the husband or wife gets along great. This is rare, but it is not by accident. Usually it is because the mother in law and the spouse works at making it that way. There are ways to make this relationship just as strong as the one you have with your spouse, after all.
The first thing you need to do is to let your mother in law feel involved in your life. More often than not, the mother in law will feel a sense of loss when you marry their child. They are used to being the one that their children come to when they are in trouble or need advice. This role often shifts to the spouse when someone gets married, and that can lead to the mother in law feeling a sense of loss. You can offset this if you yourself go to her for advice every now and then. She will feel needed and likely your relationship will grow because of it.
Allow your mother in law time alone with your spouse. They still are going to want to do the mother and child thing now and again, and you should never feel threatened by this. Use this time to spend some quality moments with your own mother or father, or to go out with friends.
Let your mother in law be right sometimes, even when they clearly are not. One must remember that everyone is looking through problems with a different set of eyes. Not everyone sees everything in the same way. What may seem like a clear situation of right and wrong often is not when you change your point of view. If the situation is harmless and is causing no problems, then let them be right. You will be the beneficiary of it in the long run anyway.
Take your mother in law out to lunch once in a while. This small token of affection will go a long way towards trying to build a relationship with them. Time alone will allow them to get to know you. This is not always easy with your spouse around because they are always viewing you as the husband or wife, rather than the person underneath that title. Spend some quality time with your mother in law, and you just might discover that you like them too.
When you feel an argument rising with your mother in law, let the spouse handle it. Your spouse can argue with their parents safely, and without long term damage most of the time. If you argue with them, then there is a good chance that it will create a problem that lasts. Stay out of the family arguments, and let your spouse do the talking.
If you are in a corner and have no choice but to stand up for yourself, your spouse or your situation, make sure you remain respectful no matter what. If you cross that line, then you can never undo it. Keep yourself in control, and speak with love and respect. You can still make your point without losing your cool.