Marriage / Relationships

How do I have a better relationship with my in-laws?

people standing on shore during golden hour

It’s holiday time and that usually means time with in-laws and relatives. Unless we are in a coronavirus pandemic, but still some people are taking the risk to get together. Others decide to chat over video. Whatever you do, how do we make this time with our relatives actually enjoyable? How do we create better relationships with our in-laws and relatives? Especially the ones that we clash with?

There are actually a few things that you can do to improve your relationship with your in-laws and relatives. They are: 1) Stop wishing they were different, 2) Drop your Judgement of them, and 3) Realize that they are not the ones making you unhappy.

Stop wishing they were Different

There are probably lots of things that you wish were different about that particular in-law or relative that you don’t get along with. You might wish they were more considerate or less prideful. You might wish that they had more respect or weren’t as loud. You might wish they weren’t so quiet or that they would speak their mind. Whatever it is that you wish was different, you need to give it up. That person is just the way they want to be right now and you getting upset over it is NOT going to change them.

What if we just accepted them exactly the way they are? What if we didn’t want them to change at all? I know this can be hard but just try it. When your brain says “I wish they would change this…”, tell your brain “No, we love them exactly the way they are.” Your brain will keep trying to push you to look for problems and put the blame for your unhappiness outside of you, but you can gently redirect it.

Drop the judgement and love them exactly as they are.

Stop wishing they were someone else.

sage relationship advice

Drop the Judgement

You might not like your relatives much because you are judging them all the time. They should do this; they shouldn’t do that…la la la all day long. I know I find myself doing this sometimes. But what if you are wrong about them? What if they are doing things EXACTLY the way they should be doing them? The only one who can really know what they should be doing is THEM, not you. That is what I like to remind myself. So drop the judgement of them and enjoy the holiday!

Realize that they are not the ones making you unhappy

Sometimes during the holidays we wish that people would change because we feel like they are RUINING the festivities for everyone. We feel like how they act is making us unhappy. But that is simply not true. If you remember the self-coaching model, then you know that it is actually YOUR THOUGHTS that create your feelings. Only you can control your thoughts. Sure it is easier to have happy thoughts when all of your relatives act the way you think they should. But they are not creating your feelings. Your thoughts create your feelings. Whatever your relative does or says goes into the circumstance line. And then you get to decide what to think about that circumstance. This is great news because I’ve just given you ALL of your power back.

For more information on how the self-coaching model works, please refer to this article:


THOUGHTS which create out

FEELINGS which drive our

ACTIONS which create our


The self coaching model by brooke castillo

Dealing with In-laws that hate you

Maybe you have in-laws that have bluntly told you that they don’t like you and they hope that their child/sibling will divorce you. What do you do then?

Well, do whatever you want to do! What feels right to you? For me, I would still treat then with kindness and just know that whatever they think about me has NOTHING to do with my value and awesomeness but everything to do with what is going on inside for them. Maybe they are really hurting. Maybe they don’t understand that they are the only ones that can control their thoughts. Maybe they think that YOU are the one making their life miserable.

If you want to, you can still show compassion for them. But you can also set boundaries. For example, you can say “You aren’t allowed to insult me in front of my family. If you do that, then I will take my family and leave.” And then when they insult you in public, you leave. YOU are the one that needs to enforce the boundary. Because it is YOUR boundary, not theirs.


So with the holidays coming up, I hope that you can remember these things. Just accept your relatives the way they are. Drop the judgement of them. And know that YOU are the only one that can make yourself happy or miserable. Good luck!

You have all the power!

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