As we are about to finish up Halloween…it’s officially the Holiday season. (I actually saw all the Christmas decorations already up in our downtown area, but that’s another blog!) In-laws can be one more pressure on a couple when it should be a time of celebration and fun.
1) First and foremost is the fact that you are a couple. You are now your own family. That doesn’t mean you love your parents, or your spouse’s parents any less, but you do have to make your relationship the number one priority.
2) Decide ahead of time what works for you, and what doesn’t. Talk about the fact that there are areas of potential conflict, and you want this to be a joyous time. Make a plan of where you’re going and when.
3) Understand that your decision may upset someone. It probably will, but the sooner you make it clear in a loving way that you are setting up new traditions are have really talked about what will work best for you, the sooner people can move on with what has been decided.
4) Don’t wait to tell your plans, be the first to bring it up and let people know what’s happening. That way there’s no chance that it really had anything to do with you changing your mind after they proposed a plan.
5) Work together. Never answer on your spouse’s behalf or commit to something until you’ve talked to your spouse.
6) Set up a new tradition of your own and invite your in-laws to participate. If they aren’t available or choose not to participate, that should be OK with you too.
7) Consider a whole new way to celebrate by picking a totally neutral place to spend the holidays…turn it into a family vacation.
8) Have a signal worked out that lets the other know you are getting into dangerous territory, or they are being pushed into a corner by your boisterous Uncle Ned.
9) Stick to the spirit of the season which is peace and love and do your part to keep things calm and comfortable.
Let us hear from you! How have you made the adjustment to having in-laws and holiday celebrations? Any funny stories? Any tips?