Don't let your spouse's family put a damper on your holiday season. Whether you are going to the in-laws for Christmas or they are coming to yours, there are several ways to enjoy their company without their company destroying your enjoyment. As we all know not all in-laws are difficult to deal with, but some can be. Even so, I think most in-laws mean well and certainly do not want to cause disagreements.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
We can't change our in-laws, no matter what we do. So then knowing this we have to get it in our head that we must accept and tolerate them for who they are. If they are over-bearing and demanding, accept that and carry on with the Spirit of the holidays. Don't let their attitude make an impact on your spirit. Be kind and polite always.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:18
Now that we know we can't change our in-laws we can stop complaining about them to our spouse, because this will only makes things worse and tensioned filled when they come to visit. When mother in-law tells you how to prepare the stuffing for the turkey or how to set the table, or decorate your home, give her a big hug, tell her thank you and walk away. There is no need to go into a long drawn out reason "why" you aren't going to make the stuffing her way or decorate your home the way she wants. In other words there is no need to defend how you do things in your life if you are confident about with how you do things. You get it?
A prudent woman overlooks an insult. Proverbs 12:16 NIV
But sometimes are mother in-law may have good advice and in that case you may want to continue receiving it. I have an Italian mother in-law who likes to tell me how to cook and this can be difficult when being in the kitchen with her for an extended period of time. But I realize she is only over for the weekend and so I accept it. I still cook the way that I know is appreciated by my husband and three children. I simply give her a hug and let her know this is the way my family likes it, but if we come to her house we would love to taste her recipes.
If you allow your in-laws to get under your skin because of their unpleasant remarks or disrespectful comments then you are feeding into their attitudes and this can be a negative thing for them and for you and your family as well. The more they think you are ruffled by their remarks the more they may feel they need to goad you. Let them see how relaxed and confident you are in your ability to feed twenty guests, take care of the children, hubby, and other household duties. They will be amazed.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
Father in-laws usually are a bit more calm and quiet than mother in-laws. To make father in-law happy give him his favorite sport to watch on television and a nice comfortable chair to sit in and some snacks and he'll be happy. Mother in-law on the other hand may need a bit more activities to keep her mind and body occupied. So find things around the house to keep mother in-law busy with.
Make mom in-law feel useful. If she likes to knit or crochet, have these crafts available to her. If she likes to bake, have everything ready on the counter for her to bake with. If she likes reading, have her favorite books handy. And by all means, if she wants to help you cook that's fine too, but the kitchen and how everything is prepared is still your domain. Be the master of your domain by being respectful and pleasant with your in-laws, even though at times it may be difficult.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14)
Remember the old adage of detaching. If you have to detach with love because your in-laws are being domineering and controlling, then you may have to leave the room for a time until you get your frustrations off your chest. Try not to initiate a family squabble or the holiday Spirit will be ruined for everyone involved. Your loving detachment may be the wisest thing you can do and the best holiday present you can give everyone.
Detaching with love is being respectful and assertive about how you feel. If you have to speak up, do it in a kind and polite way. Never raise your voice. Learn to grin and bear it as the saying goes. This is in a sense very biblical as "turning the other cheek". Forgive your in-laws their trespasses. It is the respectful and honorable thing to do.
Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
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