Here’s Why You Need to Give Your In-Laws the Benefit of the Doubt

BY: - 17 Jan '17 | Marriage

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Are in-laws bad or are they just getting a bad rap?  Many times, what seems like issues with your in-laws are just misunderstandings. You see, when you first get married, everyone is learning their new role – you, your spouse and your in-laws too. You are not the only one that will have to make adjustments for this new family dynamic.

For instance, if your parents are used to having a big say in what you do and don’t do, this will have to change after you get married. If they are used to voicing their opinion and expect you to follow their way of doing things, those ties should be cut.

On the other hand, there are things that in-laws do to express their love, that can be misunderstood by us. For example, when our first child was born we were a military family, stationed away from home. Well, my mother is a giver. It was nothing for a delivery truck to show up in front of our home and deliver everything from baby furniture to clothes.

Read: 7 BIG Things that Couples Want Their In-Laws to Puh-lease Stop Doing… TODAY!

This used to make my husband hot. He would feel like – Does she think I can’t buy things for my own family, am I not capable of providing for them? Then a light bulb went off in his head. He realized this brought my mom joy. I wasn’t asking for things, she just enjoyed giving. This was a win-win situation. My mom was excited to be a blessing to our family and as a young couple we saved money not having to buy certain items.

Now, let’s look at another example from a woman’s perspective. After my husband left the military, we moved back to our hometown. We both needed to work full-time. Our kids were little and produced a mountain of dirty laundry. It would stack up sky high. My mother-in-law noticed. So what happened next should sound like a good thing. However, it wasn’t to a young mom who was doing her best.

You see, I would come home and all of the laundry would be washed and folded. Issue or misunderstanding? It took me a while to realize the same thing my husband had realized. My mother-in-law was a help. She saw I was in over my head. It was not an issue but a misunderstanding. This was another win-win situation.  I had never worked full time with little kids.  Any my mother-in-law saw I needed help and provided it.

Issues are often misunderstandings. When situations are looked at from a new perspective, things can be seen in a better light. What seemed like an intrusion on first glance turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Who doesn’t enjoy a blessing?

Family is that blessing. It takes time to settle into the roles of couple and in-laws. That mother has never shared her son or daughter with anyone to the degree that is now demanded of her. That father who coached his child through every decision must step aside and now watch his son or daughter step into the role of coach with a family of his own.

I have been a daughter-in-law for 29 years and a mother-in-law for a mere 35 days. My hope for you and for me is that issues and misunderstandings are kept to a minimum, while love is kept on maximum.

BMWK – can you think of instances where your in-laws could use the benefit of the doubt.

About the author

Deborah L. Mills wrote 186 articles on this blog.

Coach, AUTHOR, Speaker, WIFE, Mom, and GRANDMOTHER. That's the gist of who I am. I love people and love to see their life and relationships thrive. As a coach I am ready to support your dream when you don't feel like it. As an author and speaker I am ready to pour into your life so that you can live your best life now. I am a personal and executive coach. Together with my husband I also marriage coach. GO TO MY WEBSITE. THERE IS A FREE GIFT THERE WAITING FOR YOU.


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One of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Marriage But Nobody Does It

BY: - 18 Jan '17 | Marriage

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I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. We are all imperfect. Sometimes, we do things that make absolutely no sense to anyone else in the world…but makes total sense to us. We second guess ourselves and overreact unnecessarily. Sometimes we don’t know how to apologize or don’t even want to apologize when we are wrong. And, we don’t often consider the results of our actions. Simply put, we make mistakes.

Marriage will draw deep things out of you that you never knew were there… marriage will make it known. – Leroy Scott, MA, MDiv.

These are things humans do. You won’t stop being human just because you get married. Marriage sometimes causes even more of our imperfections to surface as we relax and eventually show our true colors.

Own Your Stuff

One thing I’ve learned in my own marriage and in coaching couples is that we have to recognize and admit our flaws. I’m finding that this is where many couples struggle the most. It’s difficult to own your baggage. Some can’t come right out and say “I don’t listen very well” or “I’m jealous or a bit insecure.” I think some of us are afraid of the effect owning our baggage might have in our relationships. Here’s the secret though, we aren’t fooling anyone. Whether we admit it or not our partners are going to eventually see our imperfections on their own. Wouldn’t it be better to let them know in advance?

One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to own you, all of you… your strengths as well as your weaknesses.

I can’t tell you how much frustration I could’ve prevented if I had shared my own communication challenges early-on in my marriage. Or if I had been honest about needing a little time to understand and appreciate my title of spouse. My husband and I probably would’ve had an easier go if we knew early on what our individual challenges were going to be.

I do understand that sometimes couples aren’t aware of their individual challenges, until they actually begin to merge their lives. But the moment they start to recognize how they feel in certain situations, it should be communicated to their spouse….make it known!

In addition to sharing those imperfections with your spouse, you should also explain your why. For example, I could’ve told my husband that I struggle with communication because I was shy growing up and I’m just now discovering my voice and how to really use it. Hearing that would have given him a deeper understanding of who I am and why I do certain things, causing him to be more patient with me as we work through our communication barriers.

Now, this can’t be used as an excuse and I should be seeking ways to improve, but it gives my husband a little insight into my behavior. Without my expressing this to him, we’d be stuck in the same place trying to figure out what’s wrong.

How to Learn Better Communication

Get our expert-led video training on better communication from the comfort of your own home.

Click here to learn about our BMWK Effective Communication Course!

One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to own you, all of you… your strengths as well as your weaknesses. I recommend this for all couples. It’s healing and healthy to discuss your imperfections. Share with your spouse what you feel might be a personal challenge for you in your relationship, and why and how you will continue working to improve in that area. Trust me, this will do wonders for creating a safe nurturing environment for your marriage to prosper.

BMWK, have you owned your stuff in your marriage?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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