When you got married, you probably thought the phrase for better or for worse mainly referred to your husband. Think again. Nosey in-laws”especially during the holidays”are part of the package too.
Whether it’s a father-in-law who finds fault with your holiday menu, or a mother-in-law who won’t stop asking when you two will finally have kids, it’s not easy to cope with nosey in-laws. If you’re spending the holidays together, here’s what you need to do to keep the peace”and maybe even enjoy eachother’s company.
The most important thing you’ll need to do is to take some action towards becoming friends with your in-laws.
The best way to do this is to find out what makes them tick. Find out what their interests are and see if you can use them as a way to forge a common ground.
For example, if you’ve got a meddling mother-in-law who is always stirring the pot in your relationship, you need to understand her motives if you want her on your side. If she feels left out and that she is no longer at the centre of her son’s universe, then you need to find ways to make her feel that she still has something to offer.
One of the best ways to do this is to appeal to her expertise. What is she good at? Is she a great cook? If so, then ask her what holiday meal she cooks that is your husband’s favourite. Ask her to cook it with you, making sure she knows that your goal is to make him happy with this meal and that you need her help to make it happen.
Taking a collaborative approach to preparing the holiday meal with her will send her the message that you are interested in what she can offer to the relationship, helping you to forge an alliance instead of remaining adversaries.
Sharing a hobby or interest with one of your in-laws can be another way to bond. Perhaps your father-in-law enjoys genealogy. If you’re spending time together over the holidays, ask him questions about his childhood or ancestors”take a genuine interest in the subject and perhaps offer to help him create a family tree. It might become a hobby that just the two of you can share together.
Still, there may be awkward moments when nosey in-laws cross boundaries. If they come to dinner unannounced, don’t get upset or take it out on your partner. Just respond with a smile and ask them for help in the kitchen”with a little luck, it’ll turn them off dropping in unexpectedly again. If they start dropping off gifts of see-through lingerie as a hint that they want grandchildren, you can play the same game. Send a thank you card to them for helping you to keep the spark in your sex life, and maybe include a graphic bedroom detail or two as examples. Either way, you’re sure to give them a response they weren’t expecting and who knows“you might even gain their respect.