Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Integrate with Your In-Laws

One of the biggest changes for any newly married couple is feeling out the relationship with your in-laws. In-laws get a bad rap, some rightfully so. However, for the most part, your in-laws are simply a new family that you're now a part of. It can certainly be awkward, after all, they've spent a lifetime together and have a vast trove of inside jokes and shared memories. Although there can be some awkward moments, the best approach is to fully integrate with your spouse's family. Don't settle for being an outsider.

This integration with in-laws is arguably the biggest change in new marriages. Both spouses face an entirely new set of traditions and customs. Holiday visitation schedules must be carefully arranged and one set of parents may live considerably closer than the other set. Although you may have dated your beloved for a considerable amount of time before you tied the knot, you likely didn't have a ton of time to get to know your in-laws. The hurdle is not a barrier, per se, rather the challenge is working through the awkward stage to figure out how the new dynamic will work. You both now have two sets of parents and that's something totally new.

The best approach to the situation is to go all in. You and your spouse should rely on each other's knowledge base to help you through all types of situations. For example, while your family might call people on their birthdays, your wife might be able to tell you that particular people don't enjoy them. Another example would be if her family expects thank you notes for every occasion and yours doesn't, your wife can help you avoid a serious relationship faux pas. You both have entirely new families that may include multiple siblings and the best thing you can do is to acknowledge that you're part of the family and integrate as such.

Being a part of a family is a wonderful thing and embracing the wholeness of the married life is critical to your long-term stability and happiness. You now have two support structures, and two families to celebrate in good times, and to comfort in bad times. Your family is now twice as big and that can be a lot of fun as you explore new and different ways to celebrate holidays and to enjoy vacations.

Far too many people allow in-laws to be a hinderance to their married life. By accepting, embracing, and integrating with your newly expanded family, you can enjoy all that an expanded family has to offer.