Combining families after marriage can be challenging. You have additional parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents that you then have to get to know and create relationships with. But one of the more challenging relationships is between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. It's not guaranteed that everyone will like one another and get along. Getting along well with your spouse's family can be a major blessing in the long run. Even if you got off on the wrong foot, there's always something you can do to improve your relationship with her.
1. Get to know her
As much as she will want to know what you are about, it is good if you show the same interest in her. Don't just be answering her question, show her that you actually want to get to know her more and be closer in any way that you can.
2. Don't compete with her.
You both will have your own strengths and weaknesses. There's nothing wrong with that, so don't waste your time trying to outdo her. My mother-in-law is a great cook. I'm not. It's not worth it to waste my time stressing over the fact that she's better than me at something. Rather than trying to be better than her, I'll ask her for some of her favorite recipes and ask for her advice on making my meals more exciting.
3. Always offer help
Whenever she is trying to do something for the family or around the house, do offer to help even though you may think she doesn't need it. It is always a great gesture to offer and it will shows her how much you are trying to be in involved.
4. Be understanding.
Sometimes it can be hard for mothers to let go of their son and watch them get married and have another woman in their life. It's an adjustment for everyone. Try to be understanding and put yourself in her shoes. Think about how certain situations may make her feel, and how it would make you feel if you were in her position.
5. Ask for her advice in life
Doing this will show her how much you respect and value her opinion. This will really make her feel like you appreciate her and there is nothing better for a mother in law than knowing her future daughter in law actually wants to know her opinions on things that matter.
6. Ask her questions about her life.
This may seem simple, but it’s so important. Often, we only see our partner’s family as extensions of our partner, and we ignore the fact that they have their own lives, histories, and passions. So, try asking your mother-in-law more about herself. Whether she runs her own business, grew up somewhere interesting, or has a lot of hobbies, try to gently question her (you don’t want to look like you're prying) and see if you can get your mother-in-law to open up about herself.
7. Encourage family time.
Once you have gotten over the hurdle of sharing special holidays, orchestrating family time is a natural and easy next step. Don't wait for your new mom to invite you over, be the first to arrange family gatherings, and urge your husband to call his mom a little more often too. Pretty soon your Mother In Law will not feel that you're taking her son away but rather that you're encouraging more time with the family. But family bonding can be difficult if every time you're around your Mother In Law she tries to assert her dominance with her son, your now-husband. This is where so many Mother In Law horror stories come from.
8. Set clear boundaries.
Tension between the new Mrs. and the mom is most often caused by a lack of clear boundaries in the relationship. While some mother-in-laws have a good sense of where her influence is welcome and where it is not, others might need a little bit of coaching. "If your mother-in-law is interfering, don't put off talking to her about it. It is much better to start out by setting limits so bad habits don't become ingrained."
9. Leave enforcement to your spouse
When you are having a hard time getting your mother-in-law to respect or understand your boundaries, speak with your spouse about it and have your spouse speak with your mother-in-law to enforce boundaries. It's important that you and your spouse are united and your spouse understands the reason why it is necessary to speak with your mother-in-law. In order to accomplish this, it's best to try to state your thoughts in a non-accusatory way.
10. Separate Mother-in-law Issues from Marital Issues
If you are having trouble with your spouse understanding the issue with your mother-in-law, take a step back. Your spouse might feel stuck in the middle. He probably knows on some level that your mother-in-law's behavior is causing trouble in your marriage. If you have a problem with your mother-in-law, don't allow the issue to be a reason to state everything you are frustrated about in your relationship
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