Two Families as One

Two Families as One

Two go in, but only one comes out.

Sounds rather scary, doesn’t it? It is after all, the way a number of horror movies begin, but getting hitched is a different kind of scary. It’s that roller coaster fear, the kind of scary that we like. There are exciting twists, turns, highs and lows. It’s a butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of fear when two people pledge their lives to one another and become one flesh.

On the day you say, “I do,” when the priest, minister or magistrate recites the words, “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder,” you realize that there’s a lot at stake. You’ve joined in holy matrimony and your families are now joined as one, too. It’s important to get that. For better or worse, you share parents, siblings, aunts and yes, crazy uncles. This becomes even more apparent when down the road; newlyweds decide to have children.

Successfully binding the bride and groom’s families is the essence of love you want to preserve. Her dad is the first man your bride loved. His mom is the first woman who held his hand and kissed him softly. If for no other reason, love your in-laws for the sake of your spouse and adjust to a new way of life that includes additional parents. Setting the tone begins at the wedding.

FIND A WAY

Make your intended’s parents feel as if they’re gaining a child, rather than losing a son or daughter. Give them an honored position at the wedding, make a kind mention of them in a toast or just shake hands following the ceremony and say “thank you;” for a lovely wedding, for attending or for raising the amazing person that you are marrying. Let your guard down and share a moment. It could be the beginning of the endearing process.

MAKE A REQUEST

There’s a certain psychology behind asking a person for help. Perhaps it’s the vulnerability that’s associated with asking, but it is often a doorway to a personal friendship. You don’t have to make something up. At some point in time, you will need help with a project, a ride to the airport, a pet sitter etc. Take the opportunity and ask a member of your new family. Strike up a conversation on the way to the airport or while working on that DIY house project. Your may find that your spouse isn’t the only thing you have in common with your helper.

BE HUMBLE

 In-laws don’t want to constantly hear what a wreck your spouse was before you met them. You may be a better cook, provider and pick up after yourself better than he/she does, but keep it to yourself. Your spouse’s failings reflect on the family from which they came, as yours do also. A little teasing about his bedhead goes a long way. Keep it to a minimum.

FORGIVE 

So much time and potential is wasted when a family feud begins at a wedding and continues for twenty years or more. Put an end to that. Forgive the offending party and move on. If you’re the offender, ask for forgiveness. Refusing to fan the flame is a healthier option and fewer loved ones will be burned by the unavoidable bitterness of unresolved conflict.

However, there is a caveat to forgiveness. Deep emotional wounds aren’t easily healed. If necessary, seek professional help. In extreme cases, forgiveness shouldn’t be an open door for the offender to re-enter your life. In cases such as this, forgiveness is about you and your spouse moving on. Once burned, twice shy, but if you’re still angry that your sister-in-law wore the same dress to her wedding, it’s picayune. Let it go.

Preserve love and unite family.