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6 ways to survive the holidays if you are at odds with your partner's parents


Sources of Temptation to Intervene

First, let's collect the main, indisputable facts, talking about the differences between the newlyweds and their parents. Parents, being people who live longer in the world than a young family, have more life experience. They know a lot about how, and even with whom to settle, they have their own beaten paths to solve certain problems. Moreover, they know many people who can be very useful in settling certain matters. Parents also have more than young ones habits, which, as the saying goes, become second nature. They perceive these entrenched habits as the obvious, only possible way of behavior and choice of a solution in the given conditions. This applies to a very wide range of issues, ranging from simple actions (for example, how to put cutlery near a plate), then how to spend free time (for example, every Saturday and Sunday in the country), up to serious life decisions (for example, the optimal number of children in the family or choice of place of residence).

Parents have experience raising children (at least one child). They experienced in their own skin the difficulties of the period of pregnancy, childbirth, caring for a newborn, and education. Young people entering into marriage can only have desires, expectations and theoretical knowledge here.

Having listed the “advantages” of parents, one must honestly admit that at the same time they have a number of restrictions from which young people are free. For example, parents of newlyweds, as elderly people, usually have limitations related to their health and, in general, to their physical condition and working capacity. In the face of rapid changes in the world of more than twenty years of difference - this is a whole era. Young people have significantly less resistance than the use of modern technology than older people, generally speaking. Not to mention the changing tastes, fashion. It would even be surprising if complete agreement between the newlyweds and their parents dominated in this respect.

Speaking about these differences, I want to emphasize the following: from the point of view of parents, what is better for newlyweds, in the assessment of young people, may be unattractive or even completely unacceptable. This is an attempt to some extent to justify the actions of parents, who, wishing well, often try to force the newlyweds to realize their best-intentioned plans and ideas.

Invalidmethods of intervention

Forcing the newlyweds (even to the good) is an unacceptable interference in their life, in the life of the family, which should be based on independence, self-government and responsibility for their own destiny. Coercion is an unacceptable way, because, firstly, it is usually ineffective, and secondly, it often causes strong tension between the newlyweds and their parents. The protest is mainly a son-in-law who feels himself the head of a young family. In addition, when every step is dictated to young people, this makes it difficult for them to learn how to advance in the world on their own. And finally, life under the dictation of parents to a certain extent exempts the newlyweds from responsibility. If something goes wrong, then "it's because of the parents who told us to do this." In a word, excessive interference in the life of the newlyweds makes it difficult for them to reach maturity and thereby threatens their family.

Sometimes parents get to blackmail, which is unacceptable under any circumstances, because it threatens to limit the freedom of another person at the cost of something. “Change coins” used by parents are different - from purely material to emotional. I already mentioned the case of blackmail, when the parents said that they give young people money for a living, provided that they do not have a baby. I came across numerous cases of blackmail of various calibers, from innocent enough (“We will give you money for the tile, provided that it will be the blue tiles that mom chose”) to serious ones (“We will deprive you of the inheritance if you don’t choose” indicated by us husband or wife).

I also encountered situations when a father, under whose supervision a son, son-in-law or daughter, daughter-in-law works, used his position at work to blackmail me: “I’ll fire you from work if you don’t do so (in family matters), as I tell you (read “I order”). ”Or even:“ I won’t give you a salary if you don’t account for what you spend this money on. ”

Emotional blackmail is most often used by mothers who are confused in their feelings, starting from the delicate: “You cannot do this to me”, and ending with the bullying: “I will not survive this”, and even threats: “I will kill myself.”

If all of the above examples were not taken from life, then we could consider them implausible. Even this most powerful blackmail - which will commit suicide - unfortunately, is the result of Mom’s genuine determination. Recently, a young mother-in-law committed suicide six months after the wedding of her beloved son. Despite the fact that she accepted the daughter-in-law, that the newlyweds often visited her (or perhaps too often), for her life lost its meaning, and she deprived herself of it!

Parent intervention area

In addition to the above-mentioned unauthorized methods (coercion and blackmail) of intervention in the life of the newlyweds, it is worthwhile, as a warning, to identify the territories in which the interference is unauthorized. Here one could summarize, saying that this is a widely understood territory of intimacy and exclusivity of married life. This is not only about the so-called intimate life and its results, but also about all kinds of internal relations between husband and wife and their decisions regarding the functioning of the family, including raising children. And finally, the territory of the family, the apartment should also be protected from uninvited outside interference. Living together with parents is in itself a problem and at the same time a source of various difficulties. But this problem, as especially important, we will consider in a separate section.

