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Friday, July 6, 2012

{Aisle Say by Candice}: Mother-in-law: Friend or Foe?

For some ladies, hearing those 3 little words can give them an instant headache! In-laws can be difficult, intrusive, controlling and opinionated but it’s definitely worth trying to get on with them as there are many years ahead and having a smoother ride will be more enjoyable.

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Boundaries These are like invisible little fences which can be very effective for separating and distinguishing different zones/areas. You and your husband-to-be will need to work as a team to put the ‘fences’ up and maintain them. If you can get healthy boundaries established it will be a valuable tool to keep respect and harmony between families. Boundaries come in many forms:

What you tell them: avoid involving them in any of your arguments and stick to positive things to say about each other in their company.

Time & holidays: weekends are precious and you must agree on how often you want to see each other’s parents. Is it going to be every weekend or a dinner once a week or a lunch once a month?

Decision making: together you are now your own family unit so all important decisions must be made by the two of you. In-laws will always want to offer advice but you must still make the final decisions.

Social events(birthdays, special occasions): you need to share and experience these special dates with both sets of parents, if possible. Discuss how you will you rotate the hosting responsibilities for Christmas holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter holidays etc.

Remember to be compassionate and think about how you would want your child to treat you one day under similar circumstances. A mother who has dedicated the last 3 decades to loving and worrying about her son will find it very difficult to relinquish his welfare to his spouse. Each family is protective over their own and that is very natural. They want what’s best for you and to see you happy but it is very hard for a mother to let their child go in order to live and learn about life as an adult.

Remember you fell in love with her son, so she must have done something right as a parent.

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General pointers

• Never force your spouse to choose between you and their parents. It’s very unfair and will just make matters worse.
• Don’t feel obliged to call her “Mother” or “Mom” unless you have a warm, friendly relationship. If you need to be more assertive then calling her by her first name will help set the tone for an equal relationship.
• Recognize and avoid actions or words that may trigger conflict. If your Mom-in-law is an efficient time-keeper then try not to be late.
• Compliments go a long way, as a woman you know how good it feels. Find a genuine compliment, such as: “those are pretty earrings”, “I like your new hair-cut”, “that colour suits you”, “what a delicious meal.” This will give her a little confidence boost and change her mood. Give compliments that you truly mean because false compliments will sound insincere.

When it comes to your Mother-in-law don’t get caught in the cliché trap. You don’t need a mean “Monster-in-law”, like in the movies. Take a closer look and decide if your mother-in-law is really as bad as you think. She is your husband’s mother and while she may or may not become your friend, she does deserve your respect and vice versa.

Tip for the Bride-to-be: Be aware that you don’t want to be labelled as the grumpy/sour/moody/selfish daughter-in-law either. Some effort from your side will pay off in your favour in the end, so persevere in creating a healthy relationship with your beloved. He will love you more for it.

Contact Candice* at Live Love Dream and invest in a Pre-Marriage Course to ensure your Happily Ever After.

*With a Degree in Psychological Counselling, Candice Luck of Live Love Dream specialises in presenting fun, modern Pre-Marriage courses, that assists couples in building a marriage based on communication, transparency and connection.

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