By: Julie Weaver, LPC
We all need some tips and reminders that could help us journey through our in law relationships. I know I do! Here are some ideas:
• Through your words Think of something in advance that you appreciate about them and remember to tell them when you meet with them or even when you call to make plans. For example: “I love that potato casserole you make, do you think you could bring that for Thanksgiving dinner?” “I love that you give the children your undivided attention when they talk to you. That’s one thing that makes you an extra special grandparent.“ Think of some of this in advance (be prepared) and then also look for things you appreciate when you are with them as well.
“Gratitude without words translates into rejection.”
-Stephen Nutt, Pastor of Creekwood Church Mansfield, TX.
People do not know our thoughts unless we tell them.
• Through your actions Showing them honor by some form of action shows gratitude. Find something they need done and care for them. Sincerity Be sincere. Don’t use compliments you do not mean. You want them to be sincere with you so set the example you want. Criticism • Don’t be brutally honest. There will be imperfect things about them, just as with you, but we don’t need to always discuss those, especially during holidays when things may already be tense. There may be times something needs to be said, but analyze your motives and be sure they are pure and not just critical. Inclusion
- Include them in as much of the planning as you can. Include them especially when planning a birthday/other event for their son or daughter. They may have their own ideas of how they would like to celebrate that event. If so there could be an additional event if needed or they could be included in your planning. But remember the three questions (from the “In laws and Holidays” blog) so you don’t offer a choice you have decided you cannot live with.
- You want to prepare yourself to do things at times to fit with your in-law’s family traditions or ideas. At times they may also know your spouse’s favorites better than you would on something. You may be surprised how much you enjoy some of their ideas once you try them.
- Give them the same grace you should give yourself. Things do not have to be perfect.
Remember to have fun and relax when with your in-laws.