6 Tips For Getting Along With Your Significant Other’s Parents
When we find ourselves in a relationship that is leading in the direction of marriage, we need to immediately pray for discernment on getting along with the parents of our significant other. Many of us (although adults) still desire our parent’s blessing on our relationships; therefore, it’s important that we make great efforts to get along with their parents. There can be much strife and dissension if we take this critical element of our relationship for granted. Review the 6 tips for getting along with your significant other’s parents:
Tip #1) Accept them as they are.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
We must learn early on to accept people as they are and not as we want them to be. This is critical because our expectations can often hinder great dialogue and openness towards those who may be different from us. Accepting them doesn’t that we accept sinful or abusive behavior. We must have healthy boundaries set from the very beginning of our new relationship with the parents.
Tip #2) Be kind and respectful.
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Parents have an edge over their children and the significant other—time and experience. While not every parent demonstrates wisdom and godliness, they still have something to offer because of their age. It would be wise for us to demonstrate kindness and respect for their opinions and thoughts even if we disagree. Respect speaks much louder than anything we could say or do for the parents.
Tip #3) Learn as much as you can from them.
“Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you” (Exodus 18:17-19).
Kindness and respect is most demonstrated by our willingness to listen and learn instead of constantly offering our opinion and insights. We learn not only from their experiences, but we also learn more about their beliefs and philosophy of life that has influenced the one we love. By choosing to be quiet and prayerful, the Lord reveals His truth to us.
Tip #4) Refuse to return evil for evil.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
Not every parent is going to wish our relationship good will and success. Some parents are rude, disruptive, and demeaning in our conversations. The test of our willingness to return good for evil will be most significant in the continuing of our relationship and the demonstrating of Christ likeness within us. We must be willing to consider how difficult parents may affect the relationship long term. Yet we also hold to being a good witness and representative of God’s family.
Tip #5) Model patience and forgiveness at every opportunity.
“Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10).
Even parents with the best of intentions may falter in different areas. It’s at these times when our patience and forgiving attitude most resembles godliness. We recognize that all of us have sinned and fall short of demonstrating God’s glory. Therefore, we exercise a calm and relaxed spirit when we could choose to be easily offended.
Tip #6) Be like Christ in every interaction.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
During the ministry of Jesus Christ, His own family didn’t believe in Him although they grew up as eye witnesses of His righteousness. When dealing with the parents, our best impression should be that of our demonstrated faith in Jesus Christ. We love as Christ loved, we live as Christ lived, and we forgive as Christ forgave. In our conversations and interactions, we don’t stand out as people who do everything right—but rather as a humble and gracious ambassadors of our Lord and Savior.
Be Yourself in the Lord
We must resist the temptation of trying to please people or to get them to like us. Our goal is much greater—it is to shine the light of Christ wherever we go. We don’t have to make ourselves look better or worse than what we are. Rather we press forward to the mark of perfection in Jesus Christ one day and one relationship at a time.
Article by Crystal McDowell
Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.
Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.