One of the intricacies of being married is having in-laws. In my part of the world, this goes a long way to determining how happy or sad you are in marriage. I attended a number of marriage seminars before I got married and had heard a lot of talk about embracing your in-laws, but I really had no idea how important is was until I said “I do.”
My wedding day was really beautiful, everything I had dreamed of, except for the heavy rain during the reception. Thankfully, all the guests were seated comfortably in a hall, so we had nothing to worry about. I remember my wedding colors, two shades of pink, and the bridal party doting on me, making me feel really special. It was my day, my one chance to be treated like a princess, and I was loving every moment. I remember how happy and excited I was that morning when I woke up and got ready to go to the church—the hair stylist doing her thing, my sisters helping me into my dress, and my dad policing everyone to ensure that we got to church in time for the ceremony. I honestly don't remember much of the church service, only that it was really long. Pictures were taken almost immediately after the service. The food and drink arrived at the right time, just after the bride and groom danced into the hall. It was a really great meal. I must confess—I wish I could experience it all over again, but then again, if I think about the expense, I'd better stick with the memories.
I remember the couple's dance, and my husband singing his special song to me, "I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day." It was so touching for me; I fell in love with him all over again. We then received our presents from the guests and bade everyone goodbye. I was so excited to get into the car and leave for the hotel. I was elated to know that I was about to begin a new life, one I had dreamed of. This was the moment I had been waiting for all my life, a time when I no longer had to take orders from my parents. Finally I could run my own life and do my own thing. Well, we finally arrived at our pre-honeymoon suite. I was still smiling and putting my clothes into the wardrobe when I turned and saw I was really alone with my husband. It was then that reality hit, and believe it or not, I burst into tears. I had just realized that I had finally left home and was about to start another life with a family that had absolutely no clue who I was. I felt lost and all alone. My dearest husband tried to console me, but the more he tried, the harder I cried.
I wanted to be married, but I never wanted to leave the comfort of my home, not to mention be “adopted” into a new family, which included changing my name. Before meeting my in-laws, I was terrified. Would they love me like my family does? Would they accept my differences and treat me like I was one of them? All these questions and more rushed through my head. I quickly realized that they weren't much different from my family. We had so many similarities—the outgoing kid, the book-worm kid, the creative one, and the party freak, all present in both families, which made me feel right at home. Over the years, what has helped me build a relationship with my in-laws is trying to see them as my family and loving them just as much. I know it's easy when you have in-laws who love you back, but what do you do when you have in-laws who absolutely dislike you and wish you had never married their son or daughter? How do you gain the respect of a father who thinks that you are the worst thing that has ever happened to his daughter or a mother who thinks that you married her son for his money? I'm lost on this one, so I'd like to hear your thoughts.