Catholic Husband

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Stop Using In-Law

Marriage is full of misunderstanding. In our circle of friends and in media we bemoan the lack of freedom and small annoyances of our spouses. The truth is something entirely different. The reality of two people coming together to form something new is beautiful. Marriage is ultimately freeing and completely beautiful, even if it doesn’t feel like that sometimes.

Everything that your spouse is as a person has its roots in their parents and their family. They made your wife who she is, for better or worse. An easy target for derision, they’ve taken on nicknames like “monster-in-law.” Today, I want to propose something different. I want to break down the title and remove the barrier. Let’s stop using “in-law.”

The strength of the family is not just in the spouses or their children. The wider and deeper the family network is able to grow, the stronger the support system. In-law creates an “us versus them” mentality that sows unnecessary division. As you grow deeper in your marriage, I hope that you’ll grow deeper in your relationship with your wife’s parents and her their siblings. The richness of a shared relationship will benefit your marriage. The more harmony you can foster in this crazy world, the healthier your family will be.

“In-law” creates another quandary as your family grows. To your children, your parents and your wife’s parents are equal. They have no baggage in their relationship. When you taken on the “in-law” terminology and all its subtleties, you can prejudice their relationship with their grandparents. Even worse, you could sour it altogether. That robs your children of a special relationship.

It can be difficult, and even a bit awkward, to forge relationships with your in-laws, but a great way to start is by changing your language. They aren’t your mother-in-law, your father-in-law, or your brother-in-law. They’re your mom, your dad, your brother, and your sister.

Language matters.