What should i know about my in laws and mother in law, before getting married?
Marriage is more than two people coming together. Marriage is about two families uniting. The old saying is true, "You don't just marry the husband or wife, as the case may be, but you marry the family too." It cannot be stressed enough, if possible, get to know the in-laws before marriage. Your mother in law, father in law, brother or sister in law will have an impact on your marriage one way or the other. Research and asses your in-laws before saying, “I do.”
People will offer all kinds of advice, both good and... otherwise. "If you love one another, who cares what the parents say? Get married on your own!" This might sound like good advice or it might not. I know this is very much what the "world" would advise. To this I say, "If I do love her, I will honor her parent’s wishes, not tear her family apart and if necessary remove myself from the situation. Love sacrifices its own interests for the benefit of the other.” Moreover, there is a much to be said about having "agreement" and the "blessing" of the parents from both sides of the family.
It is hard to imagine marrying someone, without the parent’s blessing and support. In many instances, such actions only prove to be an awful way to start a marriage and family. Agree or not, in my particular situation, I chose to honor my fiancé’s parent’s wishes by discontinuing to pursue their daughter.
Questions to ask about a potential spouse’s family, your future in-laws:
- Will his or her family influence the marriage relationship positively or negatively? If negatively, what boundaries need to be developed to protect the relationship? Can the negative dynamic be overcome, without harming the marriage to the extent of divorce?
- Will his or her family be dependent, requiring support initially or in the future? What is the overall scope of the need? In what way would you be responsible to assist them? Why is it necessary? What duration of time would potentially be required?
- Will the marriage be able to operate independently when it comes to decision making? Will any family members continue to "parent?" There is a difference between seeking advice from a parent verses being told how to do things, as if you were still a child.
- Are there any kind of controlling or manipulating attitudes in the family dynamic? If so, what is the plan to maturely address those issues?
- Has anyone advised that it may be necessary to move far away in order to establish the marriage, due to unhealthy family influences? There is a reason that the Word of God exhorts couples to "leave and cleave to each other." Generally the presence of parents can be and quite often is a very good thing. It is advisable to get their feedback on big decisions.
- There may be unhealthy areas requiring attention on the front end of the relationship. Marriage counselors sometimes advise couples to "move out of the state or country" to create healthy space, from unhealthy over-bearing parents.
- Have you counted the cost to "love" not only your spouse, but also the spouse’s family?
These are simply a handful of questions to consider before marrying that special someone. A great book that helps handle family dynamics is, "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. This book teaches how to say "yes" and how to say "no," which is part of setting healthy boundaries.
Get to know your in-laws before saying I do. Spend time with your mother in law to be, father in law to be, because this family will have an impact on the rest of your life. It’s not a maybe or possibility, it’s a fact. If you’re engaged or in a serious relationship that you’d like to see move towards marriage, invest the time now to get to know your future spouse’s family. Better to find out now the hidden tendencies, addictions, funky attitudes, perspectives, etc.
Sitting down with your parents and then your significant other’s parents multiple times is a very beneficial thing to do. When the time is right, discussing marriage, family and things such as the holidays will be a wonderful use of time. Have you done this yet? Are you planning on it? It’s up to you to take 100% responsibility for this major life decision of marriage. Culture and society at large significantly under communicate the importance of healthy boundaries, maturity required for the major, major responsibility in the reality of marriage.
The fact you’re asking this question, doing some research on the internet about in laws and things you should know before getting married is a substantial clue that you are mature and taking responsibility for your life. You know how I know? Because the search results for Google on a monthly basis on this topic is very low. Sadly.
The last thing I’ll say about in laws and getting to know your spouses family is, don’t be afraid. Be level headed, count the cost of any issues or red flags you notice. Remember, they might be totally whacked out and be on their best behavior so that you don’t get away from their son or daughter. Use good judgment, have other people in your life that love you giving you advice. To make good decisions we need the counsel of others. Sometimes they can see things we cannot always see because we are clouded by emotions. Listen to people who want the best for you. Of course pray about the decision and have total peace about it from the Lord.
At the end of the day, it’s YOU who is making the commitment for the rest of your life. It is YOU who actually has to live it out. Many people will be eager to give you advice, tell you want you want to hear, but that’s easy. It’s easy to give advice into someone else’s life that you don’t have to be responsible for the follow through.
Deep down you know. You know the right thing to do. You know if something isn’t right. Listen to that voice. Be your own best advocate. Do the tough thing (if you need to) and walk away from the relationship. Chances are you came across this article for a reason. The Lord is trying to speak to you. Don’t worry about what others want, say or do. Follow the Lord and He will speak to your heart, it might be tough or it might now be? You’ll do the right thing and make the right decision.
Fear not. Be strong and courageous. Move forward accordingly.