Here are the suggestions I spoke about in the sermon All in the Family: In-Laws and Out-Laws along with a link to the articles I used. The Scriptural Context is Romans 12:14-21
Guidelines for Relationships with In-Laws
- Exhibit Christian character and civility (These are the basics owed to everyone)
- Respect each other
- Respect is due regard for the feelings or rights of another
- Ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to encourage and build up the other person, or tear him or her down?"
- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” yes even with in-laws.
- Be considerate. Have the courage to admit it when you are wrong. Avoid ridicule and don’t humiliate or demean the other person.
- Accept kindness from others and let others be nice to you.
- 1 Cor 13 is not just for weddings
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (ESV) — 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- Be proactive. Do what you can to build the relationship.
- Refocus your perspective by looking for the positive.
- When you keep civility a high priority in your extended family relationships, it becomes easier to focus on another effective way of dealing with anger and frustration — remaining calm.
- Accept reality.
For the couple
- Support one another, your loyalties are to each other not to your parents. Don’t side with your parents against your spouse.
- There will be conflict! How you handle it is key.
- Honor the parents
- Show patience, kindness, gentleness. You may not even like them, but you need to choose to act in a loving manner toward them.
- Respect and Honor does not mean
- You submerge all your own feelings, desires, preferences, and needs in the service of
- "Doing things their way."
- You must permit them to disrespect, control, or manipulate you for their own selfish ends.
- Obeying all their "parental" requests or requirements— which, in some instances with some in-laws, may get pretty crazy.
- Sometimes the most honoring response is to diplomatically but firmly say, "No." Letting in-laws split, manipulate, or control you by silently acceding to their nutty, neurotic, inappropriate demands isn’t necessarily showing Christian love.
- Don’t disrespect and criticize your parents or in-laws in front of your children
- Don’t give advice unless the young couple specifically asks for it. Even if they ask your opinion, be careful how the counsel is given. The decision is theirs.
- Don’t offer financial aid unless the young couple explicitly requests it. It is important for the couple to establish their independence – emotionally and financially. As difficult as it may be to watch your child and his or her spouse face financial struggles, realize that those trials are valuable for them as they develop their life together.
- Don’t make the holidays a nightmare. You have traditions and so do the other in-laws. To conform to your wishes means disappointing the others. “Do unto others….”
- Don’t expect the new couple to live according to your standards and values. They are individuals starting their own home.
- Let go of your offspring, giving the couple room to live their own lives. Don’t expect them to spend excessive amounts of time with you.
- Take a genuine interest in your new in-law as a person. Try to find out about his or her interests. Attempt to relate to your in-law in a meaningful way and on his or her terms.
- · Don’t treat your in-law as a rival who has stolen your child’s love. Welcome the new addition into your family – you’ll multiply the love, rather than divide it.
In Romans 12 Paul gives us some very good advice, not Just in how to conduct ourselves in the church but in every relationship.
- Don’t think more of yourself than you should
- We all have a contribution to make
- Use the gifts you were given to encourage others
- Let love be genuine
- Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Be passionate about your service to the Lord
- Be hopeful and patient
- Always pray
- Help others
- Don’t take revenge on others or be underhanded in your criticism.
- Empathize with others
However the most important advice he gave was this:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- If possible…
- With some it may not be possible
- Some people are small minded and self-centered
- So far as it depends on you…
- Be open minded – you could be wrong
- Guard you own reactions and anger, they may be in appropriate
- Control the things that you can control
- Live your convictions, but don’t expect others to, or even agree with them
- Show love and Christian character even when people don’t deserve it. (you don’t either)(that is grace)
- In other words, be led by the Spirit
- Live peaceably with all…
- The goal in every relationship: harmony