For those who haven’t made peace with the inlaws, this is for you.
Family is so tricky… not to mention family of family. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and preparing for the arrival of Kat’s father and step-mom. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly excited to have them here and for another opportunity to grow our relationship. There is always that in-law situation though.
I have to chuckle at the stories I hear from other men (or women) who clash with their partner’s parents. Of course, my father in law is just trying to protect his daughter and do his part in making sure she is being taken care of. But I imagine there is a threat that he feels from me. Of course… I would be lying if I didn’t admit my own feelings of being threatened.
My father in law’s voice is in my wife’s mind. Just as my mother’s voice is in my mind. This is why, I imagine, it can get so hairy when they are around. I get to see what has caused my wife to think the way she does, or I get to see certain influences that run so deep they only come out in times of stress, frustration, sadness, or outright anger.
My title, watch out (!!) for the father in law, is said in all seriousness. The first best thing I can do is pay attention. What comes up for me? What comes up in my wife? What comes up in him? The next best thing I can do is to stand strong in my own truth of who I’ve become and to realize that what’s his is his. And the last best thing is to try not to regress, or defend, or fight. Fun times.
I love hearing your stories of family, in-laws, and how you struggle and/or get along with them. Leave me a comment, or check out my page on Spiritual Direction to see how we can dive even deeper into these challenges together!