One of the most interesting unknowns when you get married is how well you’ll get along with your spouse’s family. Depending on your situation while dating, you may or may not have spent a lot of time with your future in-laws before the wedding day. You may barely know each other and then—just like that—you’re related! So, how do you go about fitting in with this important group of people? Here are some ways to start your new familial relationships off right.
First and foremost, try your very best to enter your new family with openness and excitement. It’s completely normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed with the potential weight of these relationships, but the reality is that your new in-laws will be in your life for the foreseeable future, so it’s a good idea to start off open and ready to show everyone the awesome person you really are. Be ready to share your passions and interests with your new family. There’s almost no better way to show someone who you really are than to share your passions with them! Showing up and being open about who you are can be a huge step to bonding with your new family.
Read the Room
Along with being open, it can be very helpful to be able to read the room, if you will, and adapt to the scenarios around you. Stay true to your personality and who you are, of course, but adapt to the energy you’re feeling around you. If it seems like your in-laws like to have a quiet hour after dinner to hang out and relax, that may not be the best time to suggest blasting some karaoke tunes. Bringing your own flavor and unique character to your new family is essential, but being able to figure out the best times to do that will make a huge difference as well, and will most likely make the process of fitting into this new group of people much faster and easier.
Establish Practices to Build Rapport
Have you heard that your mother-in-law just adores going to the theatre? Is your sister-in-law obsessed with finding new coffee places? Take them! It can be super helpful to figure out things that both you and your in-laws enjoy, and then take the time to make a habit of doing those things! It doesn’t have to be expensive, or cost any money at all. It can even be as simple as finding a TV show you both love and then texting them about the latest episode after it airs. Simple things like this help to establish rapport and give you all common ground to start to build your relationships. It may seem like a simple thing, but sometimes with time and consistency, the simplest things become the most special.
Embrace Their Traditions
It can be extremely meaningful to your in-laws if you really embrace and get excited about their traditions as well. Is there a certain food that is always cooked on different holidays in their home? Ask if you can learn to make it some time! Are there traditional activities they always do, songs they always sing, or games they always play? Learn them and be excited about them! Although these things may seem new and different to you, they are quite possibly extremely important to your new family, and it can be very touching and meaningful for them to see you embracing and celebrating their traditions alongside them! And really have fun with it—sometimes you may not realize how much you’ll truly love something until you jump in headfirst! So make that recipe, learn that song or game, and honor the traditions of your spouse’s family. Who knows, you may find that you like some of them so much that you want to continue them in your family, too!
Give it Time
Probably the most important thing to remember as you pursue relationships with your in-laws is that, like any relationship, it will take time. It may take consistency and a little bit of grace for all involved before you start to really feel like you fit in with your new family, and that’s okay. It’s all a part of the process and if you have patience and keep at it you are much more likely to have a positive relationship for years to come! Soon enough, it may be hard to even remember those days when you felt awkward or out of place. When in doubt, just give it time!