14 Things Nobody Expects When Dealing With In-Laws

August 13, 2013  |  
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When you marry a man, you marry his family. It’s a dynamic of marriage most couples forget, but it’s a strong one! “In-law” doesn’t need to be such a scary term though. Most surprises that come from having a new set of “parents” are good ones.

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They’ll always intimidate you

That sensation that you’re always being watched—observed as a partner to their son, as a moral person, as a career person, as a caretaker—never goes away. First you’ll be observed as a wife, later as a mother, eventually as a “nurse” to your husband, and caretaker to your in-laws when they’re not doing well.

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But you’ll realize, that’s ok

They watch because they care. Think of in-law’s who never called or asked questions: depressing, huh? You’ll realize that it’s okay if you’re not perfect, that your in-laws expect that and in the end, all they want to see is that you care about their son, and about them.

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Arguments go away

Like in any family, including your own biological one, the nastiest of fights that seem they will shake the foundation of relationships forever…disappear. They’re forgotten, and often don’t leave a mark. The same happens with fights with in-laws.

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Eventually, you’ll call them when you’re upset

One day, you’ll be sad or overwhelmed by life, and you’ll be surprised to realize you have the urge to call your mother-in-law. Maybe she isn’t your best friend, but she’s been around and seen you through up’s and down’s now. And sometimes that’s just the person you need to speak to.

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They want you to get comfortable

Don’t feel the need to be “on” all the time around your in-laws. You’re family. Families pretty much sit around, reading magazines, watching TV, discussing what to make for dinner and generally going on about their lives. You don’t need to always bring gifts or try to engage everybody in conversation. Just hang out.

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They drop hints with your husband

If you notice your husband suddenly concerned with the produce you buy—is it organic, or not—or the products you clean the house with, or how you don’t stand up to your boss, those concerns aren’t coming from him: an in-law got in his head.

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They’ll come to you about their son

Just as your in-laws will go to your husband with concerns about you, they’ll also come to you with concerns about him! And it will be a good feeling. They know you have a special sway over him that they just don’t. And bonding will happen when you diplomatically help them out with their son.

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You’ll appreciate the differences between your parents and in-law’s

You’ve always wished your dad was more into physical activities, but your father-in-law is! You always wished your mom was more opinionated, but your mother-in-law is! Essentially, your in-law’s fill in the holes that you felt with your real parents. When you consider both sets of parents, you suddenly feel very satisfied.

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If they fight in front of you, that’s a good thing

Families fight, and they fight most in front of each other. Feel honored if your in-laws argue in front of you. That means they’re comfortable with you.

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You’ll see your partner in them…

At first, it will be alarming to realize your in-laws are just older versions of your partner. But eventually, it will be cute and even calming.

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When your own parents pass, you’ll be so happy for your in-laws

You’ll find a surprising source of warmth and support in your in-laws, should your own parents pass before them. It may even be the first time you realize how valuable your in-law’s are to you.

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Sometimes they wait for you to make the first move

To hug instead of hand shake, to invite them for Thanksgiving dinner—just so they know you’d like to spend it with them—to ask them for help before they offer it. Remember, just as you don’t want to impose intimacy on them, they don’t want to do the same to you.

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You and your mother-in-law have something in common

Your partners have similar habits! You’ll love teasing your men together, and jokingly complaining about the ways they drive you nuts!

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They care what you think of them, too

While you’re busy wondering what impression you make on your in-laws, and if you’re a good enough daughter in law, don’t forget they’re worried about the same thing! Their son obviously loves you for a reason. You’re worth making a good impression on.

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