Extended Family Life
In the midst of doing life together, there will undoubtedly be changes, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, fears, strained communication, or unreasonable expectations at times. That’s just how relationships are. But hopefully those times will be few, and with good communication between you and your spouse, they don’t have to affect your relationship negatively.
You and your in-laws will probably deal with a few communication issues, now or in the future. You may even experience some stress as they adjust to your family, or they may have negative attitudes about how you live.
They may even have disagreements about your beliefs, family traditions, childrearing methods, and more. They may have expectations about holidays, family gatherings, blending family issues, or taking responsibility for aging parents. But these all can be navigated successfully if you work together, first as a couple, and then as a family. Instead of fearing the challenges that may come, instead, embrace them as ways to learn more about your in-laws and opportunities to love them for who they are.
There will also be unexpected changes that come up. Just six months after they married, Karl’s aging parents got sick and found that they could no longer physically care for Karl’s disabled brother who had cerebral palsy. So after much discussion and prayer, Tina and Karl took him in to live with them. Talk about challenges to a new marriage and to a blending family!
The reality is that attitude is everything, and Tina tackled this challenge with the right attitude. “I’ve been pushing wheelchairs since I married Karl,” Tina says with a smile. “Though it’s not what I expected, it is what God allowed.”
When it came to extended family relationships and the life circumstances that arose, Tina chose to have a genuine positive attitude. In so doing, she became a successful and vital part of Karl’s family. She also set a fine example for all to emulate.
Karl loved her for it. The extended family respected her, and her daughter Jennie learned how give, serve, and share. It was a win-win for all of them.
What unexpected changes have come your way as you navigated life with extended family? I’d love to know!
Adapted from The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved.
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