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3 Ways To Win Over Your Mother-In-Law (And 3 Reasons You Should)

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Down with the tired cliche! Your mother-in-law DOESN'T have to be your monster-in-law.

When you get married, one of the trickiest relationships you'll be entering into is the one with your mother-in-law. Sometimes it's wonderful, but unfortunately, sometimes downright horrible.

Like many things in life, the better informed you are the better you can handle the situation. First, there are some important things you need to know about your mother-in-law:

1. Remember, he was hers first.

She raised that guy you're marrying. She changed his diapers, kissed his boo-boos and cleaned up his puke at night when he was sick.

What have you done for him? She has done it all and you are often seen as an interloper. You may even be seen as not having earned what her son is giving you. So when you treat him poorly in her eyes, she definitely won't be happy with you.

She will question what he sees in you and even ask him this directly. If he (stupidly) tells you about her questioning, then it's game on. This is where many mother-in-law relationships start poorly.

2. She had dreams for her little boy.

When she was holding your guy in her arms, she had hopes and dreams for him. Even though he is grown up and out of the house, she still wants the best for him.

She is likely struggling with how to let him be a grown man while also wanting him to possibly make different choices in his life. It's not a personal vendetta against you. You're merely representing something uncomfortable in her life right now — a need to let go.

3. She fears losing connection with her child.

She was the one from the beginning that he would listen to. Now he is listening to you. Eventually losing connection with a child frightens any mother. She doesn't know who you are or where you will move to.

Will she get to have grandkids? Will they live near her? Will she always compete with the other grandparents? These are some fears that race through her mind among others.

Being able to control things in her favor is something she might do which causes obvious problems.

Perhaps you, like numerous others, want a great relationship with your mother-in-law. It's not that hard to do. It may take a bit of work and also some self-reflection on what things matter to you in life.

Here are three ideas that could help you get that stellar relationship with Mom-in-law that you want:

1. Limit the information you tell her.

A strained relationship with your in-laws is often created when you share too much information about your relationship. This could be because of you or your spouse.

When your mother-in-law knows how much you make, spend or what you constantly fight over, this probably means you are sharing too much information with her.

The less she knows, the less she has to throw in your face. The more she knows, the more she will stay involved in your business. Certain parts of your relationship with your spouse should be kept between the two of you.

2. Always show respect.

Hopefully your parents taught you respect at a young age. They also hopefully taught you how important it is to show respect to your potential in-laws.

Now here is a small hint. You should still show respect even if they don't return the favor. I often hear a dumb phrase, "I only respect people who respect me." People that believe this tend to have poor relationships in general.

My STRONG suggestion is to show respect for two main reasons. Firstly, your spouse will love you for it and secondly, it's the right thing to do.

3. Sometimes, you just have to bite your tongue.

You'll probably have to face the occasional scenario with your in-laws where you'll feel like you want to speak out to them. You'll probably even feel justified to do so. You may even want to say, "I told you so." Let me strongly suggest you build up the scar tissue on your tongue ... by biting it.

Your goal in your relationship with your husband should be doing whatever is necessary to strengthen the relationship. Sometimes that may mean just being quiet even when everything inside of you wants to scream out.

Obviously this doesn't apply to dangerous and inappropriate behavior you don't agree with. But it does apply to interior design choices, politics, or the best way to camp.

You will find that these issues with your mother-in-law aren't really about you. It's more about the transition of relationship with her son from her to you. As difficult as this may be, remember it can be just as difficult for her.


This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.


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