Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

Two to Tango: How you take care of your in-laws can have a huge impact on your relationship

Basic understanding, an acknowledgement and appreciation of what your partner is doing for your parents, can go a long way in changing the equation between the partners.

Counsellors say that how partners behave towards their partner’s parents, makes a lot of difference to the relationship. (Source: Thinkstock Images) Counsellors say that how partners behave towards their partner’s parents, makes a lot of difference to the relationship. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Since the concept of neutral families is relatively new in India, many couples are no more used to having in-laws as part of their daily lives. With urbanisation, most coupes stay alone, with the parent and in-laws only visiting once in a while.

But when parents-in-laws move into a neutral household, it ends up causing trouble in paradise for some couples.

Take the case of Sonam and Rahul. When Rahul’s father passed away and his mother moved in with them, things became quite difficult for Sonam. “I had to shift my daughter to a smaller room and give her room to my mother-in-law. I also had to divide time between her and my daughter and I hated it, since I couldn’t spend as much time with my daughter as I wanted to. Since my mother-in-law was very demanding, things became very difficult for me. And if I as much as expressed any feelings of displeasure, Rahul would just snap at me and accuse me of being miserable towards his mother,” she said.

In time, she started resenting his behaviour towards her and their relationship took a beating.

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Counsellors say that the most common mistake couples make, is to either shut down completely or go on a complaining mode when neither is really a good idea.

This is what happened with Astha and Vishal when Astha’s parents started keeping ill, she got them to come and live close to her house. But the move started creating fissures in their marriage. “Every time I went to check on my parents on the floor above ours, Vishal would sulk. I felt really hurt by his attitude. Every time he behaved like that I loved him less and less,” said Astha.

Counsellors say that how partners behave towards their partner’s parents, makes a lot of difference to the relationship. Sometimes just as it can break a relationship, it can even result in strengthening it if the couples handle it well. This is what happened with Gisha and Manas. When Manas’ father passed away he got his mother to stay with them. Though it was very difficult, the couple constantly discussed the problems and solutions possible.

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“For me the fact that he understands the trouble I was going through and tried his best to support me, soothed my nerves. He would appreciate all the compromises I made with his mother in this house, and it was enough for me. We both knew we couldn’t do anything about the situation, but his understanding and appreciation made all the difference,” said Gisha.

Later, when Gisha’s own mother became a widow and was not in a position to stay alone, Manas was most supportive and suggested that she come and live with them as well on the floor above, where his own mother stayed. “His support for my mother changed everything for me. I started loving my husband more than ever before and respected him so much that I felt I could do anything for them. It brought the two of us really close and made us appreciate each other a lot more than ever before,” says Gisha.

Experts say that one partner’s constant complaints about the in-laws and other’s constant denial and refusal to address the issue at hand can cause a strong relationship to crash.

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But a basic understanding, an acknowledgement and appreciation of what your partner is doing for your parents, can go a long way in changing the equation between the partners once the parents and parents’ in-law step in.

First published on: 11-01-2016 at 04:52:39 pm
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