When I got married, I was terrified that I’d have awful in-laws. Isn’t that what everyone says about theirs? Turns out, mine are great and I have a better relationship with them than my husband does. Is that strange?
Everyone is nice until they move me wrong.
We all have that one sibling that we don’t get along with quite as nicely as the others, right? My guy is like that with his sister. His reasons are cemented from childhood. While I respect his choice to not be as close to her and I don’t get on his case when he judges her life choices, I remain free to make my own conclusions. I was able to have a fresh outlook on their situation and be the bridge to the gap of their relationship. No harm, no foul other than more smiles and someone new to talk to.
I went on vacation with his family without him.
We were invited on a week-long trip to Hawaii with his parents and siblings. He couldn’t get off work but encouraged me to go, so off I went to an island where if I was uncomfortable I couldn’t run away. In the end, I had so much fun and grew closer to all of them. Not having him as someone to hide behind really made me put myself out there and embrace being there. I now have more memories of time spent with his family. When I see them again I can contribute in their recollection of vacation’s that I used to be excluded from.
I found common ground in running.
I’ve been an avid runner for the last three years. To my surprise, his mom also enjoys running and does the occasional 5k or half marathon. She always has something running related to talk about with me and it’s really helped establish a relationship with her. We’ve been able to get closer by enjoying a few runs together and talking about something we’re both passionate about. Having a hobby that someone else in his family participates in helped me feel closer to them.
We all have our quirks.
One’s loud, one’s sarcastic, and one’s still finding themselves; one’s quiet, and one has kids of their own, but they’re all so welcoming. They each have things that they do that are unique to them. I get to view this with openness and a clean slate. Instead of being annoyed at them and their antics, I find that I remain neutral. It helps me get to see where he came from and it helps me build a relationship with them.
Our different backgrounds make us get along even better.
I’m the third of six kids and he’s the baby of four kids. We grew up on the East Coast with hamburger helper and store brand items. He grew up on the West Coast with name brand items galore. My experiences growing up were completely opposite. Instead of seeing this as something that makes me different in a bad way, I see it as a good thing.
His family is a toned down version of mine.
I love my family but there are a lot of them and they’re loud. They like to shout over one another and no one has an inside voice. His family is quieter and has fewer people, so you can actually talk to someone without experiencing hearing loss. I’m really shy and introverted upon first meeting new people. Having a gentler family to meet was a lot easier on me and helped me open up to my future in-laws.
I have weekly chats with his parents.
My family is big on communication. They live for the group chat and I implemented that with his family. During wedding planning, I had a group chat with the ladies of his family. When we found out we were moving, I told everyone instead of just telling his parents. In a way, I force my communication on them but they respond to it. It’s helped me keep in touch with them regularly instead of only during life events or holidays.
We planned a surprise for my guy together.
He had a big promotion coming up for work. I called his parents and asked if they could make it. Even though we live on opposite coasts, they said they’d be happy to come. They helped me plan a small party for him that would begin with his surprise of seeing them. I kept it a secret for two months. I called and texted his parents in the weeks leading up to it and the secrecy made me feel like I was closer to them than before.
He’s the baby of the family but I’m not.
As the baby of the family, he sometimes feels like he has an image to maintain. When we were living together but only dating, he wouldn’t tell his parents. I don’t feel restricted by that. In a way, I help his parents see him as a grown adult and also get him to distance himself from his childhood role. I have tattoos and regularly color my hair, which is something that is slightly against his more traditional parents. However, it’s also shown them that if he can love someone different, he’s grown as a person.
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