What intervention occurs most often in the case of a separate apartment for newlyweds? This may be the furniture of the apartment in the broad sense of the word. Starting from the choice of the apartment itself, repairing, painting walls, planning the apartment, determining the functions of the premises, furniture, right up to decorating the interior. This activity gives young spouses great joy and, in addition, is a school of exercises in how to negotiate and give in to each other. The intervention of parents (sometimes under the slogan: “We give money - that means we have the right”), despite the fact that it is most often undertaken with good intentions, usually brings bad results in relations between newlyweds and parents. In addition, it deprives the newlyweds of a wonderful chance for the development of their marital ties, their maturity and the creation of exclusivity, so necessary for every family.

Visit or visit?

An old joke says: “What is the difference between a visit and a visit? When we go to mommy - this is a visit. When a mother-in-law or mother-in-law comes to us, this is a visit. ”

Unexpected visits by parents can be a violation of the intimacy of the life of the newlyweds, their territory. They are especially difficult for the daughter-in-law. Feeling like a young, albeit still inexperienced, mistress, she wants her mother-in-law’s visit to be as good as possible. It is known how important aesthetic considerations are for women. Therefore, the apartment must be cleaned, or at least tidied up "from the larger." Appropriate refreshments also need to be prepared. This is essential especially at the first stage of marriage - the stage of mutual recognition. There is nothing wrong with the fact that the daughter-in-law wants to appear in the eyes of her husband’s parents on the good side. And since “my house testifies of me”, then a visit, especially as important as the visit of the husband’s parents, should be preceded by diligent preparations. This completely eliminates the sudden raid, which was preceded only by a doorbell. To the dismay of the daughter-in-law, sometimes there is not even such a warning, because the parents have their own key to the apartment of a young family.

Another story taken from life: the mother-in-law lived at a distance of more than 100 km from the newlyweds' house. It might seem that this is a "safe" distance. However, she had an unpleasant habit of making unexpected visits. She appeared on the doorstep and declared: "I have arrived!" The daughter-in-law tolerated these visits very poorly, especially since the mother-in-law clearly showed her dissatisfaction with the way she leads the house. Arriving, the mother-in-law introduced her orders and prepared for her son his favorite dishes, because the daughter-in-law “had no idea about cooking”. Reached frank scandals. It should be added that the "son" loyally defended his wife. Finally, the son made a promise from his mother that before each visit she would warn them by telephone at least a day before arrival. However, the next visit was again without warning. The desperate daughter-in-law, seeing the mother-in-law at the door, did not let her into the house, slamming the door in her face. I would like to be understood correctly. I absolutely do not approve of the indecent behavior of a daughter-in-law. However, there were substantial arguments mitigating the harshness of the assessment of her behavior. The mother-in-law played a big role in provoking this bad situation. This case had far-reaching consequences for the spouses and remained a splinter for many years. And here is a joke brought from Kazakhstan: Mother-in-law came from a village to visit the newlyweds in the city, laden with bags of food. Fruits, cheeses, vegetables, jars of canned food, sausages, meat. The son-in-law with an inflated mine, without even saying hello, takes individual products and puts them out: this is in the refrigerator, this is in the pantry. And finally, she mutters: “How long did mom come?” In response, mom chirps: “Well, you know, we don’t get tired yet.” Son-in-law on this: “Well, you won’t even drink tea?”

Explicit marriage breakdownparents

In many cases known to me, parents who were against the marriage of their child with a particular person did not change their attitude after the wedding. (Especially when the relationship between the spouses was not very good or even turned out very badly). Instead of supporting their child, who was in a difficult situation, in a variety of ways, more or less consciously, they contributed to the collapse of his marriage. There are several typical situations:

• aggression against the daughter-in-law (son-in-law) to drive her (him) away from their offended child

• pressure on his child to finally receive his sight and leave his spouse,

• Parents verdict that marriage was generally void.

