How to Fit in With Your In-Laws

Spending time with a new family can take some getting used to.

You know when you were a kid and you spent the night at a friend’s house? Even if they just lived down the street, they probably did some things differently from you. This likely led to feeling a little uncomfortable while you stayed there, even if your friend’s family was warm and welcoming. Spending time with your (future) in-laws will be like this – but for the rest of your life. Of course, after years of marriage, you will become more accustom to how the other side of the family does things, but there will always be a new situation to be handled in an unfamiliar way. That’s why it’s important to know how to adjust to life with your in-laws.

how to adjust to spending time with your in-laws 
Photo by Jay Lawrence Goldman Photography; Floral Design by The Hidden Garden

The first step is to check in with your partner first so you know what to expect. If your family doesn't open presents on Christmas morning, but they celebrate on Christmas Eve, you’ll need to know! It’s also important to not complain about doing things differently. Unless something legitimately makes you uncomfortable, such as a custom that goes against your faith, it’s best to follow the adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Remember: Your spouse deals with the same unfamiliarity when spending time with your family. 

When it comes to your own home, it’s not only acceptable, but also encouraged, to set boundaries. If your sweetheart’s family is accustomed to dropping by the homes of family members unannounced, but that’s not okay with you, then make this clear. Be polite and explain you prefer for someone to call before coming over. Accept that their family may need a little time to get used to everything, just as you took time to adjust to things at their home. To prevent anyone from getting needlessly offended, it is best for your spouse to communicate any issues with their own parents, just as you should be the one to talk to your family about their behavior. You can also help each other in the moment, such as changing the subject when a conversation is about to reach a topic that will cause you to butt heads with your in-laws. However, if there is a situation where you feel personally slighted, it is best to address that on your own. 

For more relationship advice, learn how to bond with your future mother-in-law and sibling-in-law

Authored by: Emily Lasnier