Judging from all the in-law jokes, in-law relationships may be the most neglected and abused of all family relationships. How can we build healthy relationships with our spouse’s parents? The more mutual respect and enjoyment we experience with our in-laws, the more security and stability we share with our spouse. So if we’d like to maintain a growing friendship with our in-laws, here are some ideas:

  1. Write a letter to our partner’s parents thanking them for a character trait or personal skill they instilled in your mate.
  2. The next  visit at your in-laws’ home, look for something to do for them. Maybe you could run an errand or help in the kitchen or yard. Look for ways to serve them.
  3. Keep grandparents informed of our children’s activities, interest, and accomplishments. Grandparents especially love newspaper clippings and lots and lots of pictures.
  4. If you live far away and see them infrequently, schedule a regular visit by Skype or Face Time. E-mail and texting are also wonderful ways to stay in touch depending on how tech savvy they are.

Above all, we need be grateful to our in-laws. They were the ones who provided the climate for cultivating all the attractive qualities in that special person we chose to marry!

Remember, in making family ties stronger, we make our marriage stronger as well!

Written by Claudia and David Arp, MSW

David and Claudia Arp, MSW, founders of Marriage Alive Seminars, are marriage educators, columnists and authors of numerous books and small group video curriculum including “The Second Half of Marriage and 10 Great Dates” (Zondervan). You can visit their website: www.marriagealive.com