I get along pretty well with my in-laws. My husband parents are divorced, and both are remarried. My husband has three older sisters, and while I’m not particularly close with any of them, we also get along pretty well. My mother-in-law and I are pretty close. We talk on the phone at least once a week, normally, and even though we disagree on politics and religion, we have a friendly relationship. It hasn’t always been that way, though.
When my husband and I started dating, his mother made it no secret that she wasn’t that fond of me. I, being a polite young Southern girl, was always polite to her, but she made me feel very uncomfortable, to say the least. He was her baby, and her only boy out of four children. I was not invited to the family Christmas party at his mother’s house the year we were engaged, even though we were, you know, engaged, where in contrast, my husband has always been welcome at my family events, even when we’d only been dating a few weeks. My mother had always been benignly mistreated by my father’s parents, and figured that as long as I was happy with him, she’d make sure he felt welcome.
My husband joined the Army in the first year of our marriage, and shipped out 7 months after the wedding. On the last day before he left, I took him to the recruiter’s office, where his dad met up with us. I’ve always felt close to his dad, maybe because I don’t have one of my own, but he and his wife have always made me feel like part of the family. I even lived with them for a while when I came home, pregnant, during my husband’s deployment. Anyway, my husband was sent to a hotel in Atlanta, right outside the airport, because he’d be flying out in the morning. After he checked in, he was given permission to leave the hotel, as long as a civilian signed him out. Well, of course, he’d forgotten his glasses so I drove to the hotel to take them to him.
While I was there, his mother called. He told her that he was free to go out for dinner, so she said she’d come up. He told her that I was there, and I heard her say that she just wanted it to be them, and our niece that was visiting his mom. I lost it. I sat in my car and cried like a baby. My husband half-heartedly offered to call her and insist that I come along (he’s never been good about standing up to his parents), but by that point my face was red and splotchy, I was angry with both of them, and I’d used my sleeves as Kleenex (gross, I know). The last time I saw my husband before he shipped out was with a tear-stained face, and a heavy heart; my mother-in-law obviously didn’t want me around, and apparently keeping the peace was more important to my husband than standing up for me.
When my husband graduated AIT (advanced individual training), my sister and I drove to Missouri for his graduation. His mom flew into St. Louis, and we picked her up from the airport. It was a 2 hour drive back to Fort Leonard Wood, and it actually wasn’t half bad. It was one of the first times we’d been together without my husband as a buffer. We went to these caves that were on the way and took a tour, and she stayed in our hotel room to save a little money. It was a little awkward, especially for my sister, to have to share a hotel room with her, but we made it work. We all drove back to Georgia together; me, my husband, his mother, and my sister, plus all his Army gear, in a Plymouth Neon. Still, it was far too soon to say that were close, or that we even liked one another.
I know plenty of people don’t get along with their in-laws, even after years or decades of having a spouse/child in common. For us, we didn’t really start getting along until my daughter was born. I guess she figured out that at this point, even if I divorced her son tomorrow, we were always going to be a part of each others’ lives. For me, well, I learned to ignore the sometimes hurtful comments, and eventually they ceased. I started to appreciate the woman who obviously adored my daughter, who sent care packages to the baby and me in Germany as often as she sent them to her son in Afghanistan. I started to really enjoy our chats, and even look forward to the phone calls I’d make to her.
I’m sure to her, I was just someone who was trying to take her son away, and the thing is, it was true. Because I was uncomfortable around his mother, we both avoided her, for the most part. When we did have to spend time with her, we made our excuses quickly, because he knew how awkward it was for me. As I became more comfortable spending time with her, it became easier for him to spend time with her. Now, well, we still disagree about politics and religion, but we don’t really talk about it. We do, however, agree that we both love her son, and the children that her son and I have produced, and that gave us some excellent building blocks to build a relationship that was just ours.
Do you have problems with your in-laws, or have you overcome what was once a problem relationship with them? Are there some relationships that just can’t be saved?
Elaina- She has also guest posted for us HERE.
1 year ago