As a newlywed, one of the first things that will soon become a reality for you, is the adage of “you don’t marry one person, you marry and entire family.” In that regard, this may apply more to a new mother-in-law, rather than other extended family members. After all, you have now become the one that your spouse is probably going to rely on more than their mother.
Nevertheless, dealing with a new mother-in-law, in spite of many scripted opinions and perceptions, does not need to be much different than any other extended family relationship. Like most relationships, they need to be developed, nurtured, and build on a foundation of trust and respect.
In fact, and contrary to popular belief, most mother-in-law motives are based on a desire and willingness for the new marriage of their son or daughter to be successful. That being said, here are some suggestions for you to consider in dealing with your new mother-in-law that may help offset any potential marital anxiety.
Take the Lead in Establishing the Relationship
Being proactive and taking the lead in establishing a relationship with your mother-in-law will probably be well received and appreciated. For example, initiating occasional phone conversations and family get-togethers, beyond the normal holiday events, are a couple of ways that can enhance the relationship. Additionally, not only should this raise your credibility level, it could also pave the way in forming other extended family relationships.
Reach Out for Advice and Counsel
The fact of the matter is, in dealing with real life challenges and experiences over the years, your mother-in-law has probably acquired a significant amount of wisdom. As is the case in all new marriages, there will be times when problems will arise with no apparent solution in sight. More than likely, since your mother-in-law probably has encountered the same type of problems that you may face, she can be an excellent resource. By reaching out, and seeking advice on certain issues, not only can provide a solution, but will also foster the relationship.
Be Sensitive to Your Spouse’s Relationship with Their Mother
It is imperative that you are sensitive and respectful to the relationship between your spouse and their mother. Without question, although it may sometimes become difficult, there never should be any negative comments made to your mother-in-law regarding your spouse. Likewise, the same situation applies with your spouse concerning your mother-in-law. Even the slightest criticism can cause substantial and irreparable damage.
It’s Okay to Say No
More often than not, there will be occasions when you are simply too busy to accept an invitation or even to answer the phone. Although, at times, it may require some courage, it’s okay to decline, as long as it is done respectfully, pleasantly, and in some instances, smilingly. Besides, there is nothing wrong with ensuring that demands are not placed on you.
In short, by utilizing these suggestions in dealing with your new mother-in-law, can help develop a relationship that will be mutually beneficial and, equally important, reduce or eliminate any marital anxiety.