According to a long-term study conducted by Dr. Terri Apter, a psychologist, almost 75 percent of married women admit to mother-in-law difficulties. These, in turn, have resulted in unhappiness and stress on both sides. Contrast that with the substantially lower incidence – just 15 percent – of troubles between mothers-in-law with their sons-in-law and you will realize that you probably need to befriend your hostile future mother-in-law even before looking through all those wedding dresses!
Find a Neutral Ground
Before talking to your future mother-in-law to resolve your conflicts, you have to agree on a neutral venue. This must be a quiet place away from the meddling and needling of other family members, which will allow the conversations to flow more smoothly. Besides, the conflict is primarily between you and your mother-in-law and the presence of interested (in gossip) parties can muddle the issues.
And who knows? The next grounds you will step on are stores selling wedding dresses.
Agree to Disagree
The abovementioned study states that the conflicts between women in-laws start with disagreements on domestic matters like cooking, cleaning and children’s welfare. Well, of course, you will have disagreements simply because you were raised in different generations under different circumstances!
Thus, you will have to agree to disagree on the details of domesticity. Instead, you must focus on general principles and values that will affect the general welfare of the son/spouse and the grandchildren. Soon enough, you might even laugh over the ridiculousness of those ‘80s-inspired wedding dresses.
Focus on the Relevant Issues
Often in confrontations, serious disagreements get muddled by side issues. To avoid this from happening, you can make a list of the things that you feel are the main sources of friction. It does not have to be detailed, just as a general guideline.
When you are conversing with your future mother-in-law, strive to be respectful of her view. In the same way, you have to demand from her the respect that you deserve as the woman her son chose for a wife. When there is mutual respect, you are better able to focus on each other’s feelings and how each one affects the other.
For example, if the issue is about your initial choices of wedding dresses, you can always calmly discuss the reasons for your choices while considering her reasons as valid to a point. It may sound trivial but, often, starting with the little things paves the way for the big things.
Not only is name-calling infantile, it can hurt people more than actions ever do. You both need to be calm, cool and collected at all times. Otherwise, it will be exercises in futility, not to mention escalate the tensions to more unmanageable levels. You need to remember that you might be the future wife but your future mother-in-law will always be the mother of your fiancé.
You, on the other hand, might find yourself shredding your wedding dresses when your groom-to-be grows tired of your bickering and just cancels the wedding. Let’s hope it will be temporary.
Indeed, it can provide peace of mind to the wedding planning when you know that both sides are agreeable to the union. At the very least, you can focus more time on finding the right wedding dresses for the ceremony and the reception!