Do you get along with your in-laws?
Okay, so I didn’t intend that question to be funny. But if you caught yourself snickering a little, who could blame you? In-law jokes (particularly about one’s mother-in-law) are a mainstay of modern comedy routines and a common stereotype in movies and television shows.
But within every joke you can find a kernel of truth. And the truth here is in-law relationships can be difficult.
When you get married, in-laws may start doing or saying things you never anticipated, and before you even know what’s hit you, you find yourself in an adversarial relationship.
I’ll admit that Jean and I don’t have a great deal of experience in this area. I lost my parents at a young age, so Jean never had in-law battles to fight. In my case, we didn’t live near Jean’s mom and dad. So when we visited they were always loving and kind and never over-engaged in our family matters.
But that’s not the case with many couples. There is real tension there. When you get beyond problems surrounding money and intimacy, difficulty with in-laws is often one of the next issues on the list.
To help us work through this delicate area in a marriage, we welcome back one of our favorite guests, Dr. Gary Chapman, to the Focus on the Family studio.
One idea he shared I think you’ll find insightful is the need for marriages to run on parallel tracks with separation from parents representing one rail and devotion to parents representing the other.
The challenge is how to keep those two ideas in proper tension. On the one hand is the admonition from Genesis 2 and Ephesians 5 to “leave and cleave.” But there are other passages which tell us to honor our parents.
How do couples manage the intricacies of that? Well, today’s and tomorrow’s programs are filled with practical ideas that will help you better understand how to navigate the challenges that often come with in-laws.
But more than that, we’ll discuss how to build a healthy relationship with them. It’s easy to tear down and make fun of in-law relationships, but we want to give you some things you can put into action to make that relationship healthier and better.