Respect your spouse’s parents

In-law jokes aside, this is a serious topic.

The parents who raised your spouse want to continue a loving relationship with their adult child – even if they are no longer living in the same home, even if they are married. Of course, the relationship has changed. Their adult child spends more time and energy with someone else. And that can be hard for them.

They may want the old relationship to continue just as it was. They may like being the one their child turns to for advice, or to share good or bad news. They may like being the one who takes care of them.

It can be hard for them to stop being in that role when their adult child marries and has someone else to turn to for advice and sharing of news. Thus, they might meddle. They might ask (demand) that their child call every day, visit after work every day. They might check up on how the spouse is treating them. They might ask intrusive questions.

Of course, this can be unnerving for the in-law child who wants privacy in their marriage, who wants his/her spouse’s time and attention. Some young wives might even feel like they are the ‘other woman’ in their husband’s life.

It is helpful to think positively about all this. When your spouse goes to visit his parents again, recognize the relationship. Don’t make it difficult for him, as long as it is a reasonable request. “Tatty’s hanging out with or helping Bubby. Remember that when you are married and busy; you’ll come to visit me :)” –
**There may be situations where the parent-adult child relationship is one of enmeshment (unhealthy, unclear boundaries); that may need more intervention with a professional.

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