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How to Make In-Law Visits Better
For many, visiting the in-laws can be a no-win situation. Use these tips to make future visits a whole lot better.


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You don't want your in-laws gossiping about you ever time you visit, instead be proactive.


You arenít a terrible daughter-in-law just because they think you are. They could think the sky is yellow and grass is purple, but that doesnít mean itís true.”
The last couple of times we have visited my husband's parents in Europe, they were very hard on me. I was visiting them with our babies in tow, who were in diapers and not sleeping at night. Needless to say, I was very tired. Not only did my husband's parents not help me with the children, but complained behind my back that I do not help them with things like dishes and food preparation while I am there. They told my husband I have very bad manners and am inconsiderate. For this reason, I do not feel welcome in their home. I would like to ask my husband that for the next visit, we either go out to eat or I would be willing to cook for everyone at the apartment (we always rent while we are there). I think my husband would prefer to just keep going over to their home, in no small part because he does not want to risk upsetting them. We only visit once a year, at best. Is my request unreasonable or is it fair for me to ask this of my husband?

Visits with in-laws can be stressful when a husband and wife donít make each others needs a top priority. It can be difficult to put on a cheerful attitude when our spouseís parents criticize our actions and gossip about us. Here are some ways to behave assertively in order to have better visits in the future.

1. Make an effort to see things from your husbandís perspective so that you can work together as a team instead of taking opposite sides. For example, you could say something like, "I know it isnít easy for you to be assertive with your parents" instead of, "You are such a coward when it comes to standing up to Mommy and Daddy!"

2. Communicate with your partner before visiting his family. If you anticipate certain problem scenarios, discuss your feelings without criticizing your husband or his parents. Let him know that his behavior will have an affect on how well you get along with his parents. For example, you could say, "I feel unwelcome in your parentsí home. Iím willing to do my part to make future visits more enjoyable for everyone, but that will only happen if you and I work together as a couple."

3. Work toward a win-win solution based on his needs and yours. For example, if your in-laws expect you to help in the kitchen implement these tips:

* Suggest going out to eat instead
* Host dinner for everyone at your place
* Have your husband help in his parentsí kitchen while you watch the kids
* Help your in-laws while Hubby watches the children.

4. Do what is in your power to put an end to gossip. It may seem that the biggest problem is that your in-laws think negatively of you, but thatís not the case because their opinion is not fact. You arenít a terrible daughter-in-law just because they think you are. They could think the sky is yellow and grass is purple, but that doesnít mean itís true. The main problem is that your husband is listening to his parents say negative things about you. Confront him calmly and say, "I feel betrayed when you listen to your folks say negative things about me. The next time they start to gossip about me, I need for you to tell them you arenít willing to listen to them criticize your wife anymore. Tell them to speak directly to me in the future instead of putting you in the middle."

You canít control the way people treat you, but you can control the way you react. When you start behaving in a new way, you will transform from a helpless victim into a confident adult.

Jenna D. Barry is the author of "A Wifeís Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husbandís Loyalty Without Killing His Parents." Find more at www.WifeGuide.org.


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