If you speak to any wife out there, you will find very few that can say they truly get along with and enjoy their in-laws. Most people assume that it is the in-laws’ fault. After all, they can be set in their ways, interfering and difficult, right? But what if that notion isn’t quite true? What if some of the blame lies with the daughter-in-law? What if there are things you could be doing (or should be) that could ease the relationship between you and your in-laws?
Being a good daughter-in-law doesn’t require you to change who you are. Instead, it requires you to be relaxed, flexible, understanding, and good-natured. Don’t worry; this isn’t really a tall order. Below are several qualities and behaviors of a great daughter-in-law. If you are willing to incorporate these qualities into who you are as a person, you will find your relationship with the in-laws easing.
How to be a great daughter-in-law – 15 qualities & behaviors:
1. Have a positive attitude.
A lot of how things pan out between you and the in-laws will rest on your attitude. If you seem upset and withdrawn, chances are that the in-laws will find it hard to spend time with you. If you are positive and upbeat in your approach to life and family gatherings, they will take to you with ease and want to have you around.
2. Keep things light-hearted and genuine.
Being the type of daughter-in-law that the in-laws want around will require you to get outside of your doom and gloom mindset and show a little genuine light-heartedness. Let’s face it, time with the in-laws can be tough, but it will pass a lot quicker if you are quick to smile, happy to help, and genuinely focused on the happiness of those around you. Save the hard and deep conversations and world view for close friends and family of your own.
3. Respect the relationship between your partner and in-laws.
While it can be vaguely annoying that your mother-in-law tries to clean up after your partner or make him a “good home-cooked meal”, don’t interfere. Your father-in-law might want to spend hours chatting about politics and keep your partner up all night – don’t interfere. Allow your husband to have the type of close relationship he feels okay with, with his parents, regardless of how obscure, strange, or annoying that may be to you. Just let it be – that’s a sign of respect, and the in-laws will really appreciate it.
4. Make the effort to spend time with them (and take your partner along).
Every parent, brother, and sister wants to spend a little more time with their son or brother, but because life gets in the way, often, this is something that doesn’t materialize. Be the daughter-in-law that makes it happen. Yes, it might be a chore to set aside a Saturday once a month to spend with the in-laws, but be the person that makes it happen. It will help strengthen the relationship between your partner and his family. Also, as a nice side effect, your in-laws will really view it as a positive thing.
5. Look after your spouse as best you can.
Something that in-laws really appreciate seeing is that their beloved son is being well looked after. Of course, you shouldn’t fake it or make an unnatural show of it, but genuinely care for your partner and don’t be afraid to show it. Even if you have differences with your in-laws, if they see that you are taking good care of your husband, they will respect and appreciate that.
6. Show that you care about your spouse as well as the family.
Showing that you care about your spouse is one thing, but taking it a step further and showing genuine concern and care for the other family members is important. Ask the in-laws and siblings how they are and truly listen to what they have to say. General care and concern is something that is highly appreciated in a family unit.
7. Have a good sense of humor about things.
If something doesn’t go your way, don’t sulk or get upset. Rather laugh it off and show that you have a sense of humor. Try to find the light side of the situation and have a general “no big deal” mindset. Of course, this should be done within reason. No one is expecting you to be laughing and light-hearted when bad or upsetting things happen to you.
8. Ask for their advice.
In-laws will have a soft spot for a daughter-in-law that shows value for their advice and opinions. Of course, you might not want to approach them for relationship advice, but ask what they think of other, simpler decisions that you need to make. Perhaps ask your mother-in-law what she thinks of an outfit or schooling options and chat to your father-in-law about household repairs or choosing a service provider for something.
In the end, you don’t have to take their advice, but at least make an effort to listen to what they have to say. Your in-laws will love being included and will appreciate that their opinions and advice are of value to you.
9. Encourage a relationship between your children and the in-laws.
The in-laws will truly appreciate it if you provide them with access to their grandchildren and encourage a relationship between them. If your children don’t instantly talk to the grandparents, try to facilitate it so that it becomes easier. This will show that you are a daughter-in-law who cares about family relationships and wants them to derive value from your family unit.
10. Treat your in-laws just like you would treat your own family.
You might have a tendency to be a little less relaxed and welcoming with the in-laws than you are with your own family, but this could be a mistake.
Treat your in-laws like you would your own family. Be authentically you. Welcome them with open arms and be as relaxed and warm as you would with your own parents and siblings. If they can see that you treat both families the same and that a level of love and acceptance is extended for family, they will appreciate the effort and feel right at home in your company.
11. Make the first move to resolve disputes and upsets.
Nothing is worse than a family in crisis. Perhaps your husband has had a disagreement with a sibling, and the parents feel torn, or perhaps your husband has had harsh words with his mother. Whatever the case may be, you are in a position of power to encourage both sides to make it right.
Play the intermediary and encourage your partner to heal old wounds and make an effort, because family relationships are ultimately important. Doing this for the family is something that will be greatly respected. The more the in-laws see that you want to keep the family together and happy, the more they will love you.
12. Put yourself out there and give them the opportunity to reciprocate.
It can be hard to go the extra mile for people you aren’t entirely sure of, but if you want to be a good daughter-in-law; that’s precisely what you have to do. Don’t be rigid around them. Show them who you are and be willing to accept them for who they are.
When a family member is in trouble, offer to help. Extend a helping hand wherever possible and make sure that everyone knows how available you are in times of hardship. Even if they never reciprocate, they will remember that you were willing to do this and view this behavior favorably.
13. Be flexible to accommodate differences and changes.
It’s unreasonable to think that you will get along with and have similarities with everyone. If your in-laws are different from you or bring about a few changes in your life, be accepting and flexible. Of course, this should be done in reason.
If someone does something differently to you and it’s not going to negatively impact your life and doesn’t go against your personal beliefs, let it slide. It’s better to show a little flexibility and the ability to accommodate others’ differences than to be hardline and push people away. If you are flexible, the family will consider you easy to get along with and will happily want to spend time with you.
14. Don’t be possessive of your partner.
Your partner is not just your husband. He is also a brother, son, cousin, and more. If you want to fit in with the family dynamic as a good daughter-in-law, you have to accept that and allow him to be in those roles when he needs to be. Don’t impose unrealistic expectations on your partner when it comes to his family relationships. The more you allow his family relationships to thrive, the more appreciative and welcoming the family will be of you.
15. Acquire an accepting and welcoming attitude of the in-laws in your home.
No one likes their space invaded, but if the in-laws want to visit, be accommodating. A good daughter-in-law doesn’t get upset over an unplanned visit or a longer-than-expected stay. Instead, she grits her teeth, puts on a smile, and does what needs to be done for the family. Of course, if the unexpected visits keep happening, that might be something you need to speak to your husband about.
Chances are that regardless of how you feel about your in-laws, they are still going to want to spend time with your husband. Unless you find ways to be the best possible daughter-in-law you can be, you’re soon going to harbor resentment and feel quite left out. While it is difficult to inspire change and acceptance in your in-laws, you can play your part towards creating a happy and comfortable relationship.
Being a good daughter-in-law is not so much about being prim, proper, and perfect. It’s rather about developing a genuine bond with your husband’s family and promoting the preservation and happiness of the family unit. It can be daunting and sometimes tough, but it’s very worth it.