December 14, 2022

Setting expectations about your in-laws with your soon-to-be spouse

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Sydney Meyer

In Ink designs + plans intimate weddings for Austin and San Antonio couples who believe their day should be an illustration of their EPIC love story. A dash of whimsical edge, a spritz of unconventional sparkle, and a party that beams with your personality!

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Let’s be honest, most of our fights with friends, coworkers, and our significant others stem from not setting expectations. Think of how many could have been avoided because you were on the same page with the other person. Today, we’re going to chat about setting expectations about your in-laws and what to discuss with your soon-to-be spouse. I always recommend getting the hard conversations out of the way before it’s too late and you’re in the thick of it!

And don’t get me wrong, sometimes in-laws can be the BEST second parents in the whole world. However, just as you want to set up your relationship with your spouse for success, let’s also strengthen your relationship with your new family.

Expectations About Your In-Laws

I often see that leaving your family to become “one” with your spouse can look different for many couples. Many adopt the “leave and cleave” mentality while others are still heavily dependent on their family when it comes to relationship decisions.

Questions to discuss:

  • What does it mean to you to “leave” your family? Are you still having dinner with them every Sunday or has that changed to once a month?
  • What obstacles are in the way of this? Is it hard for your parents to let go after being an only child?
  • How can you be intentional about making a smooth transition? How will your family still be a part of your life without being invasive?
  • Can we watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” (Lol. Okay, seriously the funniest movie when it comes to this topic of family expectations. And quite sweet.)

Holiday Expectations With Your In-Laws

After I was married, I quickly learned that attending 3 Christmases within 24 hours was not fun. To be honest, it’s hard to enjoy being with people when you’re busy rushing around. This year, we’ve decided to celebrate Christmas in our home and invite anyone to join us that would like to. Ask your Austin wedding planner how much stress this has alleviated. What will the holidays look like for you?

Enjoying the holidays with in-laws.

Questions to discuss:

  • Where will you celebrate the holidays? See everyone in one day? Alternate who you visit each year? Stay at home?
  • Who all gets a gift and how much are you spending? Everyone? Secret Santa? No gifts?
  • Is your spouse comfortable being left alone with family members or is it preferable to be near each other? Are you comfortable playing cards without your spouse while they watch football in the other room?

Conflict Around Your In-Laws

You can have the BEST in-laws in the world, but there’s a pretty good chance that at some point conflict around them will arise. We’re all human, right? With that said, how will you deal with this?

Questions to discuss:

  • When an issue arises, will you discuss it in a present situation or wait until you’re privately at home?
  • Do you prefer direct confrontation or do you expect your spouse to approach a situation with you? Without you?

Considering Extended Family

Sometime after the “I do’s” you’ll see your family drastically grow – specifically, with extended family.

Questions to discuss:

  • What role will your extended family play in your new lives together?
  • Will you attend extended family holiday gatherings? Are family reunions important to you?
  • Are they invited to the wedding? Birthdays?

The bottom line: having conversations around expectations about your in-laws can save you from many awkward situations in the future.

While there are many more things to chat about, I hope these discussion points get a conversation going that is productive and strengthens the bonds of your relationship and with your new family.

Wanting more? Check out:

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