How to Deal with In-Laws Interference and Protect Your Marriage?

A large number of Indian marriages suffer due to the in-law's interferences, especially in a joint family scenario. The questions that individual faces under such scenarios are, "as a daughter-in-law or a son-in-law are , what is required of me? What are my obligations, whether I feel like it or not, in relation to my spouse's parents?"

There are many reasons why in-laws interfere or impose their judgements & decisions, and start to pressurise their daughter in law or son in law to follow them. When in-laws are not been followed, they gradually move to defame their daughter in law or son in law to others. This creates an extremely negative environment at home, as either one or both the partners have to undergo great pain and agony with each passing day.  They feel caught up between trying to please their in-laws or trying to avoid offending them on the one hand, and just wanting to be themselves or wanting their own "space" on the other.    

Worst is when the suffering is not limited to the couples, even the parents have to suffer in such situations.

Relationship expert and marriage counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo suggests that it is possible to resolve conflict with in-laws and couples can stay happily & peacefully with the elders by honouring certain limits.

She suggests that if you feel your in-laws are intruding into your married life then it’s better to follow the old saying, "Good fences make good neighbours". In other words, when you get married, you also become a part of another family with its own set of expectations. You need to recognise and respect those expectations “within limits”.

Here are some examples of limits that you may set between you and your in-laws if you find your relationship with them as well as with your spouse is eroding. These limits can help you to avoid reaching dead ends in the relationship with our in-laws as well as protect your marriage.

Hence here are few things that "honouring" your in-laws does not mean:

• Honouring your in-laws doesn't require that you submerge your own feelings, desires, preferences, and needs in the service of "doing things their way."
• Honouring your in-laws doesn't mean that you must permit them to disrespect or manipulate you for their own old age insecurities, personal judgements etc.

Remember instead of violently reacting to your in-laws and getting into unnecessary arguments, practice to respond diplomatically with a firm “no”.

However, if it’s too late and you have engaged in a quiet or not so quiet battle with your in-laws, losing your peace of mind and witnessing a decline of love & respect for your spouse, then don’t let your marriage and personal life erode further. Take an immediate help from a marriage counsellor, who is better equipped to help you and your spouse to pull you out of this adverse situation.