Of widows left at the mercy of in-laws, courts
A good working relationship with your spouse’s family starts now, but it is not as hard as it is made out to seem.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the Christmas season.
If you married or got engaged recently, it is likely that you may spend the holidays with your in-laws.
When you are at the stage of marriage, the introduction and impression you make on his family is important. This one visit could make or break the relationship. So, we talked to some people and came up with a few pointers that will help you score big with in-laws this holiday season.
Do not suck up
“People can smell fake from a mile away,” 34-year-old George Karanja, who took his girlfriend to meet his family for the first time last year says. “In fact, too much compliments are unnecessary because they come off as sucking up. Just be pleasant and more importantly be yourself.”
Not sucking up does not mean that you don’t talk to them however. You don’t have to love your in laws but you will definitely have to live with them. Karanja advises that putting on a good face is important as even the most unsavoury holiday get-togethers can go smoothly if one simply makes an effort.
Karanja says, you should offer a helping hand even when you are trying not to suck up. “You are not just another friend your partner is bringing home, so play your part. I know for a fact that my mother would be offended if my wife did not offer to help out in the kitchen and my sisters would ‘catch feelings’ if she did not participate in family activities such as singing Christmas carols. When I took my girlfriend home, she did not know some songs, but she tried anyway,” he recalls.
Carry them a gift
Always take something to the house you’re visiting and this does not only apply to your in-laws. “It doesn’t have to be a gift for each and every one, but even some food is good,” says Joan Mwangi, 32, who has been married for four years. “Although, I always make sure to carry something personalised for my husband’s mother. It always makes her happy.”
Do not ignore your spouse
This one applies to both parties. Men, it’s a big step introducing your new love to the family, but believe me she is even more nervous than you. Even marriage counsellor Ruth Maingi has had a few episodes of her own. “I did not talk to my husband for a whole week after our first Christmas with his family,” she recalls, though she says that it is a funny story between the couple now. “His family is big, and I remember clearly how alone I felt because he forgot I existed and expected me to gel with everyone on my own. To make matters worse, he transformed from a grown up into a 12-year-old mama’s boy. At some point in the afternoon my mother called me to ask how the festivities were and I shed a few tears as I lied to her that I was having the time of my life.”
Stay out of disagreements
This, Maingi says is of utmost importance, as families fight even more during such occasions.
“There may be a member of the family who does not get along with another member, even if it is your husband, that is their issue to solve. Be cordial with everyone and treat them equally. All families argue and some people will never get along. Remember they have known each other longer than you, and they most probably have their own way of dealing with things. Only defend your spouse if a personal attack is made on you or your marriage,” she advises.