Let’s face it. We won the lottery when it comes to the man who we get to call our husband. But, it is not always the case when it comes to our in-laws. And, while it is too easy to trade on the cliché of the overbearing mother or father-in-law, reality is, more often than not, your hubby’s family is likely to be a handful. And, before we get too far ahead of things, your hubby might find your folks to be just as much “work.”

So, how do you manage a tricky in-law situation? Here are some treats we trust will help.

Remain a team with your husband.

No matter what, the two of you have to be in lock step when it comes to dealing with each other’s families. Be candid with each other about the qualities of the others’ family you appreciate and those that you don’t and why. The more you each understand about how the dynamic works and where it falls apart for you, the better prepared you will be to make the most of the extended family relationship.

Never make him choose.

This is really the Golden Rule of In-Laws. No matter how difficult your in-laws might be, never make your husband pick between you and them. This is an impossible ask as they will always be his family and you will always be his partner. As stated above, determine how best to manage the relationship and stick to those decisions, which brings us to…


Establish your boundaries and always have a plan.

These two rules go hand-in-hand. This is as much about defining the values by which you two live as a couple - political, spiritual, dietary!? – and making sure both your families understand these aren’t negotiable, as it is about how frequently and how you all will be together. You need not be a tyrant about your boundaries, but the clearer you are about how you are as a couple in the world, and among your families, the better. And, always, always allow each other, to step away.

Communicate directly.

Though difficult, only you can state and hear what is making the dynamic between you and your in-laws challenging or rewarding. Don’t send your husband in to do the work as, inevitably, he won’t be as direct, nor will he be as apt at relaying what his folks had to say about you. This is definitely under the “man up” category, especially when you’re a kind and respectful man. And, this goes for all the good stuff, too. Make sure everyone appreciates what you appreciate about them.

Be kind and mature.

Yep. It is important for us to double down on this point. Creating undue stress among you, your hubby and his kin isn’t going to do anyone any favors, especially you. Thus, keep it nice and keep it grown-up. Nobody should be expected to change, so all you can hope for is greater understanding among your clan. And, understanding always comes when you opt for the high road, listen more than talking and never judging. And, the best way of doing so is following all of the rules above.

Learn to cool off.

Now, we aren’t naïve either. There are going to be times when someone’s buttons get pushed and pushed hard, especially if someone “steps” on the values you and your hubby set as a team. But, again, take the high road by hitting the high road. Know how and when to take a beat, or two hundred, and come back to that kind and mature place. Don’t expect others to and know that you’re doing it for your guy.