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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    How can I maintain a healthy relationship with my partner's family?

    As you make your transition from fiancé to newlywed, many people are quick to overlook the less romantic aspects of married life. Your wedding should be the happiest day of your life, and yet there may be elements of tension and unease that temper your excitement. If you aren’t getting along with your partner’s family, your journey into the married life can start to feel like an uphill battle.

    It’s not uncommon for wedding guests to bring out the best – and sometimes the worst – in people. As it pertains to wedding planning, stress and disagreement over details can be expected; however, if your interpersonal strife goes beyond pre-wedding planning complications, it may be time to take a closer look at why your compatibility with your partner’s family is faltering. With proper communication and effort, you can begin to resolve issues, heal hurt feelings, and ultimately, strengthen your connection.

    Marriage is a binding commitment between two partners and their respective families. Strong marriages thrive on mutual respect, open communication, and familiarity. When one side of the family cannot set these expectations, bridging any disconnects starts with examining the sources of any underlying issues.

    Start by identifying patterns of behavior and which individuals seem to be causing most of the tension. Are there certain family members who attempt to split you and your partner apart and disrupt conversations? Does your relationship with your partner’s family get derailed when expressing your opinion on sensitive topics? Try to gain clarity as to why your relationship with your partner’s family feels strained – understanding your underlying feelings can help you become better prepared and remain composed during encounters.

    Once you’ve taken inventory of the issues at hand, be proactive in mitigating the problem. You and your partner can arrange for a family meeting to address any underlying issues or reservations so that the entire family can move forward together. Express your willingness to listen and to engage in dialogue about what concerns are being expressed and how different perspectives may conflict. Respectfully share your views and opinions openly and succinctly.

    If communicating with your partner’s family proves to be an insurmountable challenge, then no fuss – your relationship is with your partner, not their family. Focus your energy instead on building up your own unique alliance. Develop a shared sense of purpose, work together towards common goals, and ensure frequent time spent connecting one-on-one. Share your values and beliefs, enjoy activities that you both find interesting, and commit yourselves to fun experiences that uncover the new joys of being married.

    In the end, your relationship with your partner’s family isn’t something that you can force without compromising your principles. Support your spouse unconditionally, provide them with your utmost understanding, and leave the hatchet burying to the grown-ups. Allow your relationship to be guided by your intuition, pure intentions and honest love for each other. After all, those are the most essential ingredients for a long and healthy marriage.

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