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Oct 23, 2021 in 

Rules for Healthy Marital Boundaries For the In-Laws

Some in-laws take their son/daughter's marriage and try to run it. Here are some ways to help set boundaries with the spouse

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Elizabeth Martinez

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SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

  1. Your home is YOUR sanctuary and no one else gets to disrupt that

  2. Make your wishes known beforehand and if rules can’t be followed then the person/family needs to stay away

  3. YOU and YOUR spouse set the rules so you BOTH must remain on the same page and be consistent

  4. Know that a scene may be made because of the rules, but stay strong and mean what you say and say what you mean

If need be, you both may need to re-establish boundaries and not allow family/friends/etc to enter into your sanctuary until they can show you they are on board. Not just one time, but all the time

  • Schedule family get-togethers and other times when certain family members come over to your home

  • If your mother in law or in-laws, in general, seem to question your whereabouts and expect you to explain yourself, then you need to put in “I”-statements and letting her/them know that it bothers you that she/they have a need to keep track of how long you are gone, who you have over. Explain that it hurts your feelings and you don’t appreciate being treated like a child. You can explain you appreciate the concern, but you need space and you need her/them to understand that she/they are crossing over boundaries that you don’t appreciate.

  • If you have a point to make to your mother-in-law and/or in-laws then make it and be as nice as you can be but don’t beat around the bush. 

  • Your spouse is going to have to be straightforward with his mother and/or other family members. He’s going to have to let his mom and/or family members know to stop spreading cryptic messages about you and having the need to put you down at any/all opportunities otherwise it makes both him and you think twice about letting your child/ren go over to their house because you are both concerned that you will talk bad about one of them or both of them to their children.

  • If your child/ren comes to either parent and lets you know what his/her grandparent/family member says, don’t blow it off. You both need to be united in protecting your child/ren and it’s not about him wanting to defend his mother/family members and excusing what is being said and expecting you (being his wife) to get over it. You HAVE TO be UNITED 

  • If you happen to go to the in-law’s house or you allow them to come over, always let it be known that certain things are off-limits to talk about. If you are at the in-law’s house and the mother-in-law/other family members decide they are going to talk about topics that you put off limit then make a stand and get up and leave. Don’t call their bluff and tell them you’ll give them one more chance. You aren’t there to raise them as a child. You kindly excuse yourselves and leave. If they are at your home, you will need to request that they leave. They may call your bluff but you need to mean what you say and say what you mean

  • Know that it’s okay not to stay at any of the in-law’s homes. You aren’t required to do it. Both parties need to be on board, not just one person. Otherwise, it won’t work. You are allowed to have the space you want and need.

    1. Don’t allow other plans to be made in your presence without running by you to see if it’s okay/or speaking as if you are non-existent or have discussions out of your presence/behind your back about what is going to happen with your child/ren without also speaking to you. Just because they make plans doesn’t mean that they get the final decision. You are the parent. You get to tell the mother-in-law and/or other in-laws to tell them the child/ren's schedule and you’d want them to obey this. If they can’t obey the rules you have for your children then they don’t get to have your child/ren at their home or anywhere alone. 

    2. Sometimes the mother-in-law and/or other in-laws find it okay to hound you with text messages or phone calls since they aren’t talking to you in person. The rules still apply in which they HAVE TO respect you! Your spouse has to be on the front with you regarding his family. He can’t cower behind you and act as if he’s going to stand with his mother and family on what they do with you, how they speak with you because he’s afraid to stand up. 

    You have a right to temporarily block their numbers so they can’t reach you or change your number. You aren’t required to give them any new number of yours because they feel it’s necessary to barrage you with their delusions. You aren’t required to give them any number of yours or anything else especially if they don’t even attempt to respect you.

    1. If you/your husband/child-ren have medical appointments you ARE NOT required to give your in-laws information about what happened. If you are pregnant and go for a visit to the doctor you ARE NOT required to give information unless you want to. There is no need for your mother-in-law and/or in-laws to suddenly make plans to come over to discuss the doctor’s visit at your home.

    2. You and your husband need to let it be known that your family won’t be going to your in-law’s house for EVERY holiday. That was fine before when he was single, but now he has a family of his own now and you and your family want to make your own memories in your own space. There is nothing wrong with doing that and wanting that. So don’t feel bad about it.

    3. Avoid being in the same room alone with your mother-in-law and/or other in-laws because there may be always something said sarcastically to you and lies are spread that way. You also don’t want to be alone in the room with an in-law especially if you are there with your child/ren and they talk about you to your child as if you don’t exist in their presence.

    4. DO NOT allow your mother-in-law and/or other in-laws to dictate to you how to parent. What you and your spouse believe about raising your child/ren may not be in agreement with what your in-laws feel you should do. In fact, your mother-in-law may point out she wants her son to raise your child/ren how she raised him/other siblings and it’s the only way to raise your child/ren. You also don’t need your mother-in-law or other in-laws dictating to you that your parenting style is wrong or cause problems 

    5. You’ve come to a point in your marriage that you and your husband are needing help financially. Should you ask his family for money (or yours)? The answer is NO. While your family may be the total opposite of your husband’s family, knowing this, will lead you to a bigger headache with your mother-in-law. I can guarantee you, you will open up the door for his family to believe they can tell you what to do and be under their thumb. If you feel you have problems with them now… you will have even more after asking for money from them. You need to make sure that your husband is on the same page and doesn’t sneak and ask for money without you knowing and you're left dealing with the repercussions after the fact.

    6. Compromise Compromise Compromise. Did I say Compromise? If you know that when his family has the child/ren they feel they are only going to feed the child/ren junk food just because, SPEAK UP! Allow one small junk food a day. Some in-laws will take it to the extreme because you allow one junk food a day and make it the largest pile of junk foods in one sitting and sarcastically inform you that “you were the one that said junk food once a day and she/they followed your rules” This is the time that you and your spouse have a serious conversation. It will be your husband that should speak to his mother and/or other relatives about the situation and he needs to let them know that you two are united and he doesn’t approve of what they are doing.

     

    In the end, it comes down to if you and your spouse are going to be on the same page and say the same things so it shows you both are consistent. You both are united at the front and you both are doing what you need to do for your family, not theirs.

    The longer that your spouse decides he isn’t going to stick up for you and defends any/everything that his mother and/or family does, it will never work out for you. Your spouse cannot be at your side one minute then the next flip and be on his mother/family's side. It’s all or nothing. There is no in-between. 

    You shouldn’t be made to sacrifice your peace, your sanctity, your joy, yourself, and everything else because you are supposed to deal with rude in-laws.

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