How is your relationship with your future in-laws? If you’re lucky, you might get one who treats you like a daughter and shower you with all the love they can ever give. However, if you’re unlucky, you might get one who thinks you’re trying to steal their baby boy away and your life will be a living hell for as long as you live. Sad to say, after speaking to a number of bride-to-bes, we realised that the latter is more common than the first.

So how can you deal with your in-laws? Read on for some LEGIT tips on managing them without starting WW3.

Use your fiance as a shield/proxy

Yes, this is a thing. Your fiance should be aware of the treatment you’re receiving and be your protector. If your future in-laws are mean to you, he should be making sure that the bullying doesn’t continue. Let him talk to them, but don’t approach the problem yourself. Of course, if he’s not very bright, you need to tell him that there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to communication. 

Don’t say things like “I heard from (fiancee’s name) that you treat her like this. Can you please don’t”. Obviously this will make things worse because now they think that you’re ratting out on them behind their backs.

Say things like “I’ve noticed that you’ve been saying mean things to (fiancee’s name). It really hurt her feelings. And I would appreciate if you can stop this as we will be family soon.”

Stand your ground

Sometimes being sweet and docile doesn’t work. Unkind people always tend to try and put others down, especially when they know the other party doesn’t retaliate. So stand your ground and don’t falter. Of course, this is not to say that you should be rude. Be polite and state your reasons calmly and rationally. They are still your “zang bei” so it pays to be respectful and polite.

Don’t give them a reason to hate you

This is from a real life experience. There was once a bride-to-be who complained about the in-laws treating her badly. They were always “looking down” on her. Making snide comments about her being “lazy”. And not contributing to the family. 

After getting to know her for awhile, we realised something. Apparently, she doesn’t help with the cooking and washing. She sleeps till 1pm in the afternoon on weekends. And she snacks in the room, causing a vermin problem in the house. So who’s the problem now? The in-laws, or the daughter-in-law?

Try to compromise

I’m sure some of us, or rather, most of us have at least rolled our eyes once at the demands of our parents or in-laws. Be it the number of tables, their ever growing list of guest names, the location of your ceremony, the dinner menu, or even the colour of the table cloth. There will be something that rubs you the wrong way.

And as frustrating as it is, we must always remember that these are the people who brought us up and are the proudest to see us get married. So let’s stay respectful to their wishes (as long as it is reasonable). 

But what is unreasonable?

1) If the thought of it makes you uncomfortable and upset. (For example, if the couple is of different religions and parents from one side demands a religious ceremony.)

2) If their request requires you to spend out of your budget.

3) If you are against it. And has a reasonable explanation. 

So how do you deal with unreasonable demands?

1) If both you and your partner are against it, stand your ground and reason in a calm manner.

2) If you are against the idea, find a common ground and seek compromise from both parties. 

For example, if the in-laws want a huge chinese banquet but you want a small and intimate (50 pax) wedding. Seek compromise and find a venue that holds up to only 100-150 guests (from the usual 300 guests). You can also ask to change the programme for the day.

3) If request from parents is out of your budget, ask if they would like to chip in and pay for their requested items.

4) Referring back to our first point, always get your partner to be the proxy when communicating with his parents. At least only one of you will be on the battlefront.

Hopefully these tips will help you to manage expectations with parents from both sides! Good luck!

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