Do your in laws drive you crazy? Do you hate them? Do you wonder how your spouse came from such obnoxious people? Does it annoy you when your spouse sticks up for them? How could your spouse not see how incredibly infuriating they can be?
Does your father in law clearly favor other grandchildren over yours? Does your sister in law gossip about you as soon as you leave?
I hear complaints all the time from friends about how much they cannot stand their in-laws. One complains because her mother in law is always in their business. One complains because her father in law constantly favors the other grandchildren and doesn't give her children time of day. One friend complains that her in-laws look at their son (her husband) as worthless, and look at her sister-in-law as the golden child who can do no wrong.
They complain how difficult in-laws can make the holidays, how everything is about them and everything is always a dramatic problem. Don't you HATE your in laws? They're always doing something WRONG aren't they?
Well, if you hate your in-laws, you've come to the right place. I've got one word for you and I want you to take me serious when I say it. I want you to read this entire post because if you hate your in-laws, you need to hear this.
I know that is not what you want to hear right now, believe me I get it. Just hear me out. It's time to stop hating your in-laws and here is why. When you hate your in-laws, you put a serious damper on your marriage. Think about it, what if you complain to your spouse every time your in-laws do something to tick you off. How is your spouse going to feel when something (God forbid) happens to one of your in-laws one day? What if your mother-in-law died tomorrow suddenly? What if your brother-in-law gets cancer? Your spouse WILL RESENT YOU. I promise you, your spouse will at some point begin to resent you. If something happened to one of his family members, and now all of a sudden you decide to try and comfort him... he's probably going to feel a lot of frustration and negativity towards you for always being negative about them.
Put yourself in your spouse's shoes. How would you feel if he constantly complained about your parents or family? Would you feel mad resentment towards your spouse if something then suddenly happened to one of your family members?
Keep reading, I have more for you.
Listen, I get it. In-laws can be annoying. Think about it, they may have complete OPPOSITE family values as you and your family did growing up. That's ok! BUT - you have to be your spouse's safe space. If your spouse ever starts to bash his family, you may want to dive right in and say "Oh you think that's bad, you should've heard what your mom said to me last week!" Don't you just want to hop right in on that chance to start bashing those irritating creatures that make your existence hell some days?
Listen, don't. Don't give in. Instead, if your husband vents to you about something one of them said or did... breathe and BE HIS/HER SAFE SPACE. Do NOT bash, instead... be positive. He loves his family, no matter how annoying they may be. He doesn't want to hear his other-half (you) confirm his negative feelings. He wants you to be positive and try to help the situation, not make him feel worse about his family. Say something positive and uplifting, even if you don't want to. I promise, your spouse will love you so much for it. You will become their safe space and that's what our spouses want.
Sure, in-laws CAN be toxic, I know this and I've seen it in many situations over the years. It's up to you to not engaged in that toxic environment. Do your best to keep a positive attitude, and maybe cut your in-laws some slack. Are they "really" that bad? If the answer is yes, after you've taken a step back and fairly accessed, then by all means... spend less time around them. Don't hold your spouse back from spending time with them, but maybe you could start to fade into the background a little bit. Do it in a positive way and never let anyone know it's because you "don't like them."
Oh, I would love to go to your mother's brunch today honey but I already promised my girlfriend we would have lunch and go over some ideas for her new business. I know the kids will love going, i'll help them get ready! Tell your parents I said hi!"
You want to become the safe space, not the scary witch your spouse begins to hide from.
Not only does hating your in-laws put an invisible rift in your marriage (that I promise one day will grow to be very un-invisible) it adds stress to both of you. Do you understand what stress does to a person? Whatever your in-laws have done to make you mad this time, brush it off. I'm serious, laugh it off and say "well they're at it again!" Talk it out with God if you have to, but do not let it fester. Do not let it consume you. Do not let your spouse see you angry. Do whatever you have to do to quickly brush it off and return to your happy place. Stress causes illnesses and major problems in our bodies. Are they worth losing your hair over? Are they worth adding wrinkles to your face? Are they worth releasing toxic stress chemicals into your body?
I promise you, no matter what your in-laws do... if you just choose love, you will feel so much better.
Now, if the in-laws are getting out of control, I totally think it's best to sit down and have a very positive and calm talk with your spouse about it. Again, try to put yourself in their shoes and think of how you would want them to approach you if the tables were turned.
So remember why you need to stop hating your in-laws:
1. Your spouse can start to re-sent you and you don't want that.
2. You want to be your spouse's safe space - you want them to feel like they can confide in you and you won't be a negative monster that makes them feel worse. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were upset about a family member and confided in your spouse, how would you want them to respond? Be positive, even if you really really really don't want to!
3. You want to be the bigger person, after a while when you just continue killing everyone around you with kindness no matter what jerk moves they make... imagine how that is going to make YOU look... and how it's going to make THEM look.
4. Ignore favoritism, it's their loss not yours
5. Have a calm talk with your spouse so they know how you feel and maybe they can come up with some solutions. With everything you do, have a good attitude. You will thank me later.
Choose love, cut them some slack... choose kindness. Everyone will see it, I promise.