Everyone has different experiences with the families they marry into. Some have real-life horror stories when it comes to in-laws and others have great experiences, making it easy to love their new family. I can’t say I have experienced awful in-laws, but I know what it’s like to have to get used to a new family, especially during the holidays. When my husband and I got married we decided we would alternate Thanksgivings with our families. Every other year we alternate between being with my family in Indiana or here in Columbus with my husband’s family. This decision wasn’t difficult because we both enjoy being with our families, but boy did I miss (and still miss) being with my family on holidays. Getting used to new people, traditions and ways can be exciting and interesting, and for some, uncomfortable.
In recent months I have had conversations with people who are newly weds or who are soon to be married. In every conversation the topic of in-laws came up. So, for those who are apprehensive about spending the upcoming holidays with in-laws, here are tips to consider.
4 Tips, Plus a Bonus, on How to Survive Holidays with In-Laws
Tip #1: Be Yourself
What do they/will they think of me? Am I too loud am I too nice? Stop questioning who you are. You don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything that you aren’t. There’s no need to conform to be accepted. Your in-laws should love you for who you are. If they don’t, that is a their problem and they will have to get use to you being you.
Tip #2: Be Genuine & Honest
Along with being yourself, be honest. You’re allowed to express yourself and voice your opinion even if it isn’t the opinion of the majority. Genuinely engage with the family. You may not become best friends with with every member of the family (which is ok), but allowing genuine relationships to develop should be your goal. You are family and should find a way to connect.
Tip #3 Bite Your Tongue
Just like your blood relatives, in-laws can sometimes say something to you or about you that rubs you the wrong way. Although it’s ok to peacefully defend yourself, some things are simply not worth the fight. Sometimes sharing your opinion isn’t appropriate or necessary, so be wise when responding or giving your two cents.
Tip # 4: They Aren’t YOUR Family
I know, in tip #2 I told you that your in-laws are your family, but hear me out on this tip. The best advice I have received in regards to adjusting to having in-laws is, “Everyone’s family is different.” This helped me to understand that it’s ok that your in-laws have traditions you’re not used to and that everyone doesn’t have to think the same way. You and your spouse don’t always see things the same way, why? Because people’s life experiences make them who they are, you will always run into people who aren’t exactly like you. At the end of the day, do your best to accept others for who they are.
You don’t necessarily like everyone you have ever come across. You aren’t obligated to like everyone and everyone isn’t obligated to like you; however, being cordial hasn’t ever hurt anyone.
If you’re brave enough to answer, how has your experience been spending holidays with in-laws?