The situations listed above require explanation and comment. The first and second situations most often occur with people who are not too connected with the Church, for whom the oath uttered in the sacrament of wedding means little. They look at the situation in a purely human way - their child is harmed, therefore, the offender needs to be “eliminated”. I came across completely implausible situations. For example, the wife’s parents literally threw the son-in-law out of the house and put his things out the door (the newlyweds lived with the wife’s parents). This was done literally by force. Other male relatives helped the test. The husband could not return to his wife and two-year-old son under the threat of beating. After some time, relatives filed a lawsuit for divorce in the court, citing facts completely sucked from the finger, for the confirmation of which they used fake witnesses. Everything was so sewn with white thread that the court did not believe the majority of “undeniable evidence”. The lawsuit has been going on for several years. The husband does not agree to a divorce, but what of that? He does not live with his wife and, despite the court’s meeting with his son, is unable to get them from his wife, who is jointly supported by the whole family. We add only that the ousted husband is a calm, educated person, respected at work. He earned little and it seems that this was very significant in the whole matter. The overall result, the wife’s family after the wedding came to the conclusion that he was too weak a party for such a wonderful woman as their daughter, a psychologist (she graduated from school already in marriage, and her husband before marriage).

Another situation: the family consistently rejected the son’s wife. Despite the fact that the newlyweds lived separately, the parents used each situation to arouse their son's aversion to the daughter-in-law, whom they did not accept. When the newlyweds had difficulties, the parents took advantage of this, saying: “You see, it's all because of her!” The son began to accept this advantageous version for himself and agree with his parents. Finally, the parents themselves sought out the “best” daughter-in-law and interested her son in it. The plot was a success. The son left his wife and got in touch with another woman with the support of satisfied, one might even say satisfied, parents.

And, finally, the most delicate situation is believing parents, for whom the sacrament of marriage is an inextricable bond. In this case, considering that their child is harmed in the marriage and that they can’t look at it and take it longer, the parents are looking for a solution that the Church allows. The first idea is usually the separation of the spouses, which, indeed, the Church allows in some special cases. But this decision has a flaw - their child cannot enter into another marriage, which means that he will be lonely for the rest of his life. At the same time, the chance for the appearance of grandchildren, whom parents sometimes really expect, disappears. Another solution, without this inconvenience, is the recognition that the marriage was not concluded at all before God, that it was not valid from the very beginning. In fact, this happens when, at the time of marriage, the so-called defects of the marital agreement took place. But the problem is that often the conclusion that marriage is not valid is dejected by the parents themselves, usually long before the decision of the church court. Even if the church court pronounces that the marital union is invalid, parents up to this point should treat their child’s marriage as the union sanctified by the Church, despite how deep their belief that the marriage is invalid, and. how great their pain makes their assessment subjective.

Once I heard the phrase: “We are raising a daughter. "From a believer, practitioner, and closely related to the Church woman. I was amazed - to “breed”, of course, is not the task of parents.

Here is an approximate sequence of events in the above case - the wedding of a believer and an interested in religious life son with a woman who was not accepted by his parents, who is far from the Church:

• respecting church marriage, in the early years, parents try to support their son’s family,

• parents seek help for the newlyweds in family counseling,

• young people take the advice of specialists, a slow change of wife begins in the direction of conversion, but this happens without the help of a husband who is completely closed, dejected by the situation,

• conflicts grow, parents help their son leave his wife, recognizing that separation is the best solution to the problem,

• complete isolation of the husband from the wife, who cannot even call and congratulate on the holiday,

• in spite of everything, the husband decides to save the marriage and this decision brings him obvious relief,

• the parents do not recognize the decision of the son, believing that his marriage is invalid from the very beginning,

• the son files for divorce in a church court to declare the marriage invalid, breaks all contacts with his wife. He motivates this by making a life mistake by not listening to his parents before the wedding, and the second time he does not want to make such a mistake.

Let's look at this situation again: religious parents from the very beginning do not allow the idea of ​​divorce as a decision that does not agree with the teachings of the Church. However, the painfully experienced situation of the tragic course of the marriage of their son palms them the idea of ​​separation of spouses as a decision made by the Church. And finally, another thought - the recognition by the church court that marriage is invalid from the very beginning. So, the search for a solution is carried out among the options allowed by the Church, only this search is done by the parents, and this is the main problem that I would like to draw attention to here. Without blaming anyone, I just want to note that the despair of parents who helplessly look at the pain and even evil caused to their child in a failed marriage is not a good adviser.

Another example. The son-in-law was adopted by the parents of the future wife, but they carefully test it before the wedding. They demanded, among other things, that he, as a nonresident student, settle in their separate room so that they could take a closer look at him. All the “tests” the guy went through successfully. It came to the wedding. Родители отдали зятю последнюю дочь. Старшая дочь ещё раньше ушла от родителей, впрочем, не без серьёзных скандалов. Через несколько недель после свадьбы тесть с тёщей сочли, что зять отобрал у них дочь (несмотря на то, что они жили вместе). Выгнали его из своего дома, а дочери запретили контактировать с мужем. Полностью подчиняющаяся родителям доченька не могла ничего возразить.A month after the wedding, the husband could contact his wife exclusively through his father-in-law. The wife’s parents took the lead in divorcing and invalidating a marriage in a church court. We add only that the parents are respected, educated people sitting on the parish committee.

