What if My In-Laws Don’t Like Me?
- The spouse who is having problems should be allowed to share his/her experience and difficulties with the other spouse.
- The spouse must learn to support the other spouse. This can be done without taking sides or entering the conflict. However, if one person is being abusive to the other, a spouse may be able to step in to end the abuse.
- Keep things in perspective. Having problems with in-laws is a problem, but it is not the end of the world, and should not be the end of a marriage either.
- The spouse who is not having the acceptance problems should be closer with his or her spouse than his or her parents. The biblical principle of “leave and cleave” fits well here. If one is married, the spouse is number one on the priority list.
- The spouse in the conflict should learn not to take any rejection from in-laws too personally. Often, the rejection (or lack of acceptance) is not about who they are—it is about the in-laws. Spouses are often held to unrealistic expectations and standards by the in-laws.
- Remember that it is not war. The end goal is to build a civil relationship with the spouses’ parents. Therefore, be patient, and be quick to forgive and forget.
- The spouse in the conflict should remember that honoring the spouse’s parents is a noble and loving thing to do, even when they are difficult to tolerate or like.
This course was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr. at Ohio Valley University.