Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FAML 300 Week 13: Transitions in Marriage: In-Law Relations

My husband and I, the beginning of transitions.

When a couple gets married they have no idea the many little transitions that take place during those early years to truly form a marriage. I will refer to my readings from Harper, J. M. & Olsen, S. F. (2005). "Creating Healthy Ties With In-Laws and Extended Families” [from  C. H. Hart, L.D. Newell, E. Walton, & D.C. Dollahite (Eds.), Helping and healing our families: Principles and practices inspired by "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" (pp. 327-334). Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company].

Building a couple identity is important in strengthening a new marriage.
In this chapter we read about a young couple that was recently married, with the holidays coming they are faced with their first transitional problem. Both of them are used to spending holidays with their own families, and now they need to decided how the two of them will spend these holidays. I have seen this among many friends and even in my own life, and each couple has to decide what works for them. This deciding has an important impact on the marriage. These couples need to find a way to keep their relationship with their parents and yet build an identity as a married couple.

Harper and Olson teach us that the first thing a couple does is separate themselves from the family they grew up in. President Spencer W. Kimball said when referring to how couples should protect their identity as a married couple, “She, the woman, occupies the first place. She is preeminent, even above the parents who are so dear to all of us. Even the children must take their proper but significant place. I have seen some women who give their children that spot, that preeminence, in their affection and crowd out the father. That is a serious mistake.

The authors also add that a “husband needs to realize that strengthening his miarriage and making certain that his wife feels secure with him is the biggest single thing he can do to help his wife and his mother develop a quality relationship.”

 I believe that as couples focus on building their own marriage and family—not turning their backs on their family of origin but mainly focusing on that marital relationship—they will find the other relationships fall into their proper place.

Our time away from family strengthened our own family unit.
My husband and I only spent our first five years of marriage near family. During this time we did the usual tradition of splitting the holidays with our parents, running from one in-law to the other each holiday. It was wonderful, and yet it was also tiring. I think the biggest blessing to our marriage and our own family traditions has been the change that made us move to where our families weren’t within easy travel distance.

With this change we were able to focus on building our own family routines, traditions, and habits. If there is one message I learned from this week’s message, it is that we need to keep our spouse as our number one. No children, parents, siblings, or hobbies should come in the way the marital relationship. If we want our spouse to love their in-laws, then we need to make sure he or she feels loved and secure.

  • Build that friendship and love. 
  • Make your spouse feel important in your life. 
  • Accept them for who they are, and don’t try to change them. 
  • See what you can do to show love and support for them. 
  • Know their dreams. 
  • Listen to each other.
  • Love each other.
An image of a couple standing on a hill, paired with a quote from Elder Robert D. Hales: “None of us marry perfection; we marry potential.”

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