Marriage Minder: Dealing with in-laws during the holidays

The holiday season may be “the most wonderful time of the year” but for may it is also the most stressful.  Holiday family gatherings are a time to celebrate the years’ accomplishments and milestones as well as commiserate and grieve the losses. Friction between family members is also a common source of holiday stress. Unfortunately, friction between couples and their in-laws is an all to common source of stress.

Here are a few ideas from The Gottman Institute that will help couples successfully navigate the holidays with their in-laws.

“The key to handling difficult in-laws is to maintain solidarity in your marriage.”

First and foremost, remember that you and your spouse are The Team. You comprise an indivisible unit and therefore want to work together should a problem arise.

With the above guiding principle in mind, communication between you and your spouse is vitally important:

  • Communicate your concerns to your partner, (beforehand is a good idea, if there is a history of friction),
  • Ask your partner to stand up for you if necessary; tell your partner not to tolerate any criticism or contempt directed at you from their parents,
  • Remember that these ideas work in both directions; you may be asked by your partner to do the same with your parents,
  • If you are the spouse with the difficult parents, be proactive, let your partner know you want to defend them.  Ask what you can do to help.

From everyone at Quantum Counseling, we want to wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season!!!


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