If you come from a family that is connected and has traditions, it can be tough to walk into a new family that doesn’t share this special bond. Marriage brings on both the better and the worse, and marrying into a family who doesn’t get along, or lacks a bond, may be a tough road you have to face together.
When you’ve had warm and wonderful memories growing up, it’s hard to accept that not all families are this way. And with the Holiday’s quickly approaching, it’ll likely bring out feelings of hurt more so than other times. This week, we want to share what you can do if your spouse’s family doesn’t bond. Let’s dive in.
Invest in your in-laws
One thing you can do that will go a long way is to invest in your spouse’s parents. Don’t expect the focus to be on you, ask them questions that are engaging and uplifting. For example, ask what their hobbies are and what they love to do. Perhaps you can schedule some special time with them to do something they enjoy.
Let your in-laws know you are interested in getting to know them better, and would like to create special memories with them. Do what you can to pull them out and build a bridge of connection. Once you have connected with your in-laws, you can slowly work on connecting the other family members as well.
Model healthy family behavior
You can become a transformational presence within your spouse’s family. This is especially important when the entire family has gathered together. Practice modeling the family behavior you experience with your family.
For instance, if your spouse’s family doesn’t have any holiday traditions, sharing some of your favorites with them might lighten any awkward or painful moments. Ask members of the family what they are interested in doing, and help create new traditions as well. Create a new opportunity for family bonding through these traditions.
The best thing to remember is that you are doing this because you love your spouse. You are honoring your spouse by valuing their family and not walking away from a difficult situation. Instead, walk into the situation and encourage healthy family roles and behavior.
Find out what matters most
Given the speed of life, it can be hard to bond when everyone has different schedules and expectations. This can be especially true if there’s already existing friction within a family. With the help of your spouse, do some digging and find out what matters most. As we already learned, a good place to start is with your in-laws. Ask them what they would enjoy doing most with the entire family. Perhaps Sunday dinners? Or maybe attend a grandchild’s sporting game? Start small and invite the entire family along.
Eventually you will be able to branch out and learn what other members of the family enjoy, as well. With time, you’ll likely find a common denominator that you can all enjoy and bond over together. And by opening the doors to more family activities, you are providing an opportunity to grow as a family.
Putting it together
If you grew up with the experience of an unshakable family bond, marrying into a family who doesn’t bond or get along can be painful. With a little extra effort and time investing in your spouse’s family, and by being a healthy example and presence in their lives, you can model what a heartfelt family bond looks and feels like.
And remember, going the extra mile to work through this will mean a great deal to your spouse. It may take time, but will be worth it in the end!
Does your spouse’s family lack a bond? What do you and your spouse do to encourage family time together?