Christie Farrisby Christie Farris, LMFT

Many couples imagine inheriting a whole new supportive and loving family with the in-laws. And sometimes that happens.

At other times, however, in-laws bring significant challenges.

It can even feel like downright invasion.

Below are helpful insights into how couples can avoid the emotional tug-of-war that can happen when a partner is stuck between parents and an upset spouse:

  • In the big picture it’s important that couple loyalty remain with your spouse. By forming a protective “bubble” around the couple relationship, you are setting boundaries for those family members who might cause harm – even if things are said and done with good intentions.
  • In-laws often like to be respected and consulted regarding life decisions. While this is certainly acceptable, it’s best to consult with your spouse first and make sure you have agreed-upon boundaries in place. You both want to agree on how much outside input you want to allow in your decisions.
  • Be careful about pushing in-laws out completely. If you push parents away, you are also in danger of offending and pushing your partner away.
  • When creating holiday schedules and rituals it helps to be mindful of the impact on both sets of in-laws. Strive for balance with time and attention to both families.
  • If issues come up between you as a couple, solve them within the relationship or with the aid of a competently trained couple’s counselor. Sharing them with in-laws can create more problems and allows the dreaded in-law invasion.  Here are our signs that marriage counseling may be needed, take a look and see if any sound familiar.
  • If there are issues with in-laws it is best that the son or daughter discuss these issues with his or her own parents rather than pushing the partner to handle it. Open communication, mutual support, and loyalty to your partner can go a long way to protecting the intimate connection between you.

At The Couple Zone, we are all trained to work with in-law struggles and many others that arise in couple relationships. We are here to help you if you need us. Please do not hesitate to give us a call.