Family. Nuclear, blended, etc. There are many different types of family. But what about the new family that you marry into? Whether they are a family full of conflict, or the most welcoming family you have ever met, creating a new family through marriage is challenging. The most important family up until you get married is your own immediate family (or the family that you have created), which changes when you get married/engaged. True, your immediate family is very important still, but the most important family to you has to be between you and your spouse. Make sure that you both recognize that. Even when you start having children, your unit with your spouse is the most important. Not saying that children should not be important to you, but if you and your spouse are not stable and working together, how can your children be happy?
So how do you make you and your spouse the most important family unit? You work together. Always. You are a team, so never forget that. I know that this is not the number one source to use, but take the Kardashian marriage. Kim and Kris refused on both ends (not always intentionally) to work together as a team. Kim also let her immediate family influence her decisions on what to do with her rocky marriage instead of going straight to the source (her husband) to talk it over. Yes, I did just reference pop culture, but it is a valid source of why you should work together. If you don't and you put your immediate family first, then your marriage will be just as rocky as theirs was.
As well as working together, you must learn how to not offend each other involving your families. Say for example that your spouse feels like his parents said something mean, and he is complaining about it (this is just a random example as are all of the examples used). How do you go about it? Whether your spouse complains or not, this is not an invitation for you to complain about them too. Remember, this has been their family unit before you two got married. Respect them, because they are a part of your family too.
Now take for example a family who is protective of their child, and they treat you like you are not good enough for their standards. Make sure that you privately tell your spouse. They need to know how you feel. Even with the previous example, you have to always tell your spouse how you feel about their family. It just has to be done in a respectable, calm matter. Families are protective, especially when it comes to accepting someone new into their family. Be patient. You have plenty of years to get to know each other, so if you and your spouse's family have some rough edges here and there, be patient yet willing to work things out. Ask your spouse what they think you should do to help the relationship with his family. After all, he has grown up with them, so he knows best. Your spouse should be on your side, so as long as he does not feel like you are attacking him or his family, he will advise you in those matters.
The most important thing to remember is that you both come from different families, so you might not always see eye to eye on things. Like Andrew and I, we have very different families. His extended family is large and very social and they unusually work together well. My family is much quieter, smaller, and more individual. Both families are loving. Both have strengths and weaknessess. Yet both are very different. It has been hard for Andrew and I to adjust to such different families, but we have both been accepted into each other's families, which makes things easier. Make sure you discuss how you want your own family to look like too, because if your families are as different as ours, it is important to talk over what you want (and don't want) in your new family together.
Just remember, be patient, open, and willing to discuss how you feel about each others families. Just make sure that you do it respectfully. It's like a disagreement. You get a lot more accomplished if the two of you are calm and open, versus if you both are upset, so wait for the right time to talk about family. Be supportive, listen to your spouse if they have problems with their family (or yours), and be willing to (nicely) put your spouse in their place if they are not being supportive when they should be.
For Andrew's post, click here!