“I just don’t understand why your mom has to have the Christmas decorations like that. It’s dangerous for the kids.”
“Maybe I don’t feel like going Christmas caroling in the neighborhood. Why can’t your dad understand that?”
“Why does your sister insist we keep up with that silly tradition? I never did that in my family.”
Yes, the holidays are in full swing and that means visiting with family.
And it often means (gulp) visiting your in-laws and possibly the entire clan.
During the holidays, emotions and expectations run high. Getting along with your own family can be challenging enough let alone getting along with your spouse’s family.
To maintain marital happiness, it’s important to know how to not only survive the holidays with your extended family, but to really enjoy them.
Here Are 7 Tips to Keep In Mind Over This Holiday Season
#1 – Recognize It May Not Be How Your Family Does Things
“But this isn’t how I grew up doing Christmas!”
Yes, your spouse’s family may do things differently. They might have different traditions or customs. That’s OK! The first step is to be aware of it and then not to compare. Be open to adapting to something new.
#2 – Take a Break When Needed
Dealing with a mother-in-law, a rude uncle, or crazy cousins can be challenging at items. To avoid a meltdown, take a break. Stand up, go outside, or do whatever works for you to get some relief.
Just be sure to let your wife or husband know what you’re doing. And let him or her know in a nice way.
#3 – Don’t Take It Out On Your Spouse
When challenging times come up, remember it’s not your spouse’s fault. Don’t get frustrated with them.
What their family does isn’t necessarily a reflection of the person you fell in love with and married. Remember that!
As always, focus on great communication and expressing yourself clearly without being negative.
#4 – Look For the Good
Every family, no matter how “dysfunctional” has positive attributes. After all, your husband or wife came from this family – there’s got to be something good about them!
Your job is to find the positive things and focus on them over the holidays.
#5 – Look For the Commonalities
Just like focusing on the good stuff, you’ve got to be active in looking for the stuff you share in common with your spouse’s family. Chances are pretty good, there are at least a few things that are the same with what you’re used to.
Whether it’s decorating a Christmas tree, sipping on eggnog, or playing card games, there should be a lot of things you can think to do together with your extended family.
#6 – Start New Family Traditions
With your spouse’s family, you can start some new holiday traditions. Together with your husband or wife, come up with some ideas that would be fun to do together with the extended family.
Then, present the ideas together and see if everyone would be willing to do them. It can be as simple as going sledding or eating pizza on Christmas Eve. The goal is to create something that you can look forward to doing with the family.
#7 – Be Grateful That You Have a Family
The holidays are a time to be grateful. This starts with your spouse.
Many people, for various reasons, don’t have the fortune of enjoying the holidays with family. Start first with your spouse and be grateful that he or she is in your life. Then look outward and see the good in the people that you get to spend time with.
When you come from a place of gratitude, it’s hard to see any negative. In fact, your experience will usually be the opposite.
Enjoy the Holidays
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed.
By being aware of the differences and celebrating the commonalities, you’ll find that visiting the dreaded in-laws can become a blessing for both you and your spouse.