Saturday, 8 October 2011

Minding the Monster - In - Law: how to handle your in-laws and other relatives

We've all heard of the woes befallen Heidi Withers in the run up to her wedding and how strongly her mother-in-law to be disapproves of her.  I suspect most of us know someone, or have been ourselves, in that situation.  Managing difficult in-laws, relatives and even friends in the run-up to a wedding can be a nightmare that a lot of international diplomats would balk at.  Here's a few top tips on how to handle them:

Mother-in-laws are a peculiar kettle-of-fish.  They are naturally very protective of their sons and you're the 'Other Woman' who's stealing him away.  (Odd how it's never quite the same with Fathers-of-the-bride.  They seem all too keen to palm their daughters off on the poor unsuspecting bloke who asked for their hand in marriage.)  It can be hard for women to see their mothers-in-law this way, but once you do it can help to create an understanding.  You're on surprisingly mutual ground: You both love this man very much.

Jackie Stallone was a famously difficult mother-in-law to get on with.  Sometimes the easiest way to break the ice with a difficult character is to take an interest in one of her hobbies.  Yes it might involve a bit of sucking up / kissing arse, but if it achieves a bit of peace or even civility then it is definitely worth it.  Finding common ground is generally the quickest way to a friendship.

When Jane Fonda was giving future daughter-in-law Jennifer Lopez grief in the movie Monster In Law, it was the setting of boundaries that finally allowed the women to heal their differences.  Compromise is the key.  We don't always like conceeding ground, especially to pople we don't like, but some times it's the only way.

The last option is rarely popular, but I've gotta say it just the same: sometimes smiling, nodding and giving her whatever she wants is the only way to keep the blue skies overhead.  Always stay your ground - hang on to the things that really matter to you - but anything you're not that fussed about, let her have her way.  Plenty of time for reeping revenge later!

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