Summing up the above examples, it should be noted: parents are not the most suitable people in order to reach verdicts on the topic of the marriage of their children. Naturally, these verdicts not only are, but simply must be biased. Of course, these verdicts are and will be handed down, but it is the consciousness of one’s own subjectivity that should prevent prudent parents from interfering in the marital relations of young people, especially from interference that is clearly aimed at destroying marriage. Making decisions for the young in these matters is completely unjustified and unacceptable. It is necessary to constantly explain to parents that the right to make decisions for children is lost from the moment they leave home.

Of course, parents could, and even one hundred percent, have to make decisions for the child at the moment when he was born. However, from this moment on, a conscious, parent-controlled process of their removal from making optional decisions should begin and continue. Optional, that is, those that the child can already, even with a certain risk, accept himself. The dream and goal of parents should be for their child to make decisions about himself on a larger and larger scale, being capable of it and prepared for it.

Obviously, proper upbringing and thereby preparation for responsible life decisions would save children from joining a marital union, from the very beginning doomed to great difficulties. Then the main reasons pushing parents to intervene in the marital relations of the newlyweds would disappear. Therefore, anger at children due to the fact that they act badly should give way to humble reflection on their own mistakes and the resulting gaps in the upbringing of children. However, this is not the time to correct these educational gaps at this stage.

Parents should do what they can effectively and really help, they must maintain the strength of their children’s marriage and pray for them. And life decisions must be left young, contrary to the temptation to take matters into their own hands and settle them for the newlyweds “in the only right way”, in accordance with the ideas of the parents.

1. Promise yourself that you will try to build relationships

It is not necessary to keep promises until the New Year. Together with your life partner, you have chosen his parents, and you will not get rid of them, except after a divorce. Try not to complain every time you have a visit to your mother-in-law or mother-in-law, but get along with them during this year. You have many years ahead, so everything should not work out perfectly the first time. Start with a small step, for example: “I will not mention this year my uncle’s drunkenness.” Over time, you will find that communicating with your spouse's parents no longer bothers you that much. - Aaron Anderson, a family psychotherapist from Denver, Colorado.

2. Talk with your partner in advance

Do not keep your fears and anxieties a secret! Talk with your spouse about how you think the meeting with the parents will go. But do not talk about your negative attitude towards them. Tell us what is bothering you and ask for help. Clearly outline what exactly you need. For example, ask him to support you more or to be more active in preparing for a family celebration. Think through this conversation and analyze your concerns. - Marnie Fyuerman, a family therapist from Boca Raton, Florida.

3. Take care of yourself

One of the main reasons that we lose patience in the company of guests is the need to constantly entertain them. When meeting with friends or, especially, relatives, you often have to ignore your own desires for the sake of someone else's comfort. As a result, we simply forget about ourselves. And although it may seem that there is no time to take care of yourself, this is the best way to deal with stress and intrusion into personal space.

Team up with a partner. Remember, you are first a spouse, and only then - a son or daughter

Take care of your health, take a relaxing shower, go to bed early, read somewhere in a calm place. Listen to your body and try to pay more attention to your needs. - Alisha Clark, a psychologist from Washington, DC.

4. Team up with a partner

In a marriage, tense situations often arise with the spouse's parents, and sometimes you begin to doubt whose side he is on. Both of you have long been members of another family, with your own holiday traditions and customs. The struggle for influence between the partner’s parents and his other half can erupt in earnest, because both “parties” want to attract him to themselves during the holidays. Teaming up with a partner is one way to end this fight. Then you will support each other, not the parents.

But you have to firmly stand your ground and stand up for a partner. This approach may seem harsh, but slowly the parents will adapt to the situation and understand that the joint decision of the spouses is always at the forefront. Remember which side you are on. You are first a spouse, and only then - a son or daughter. - Danielle Kepler, a psychotherapist from Chicago, Illinois.

5. Gather your spirit before meeting

Before meeting with your partner’s parents, do one mental exercise. Imagine that you have special armor that protects against any negative energy. Tell yourself: “I am safe and protected, I am safe.” On site, be as polite and charming as possible. Keep a positive attitude and behave at ease. It makes no sense to waste precious time regretting that you cannot control. - Becky Wetstone, a family therapist from Little Rock, Arkansas.