How to Get Along with the In-Laws

Whether you’ve been married for a few years or just started dating, chances are you’re going to have to hang out with her parents once in a while. Some parents are inviting and easy-going, while others are a cruel version of “the parents” from Meet the Parents. You shave, put on your Sunday best, think of interesting topics of conversation in advance, but still seem to fall flat on you face. They hate you. Now what?

Understand Why They Don’t Like You
Reasons can range from cultural to career choices to your personal hygiene. Perhaps you don’t share the same religion or political beliefs. Or maybe her last boyfriend was “the one” — for her parents, that is. Ask your girl for some insight. Understanding is the first step to improving the situation.

Establish Willingness on Both Sides
Avoiding her parents may seem like the simplest solution, but it’s certainly not the most sophisticated. Earn her parents’ respect by approaching them to discuss your differences and show your dedication to their daughter. Discuss the best approach with your girl, and then leave her at home for this one. A candid conversation over coffee in neutral public territory where discussions can’t get heated can work wonders. When you report back to your lady, remember to never say anything negative about her parents even if she does.

Agree to Disagree
Think of her parents as a colleague you don’t get along with. You still have to be civil, cooperate and work together towards a common goal. In this case, your common goal is your lady’s happiness. Understand there are different ways to achieving your goal and agree to disagree on whatever gets in your way.

Try to Find Common Ground
So you don’t cheer for the same hockey team. Maybe you and her parents can connect on something else. Grill your girl about her parents’ likes and dislikes and their hobbies. You may discover that you all enjoy bird watching.

Don’t Give Up
While it may be temping to throw in the towel and forgo all future family affairs, try to persevere. Don’t change who you are for them, but be open to making some simple concessions. If they frown upon your love of death metal, lose the T-shirts and tunes in their presence. The bottom line is you’re “marrying” her parents, too. You have to be friendly even if you’ll never be friends.

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

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