Oh, the in-laws.
We’ve all heard the jokes.
“Oh better brace yourselves, get the whiskey, my dreaded in-laws are coming over tonight.”
Personally, I have an OK relationship with my in-laws. We’re not exactly best friends but we can share a meal together and make decent small talk.
Honestly, in order to get along with our in-laws, we need to stop making a big deal about them. If you think about it, they’re essentially strangers with a formal title. Kind of like your coworkers.
The day you say “I do”, is the day you’ve accepted a new job.
Your new employer is your husband or wife.
Both of you are employees of each others’ companies.
The entire application process is over and now you get to meet your team.
With coworkers, you either get along with them or you don’t.
The only thing that’s connecting you is our employer aka our spouse.
I’ve had coworkers where I became best friends and see them regularly even when they’ve left the company or when I left.
I’ve had coworkers where we make small talk and catch each other up on what we did over the weekend but never hang out outside of work. This is where I’m with my in-laws.
Then I’ve had coworkers where I avoid them like the plague.
It all depends on whether our personalities jive and/or if we share the same interests.
This relationship turns sour usually when your coworker starts to compete with you to get the employer’s attention.
Throwing you under the bus at meetings, spreading shit about you…
Or in the case of the in-laws
“Choose me over your mom.”
“Sweetie, your husband’s not making enough money.”
“Honey, Why doesn’t your wife clean more”
When there is major interpersonal conflict, what happens? The employer (HR) or your spouse steps in to mediate and/or manage. That’s their responsibility.
The term “in-laws” is just a label.
I think if viewed them as our coworkers, we can minimize the anxiety and stress and frustration because we won’t have this expectation where we have to get along because we are “family.”
So Readers, when you get married, do you think you also marry the other person’s family?
Previously published on medium
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Photo credit: on iStock