Don't let in-law phobia prevent you from awesome relationships with your new family. Start this new phase on the right foot with these 5 simple tips.
When it comes to wedding planning, listen to both sets of parents.
It is really tempting to get caught up in your own personal fantasy of your wedding day. You don't need anyone's input because you've already planned every detail in your head. But that's just not realistic. As we often say, this is not just your day. Both of your families have been looking forward to your wedding. Granted, you and your guy should be in control of the event--it is a celebration of the two of you, after all. But listening to both sets of parents and finding ways to incorporate some of their ideas (whether they are paying or not) goes a very long way in paving the path to a positive relationship. And truly listen to them. It could be that you don't like your future mother-in-law's lake cabin venue suggestion, but once you realize all she really wants is to incorporate something meaningful from their family, you can channel that concept in a way that allows an end result everyone will love.
Find common ground.
Every group of people has something in common. Rather than focusing on differences, focus on like interests, beliefs, and tastes. If both mothers love the opera, make sure to bring that up in conversation when you are all together. If the groom is as avid a football fan as your father, make sure to play in the game in the background when they visit. By showing everyone what they have in common there is far less likely to be an us vs. them mentality among the families, and instead a "we" perspective.
Learn something from your in-laws.
Maybe you can't bake a decent pie crust to save your life. Or you have always wanted to learn to play chess. Have one of your in-laws "teach" you something. Everyone loves to feel valued and appreciated, and teaching someone a skill is a great relationship builder. If your groom is not the best home repairman and your dad has stellar DIY skills, now could be the perfect time for a tutorial. And what better way to start a friendship with his mother than over a batch of her delicious chocolate cupcakes?
They aren't strangers, they are family.
You just met his parents. You're getting married in a couple of months. You need to stop thinking of them as strangers, and start thinking of them as your family. Immediately, you are joining each other's families, and yes, that is sort of strange. It's going to be an adjustment period for everyone: the sister who isn't sure if the annual traditional of flag football at Thanksgiving will continue, his mother who is terrified of being a mother-in-law that isn't liked, you not quite sure of what to call his parents. It's all just a big ball of awkward, right? You can't change that. So, embrace the awkward and start looking at this new cast of characters as your family. It'll make everything a whole lot easier.
Start making memories right away.
The best way to integrate into each other's families? Family stories that include the both of you, so start making new memories. Go on a camping trip with your honey's family, and try your hand at fly fishing. A couple of evenings around a campfire and you'll have new stories to tell in no time. And a trip with your family to the local theme park will initiate your fiance into the world of roller coasters your own family holds so dear.
Credit: Moreland Photography