Somebody rightly said, “Marriages in India is not only a union of two individuals but of two families.” Gaurav and I realised its importance after we got married. We often got lectures from our married friends that the first year of the marriage is the most difficult part but us being ourselves, we never took it seriously. It was only after a few months down the lane, we realised that it was actually true.
In India, most of the times, after marriage, a woman has to move in with her husband with his parents and live under the same roof. If there’s any westerner reading this, I know how absurd that might sound but that’s how it has been here forever and it definitely has a lot of upsides.
Due to the addition of a new individual in the family, ofttimes the other family members undergo various psychological and emotional changes. In this situation, the couple needs to understand the needs of every family member, may it be the wife’s side or the husband’s side. The idea is to make everybody feel comfortable around you. That being said, only the couple is not responsible for maintaining good relationships. The other family members are equally responsible for making the new person feel comfortable but that’s the topic of discussion for some other time.
As a new couple, we faced a few difficulties, which we overcame by learning from our mistakes. We’ll be sharing a few knacks in this blog post that we learnt over the period of time that will help a new couple in building rapport with their in-laws from the very starting.
Doesn’t matter if you had a love marriage or an arranged, you’ll surely need these tips handy.
Time, Patience and Perseverance
The first year of the marriage is usually the toughest one. Majorly because the new member doesn’t get enough time to adjust and often feel pressurized under the weight of expectations. In this case, ignoring the in-laws might seem very convenient but it is definitely not the right approach. I am also guilty of doing this.
The best way to overcome this problem is to spend time with your in-laws and talk. Discuss each other’s likings, dislikings, hobbies, habits, etc. These small discussions will help you to break the ice and know each other more closely. Focus more on listening than speaking. In general, people really like you when you listen to them patiently.
In case of a conflict, try to understand their concern and try to solve it with love and empathy. You gotta treat them like your own family. For whatever they might be doing, there would be a reason. A lot of parents feel insecure and have difficulty in letting go of their parental roles. On the contrary, some parents become emotionally unavailable or unfriendly. Understand these intricacies and take decisions keeping in mind the well-being of the family.
Since your parents are used to you and your attention, it’ll be a challenge for them to overcome this sudden change. With love and empathy, you can make sure that they get comfortable with your partner easily.
Expose them to Technology
Gaurav’s mom really liked when we taught her how to video call on WhatsApp. It was a delight to see her playing like a child, calling all her friends and relatives.
Teaching our old folks to do something new on their phones is the best way to keep the conversations healthy. You will also get something in common to talk about. This way, they’ll feel connected to our world, where everything is driven by technology. It will also give them the room to understand you better.
There are so many things that you can do. Teach them how to play games on PlayStation, download books of their choice on Kindle, show them how to play videos on YouTube, etc. The possibilities are endless.
See the Family Albums Together
Going through the old photographs and family albums together instantly ignites a series of conversations. It is one of the best ways of knowing your new family and their history. It’ll give them a chance to share the hardships they faced in the past, the good times that they spent together, where they went during the summer vacations and much more. It’ll help them to open up and accept you as a part of the family. You’ll also get to know more about them, their thought process and their ideologies. It is a win-win situation for everybody.
Be Friendly with the Kids
When you are friendly with the kids, you are not only perceived as a jovial person but it’s also a great way to de-stress yourself. Play with them, tell them stories, buy them candies and you’ll be their favourite person. Don’t do it for selfish reasons but actually try to build a relationship with them. This way you’ll also be able to connect with their parents and make new friends in your new family.
Respect Each Other
Respecting each other, especially in front of the family, is very important. Speak highly of your partner and mention their good qualities. Demonstrate the admiration, respect, love and fondness you have for each other.
When you do that, everybody in your family will also get conditioned to treat your spouse with love and care. It is a great way to build a healthy foundation as a new couple.
If you don’t treat each other with respect in front of others, you and your spouse will get vulnerable to opinions, comments and unwanted advice. If there’s a conflict between you two, then it’s best to discuss it when you are alone. You don’t want others to get involved in your personal matters.
Midst all this, you don’t have to lose yourself. Your partner married you because he or she loves the way you are. You don’t have to change yourself for anybody.
The idea is to be a little understanding and flexible as you would in any relationship. Remember, “We accept the love that we deserve.”