Friday, November 22, 2013
When choosing that special someone, remember that they come with something very special and sometimes something very “large and in charge” …their family. Tying the knot may also mean tying your mouth shut in certain instances. Your husband could end up being the odd one out who actually functions normally in society, while his three brothers and parents are diving off the deep end having a different midlife crisis from week to week. Conversely, his family could resemble a spitting image of the Brady Bunch and you will fit in like another pea in a pod.
Not sure how to handle the two extremes? You may feel that this challenge is almost as stressful as planning your wedding, but there are some helpful tips we would like to share with you to make things a bit easier.
You must remember that no matter what, they are now your family too, however whatever you say and do will not be easily forgotten. You shouldn’t lie or hide your feelings, but like your wedding cake, try sugar coating what you are trying to say. You don’t need to inform cousin Agatha that her drinking reminds you of a fish or tell your mother-in-law that when she clings to her son like a monkey on a tree, you feel like she is trying to take control of your marriage. Your words will be appreciated and accepted much more smoothly.
Speaking of watching one’s words, if your spouse’s family is overstepping their welcome in your lives, talk to your husband first to try and set boundaries before you address them directly. He may have his own way of talking to his parents and coming from him will seem more hospitable. If his brothers/cousins/uncles insist on coming over every night to watch the sports game, simply remind your partner that although you enjoy providing the men in his life with your household food, feeding a football team of Italians should only occur once a week at maximum. Eating their cold leftovers and scraps after the fact is just as much fun as trying to find bridesmaids dresses that you can shorten and wear again!
For better or for worse, you may end up having in-laws you can’t tolerate. I highly recommend you take this into consideration before getting married or even engaged. Can you control yourself around them? Can you negotiate and bargain and accept their quirkiness and brash manner? Is your love and relationship with your partner strong enough to handle the strain of potential Judge Judy-like arguments between “Future Mom” and yourself? Have a truthful and honest conversation with your spouse and remember that you two are a team. You must stand by one another and support the other without taking biased sides. This is not a situation like a bottle of wine, it does not get better with time. When you bottle things up, they get worse.
There is another aspect of marrying into the family one may have to consider if you have children from a previous relationship. If you or your spouse has children, you have to consider what is best for them. You are bringing them into a new marriage and they need to be slowly eased into the idea of a new family, a new set of grandparents, and a new family lifestyle. Your marriage will start off with children involved and this might affect your romance and freedom with your spouse. The decisions you make will have to be what is the best for the three, four, five, etc. of you.
There is no cookie cutter “right” way to handle the transition of joining two families but what can help are honesty, open communication, compromise and teamwork between you and your spouse. With those key ingredients any blended family has the potential to become more functional than the Kardashians.