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Difficult relations between in-laws and engaged couples aren't just for dramatic season finales of Downton Abbey. They are a common and often predictable part of the engagement process. Why is certainly understandable, especially if they don't know you yet.  They love their child the way your parents love you. And everyone involved wants the best for both of you. Sometimes that translates into overzealous behavior all in the name of being "helpful."  Here are a few tips to navigating this new relationship when conflict bubbles up.

Be the best version of yourself, but still yourself.

If you are a straight shooter that prefers direct communication and established boundaries, there is certainly no reason to completely change your personality. Your in-laws need to get to know the real you, but that doesn't mean you can't ease them into it.  Be frank, but kind.  If necessary, explain that you simply prefer very direct communication and invite them to do the same.  On the other hand if you avoid conflict at all costs, you don't need to transform yourself into Regina George.  Whatever your communication style and personality, be yourself while also remembering this is a relationship you need to maintain.

Involve your future spouse.

Life is going to be zero fun if it feels like you vs. your fiance and his parents.  That's no way to plan a wedding and that's no way to live.  Talk with your future spouse when there is a disagreement over the guest list or hyphenated name or the main course of the dinner.  Work it out between the two of you first. What do you both want?  Compromise with each other if you need to, and come to a consensus. That way your husband can play the role of ambassador to a decision he had an active role in forming, rather than just being your messenger.

Pick your battles, with the hope they will do the same.

They want to invite 50 extra guests. That's a no-brainer rejection as you have already booked a venue with a limit of 40.  So, you have to simply tell them no.  She wants you to carry her grandmother's locket in your bouquet? You can bend.  Don't be contrarian just to make a point.  Your mother-in-law raised the love of your life. Surely, she has a few great ideas up her sleeve.  The fewer mountains you make out of molehills, the more power your voice will have when conflicts arise.

Photography   |   Bartlett Pair Photography