web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Part 27 – Refocusing Your Perspective On Your In-laws


Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

The number one factor in resolving problems of acceptance by in-laws is your spouse’s support. As with all close relationships, it’s an art to support your spouse without jumping into the fight or feeding his or her discontent.

Let’s say that Chana and Shlomo have just returned from an extended visit with his parents. She declares: “I never want to stay with your parents again! Why doesn’t your mother like me? Why does she seem to criticize the way I am bringing up our children? She told me that she had you potty trained by the age of 2 and that you obeyed her without question.”

In this case, Chana is being a little overdramatic and overly sensitive. How can Shlomo support her without reinforcing her exaggeration or condemning his mom?

He could say something like this: “Honey, I’m so sorry that you feel hurt by the things my mom says. But I know you’re a terrific mother, and she’ll come to see that, too. She also seems to remember me as much more perfect than I was. I can remember giving her plenty of frustration and grief, but it’s probably good that she doesn’t remember all the tough times. I’ll always support you in finding a time to share your feelings with my mom. I really think she likes you and won’t be able to help but love you as time goes on.”

Or imagine that Shlomo has the complaint, “I don’t want to spend more than one day at your parents’ house ever again,” he says. “I always feel like a third wheel. I know your dad hates the fact that I don’t enjoy sports. You and he seem to be in your own little ‘sports world.’ What am I supposed to do – spend my time helping your mom in the kitchen?”

Chana might respond by reassuring Shlomo by saying something like: “I’m so sorry that I haven’t been more sensitive to your feelings of being left out during those times. You’re right – enjoying sports has been the major thing Dad and I share. I know even Mom has felt a little left out when we obsess about it. Let’s see if we can think of ways to connect when we’re at my parents’ – all of us, including my mom. I know my dad primarily cares about how I’m loved and taken care of, and there’s no question about those things in my mind. Please give me a little sign if I forget it next time.”

Relationship Tips

For couples like Shlomo and Chana, I suggest that they work on the following points:

1. Work with each other. Remember, you’re in this together. Never put your spouse in a situation where he or she has to choose between you and a relative. If you do so, you’re putting your spouse in a nearly impossible bind. Instead, try to understand the bond your spouse has with his or her grandparents, parents, and siblings. If possible, try to support that relationship. Even if your spouse has difficult parents, they are his or her parents.

2. Communicate directly. If possible, avoid communicating through a third party. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to his sister about something she did that hurt your feelings. Talk to your sister-in-law directly. If something bothers you, address it as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a genuine problem; other times, it might be a misunderstanding.

3. Set boundaries and limits. With your spouse, decide what’s important and what’s not. For example, you want to spend quality time together on the weekend, independent of what your in-laws expect. Or, you may decide that you will not take any loans from your in-laws, period. Some parents, for example, let their children eat anything they want, anytime. Others establish mealtime rituals such as: if you eat a reasonable dinner, then you can have some dessert. Working as a team, you should set your own family values, and then communicate your values to your in-laws.

Putting It All Together

Michael, 29, came to speak to me about the difficulties he was having with his future mother in-law. He began by describing to me the positive feelings he had for his kallah:

Michael: First, let me start by saying that my kallah, Rachel, is a wonderful, beautiful and unique person. We are a perfect match, and both find strength in being together.

Daniel Schonbuch (DS): Tell me more about your personalities.

Michael: I think our personalities are very different, but they complement each other very well. I’m more dominating. I think I am a dominant Type A. I love to be in control and make decisions. I can be stubborn at times, but my objectivity balances that out most of the time. I think I know when to give in and when not to.

About the Author: Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, Marriage and Family Therapy, is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Flatbush, Cedarhurst, and Crown Heights. He is a certified PAIRS instructor, and trained as a Level 1, Emotionally Focused Therapist at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and is a member of AASECT. He is the author of At Risk – Never Beyond Reach and First Aid For Jewish Marriages. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com or call 646-428-4723


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Part 27 – Refocusing Your Perspective On Your In-laws”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Strike on Golan Yekev
Israeli Wounded from Syrian Shelling on Golan
Latest Sections Stories
Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot together in concert.

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

More Articles from Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch
Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

Separation anxiety disorder is a condition in which a child becomes fearful and nervous when away from home or separated from a loved one – usually a parent or other caregiver – to whom the child is attached.

Schonbuch-Rabbi-Daniel

I try to focus on the parents in a way that is not often addressed. As soon as the child gets anxious, the parent gets anxious;

Most people are not aware that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).

Parental conflict affects children in varying ways, depending on their age. For example, teenagers around the age of fifteen or sixteen are most likely to involve themselves in their parents’ battles. Younger children may keep their feelings hidden inside and may only show signs of depression in late childhood or early adolescence.

When parents come to talk to me about a troubled child or teenager, I often find it helpful to explore whether or not their marriage is causing their teenager to be at risk.

Active listening is only one part of the marriage equation; learning what to say and what not to say is the other half. And, it’s not just about expressing your feelings, but doing it in a way that avoids hurting the other person.

Control may be the most destructive force influencing a marriage. Let me illustrate this point with the following story. About two years ago a woman named Bracha, 47, came to speak to me about her husband’s controlling behavior. This is how she described her precarious situation:

Controlling behavior may be the number one reason that your marriage needs first aid.

If you are unfamiliar with the topic of control, it’s no surprise. Most people are unaware that control is a major issue for counselors, therapists and psychologists-at-large.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/part-27-refocusing-your-perspective-on-your-in-laws/2009/08/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: