Meet the In-Laws: Your New Family

By Christina Kim - June 08, 2016


So, your wedding day, with all that months of planning, is finally behind you and you are finally, officially married to the love of your life.

You are now viewed as one; the married couple and you are looking forward to the life which awaits you, together.

You can't wait to refer to him/her as your hubby or wifey, and enjoy that romantic time alone; just the two of you, that is, until the little ones come along after that.

Only thing is, is it truly only the two of you, or is there more? 
I am not referring to the little ones you are about to have.

The thing is, it always seems as though a marriage is a union between two people; two individuals who have made a decision to be with each other for the rest of their lives.
It is true, to a certain extent, though there is a little something more to that, and that involves a bigger picture.

The two people come from two different families; and that is the bigger picture we are looking at.

When a marriage happens, it is not just a union of two individuals but rather, the joining of two families as well, into one.

It is logical really, since there is no really such a thing as stand-alone individuals or anyone who is an island, unless they have sworn off or disown their families, but that is just a physical decision and there is always that blood bond or physiological connection which simply cannot be erased away.

The thing is, when you get married, you are marrying someone with a life (of course) and that life includes his/her background, culture, religious practices, and the people around him.
It is undeniable; it is a whole package which comes bundled with strings tied to the person.

It is the same with yourself; you are brought up by your parents, you have led your own lifestyle, cultivated your own beliefs and culture and are surrounded by people who have played an important role in the very essence of your being.

That is the reality, that Is, life.

That is why you need to go through the stage of marriage; to declare your vows and state your intentions to enter into marriage. 

It is a sign of announcing you are joining each other as one, and to introduce each other to your very own worlds.
A wedding is the ceremony where everyone witnesses your union; where you seek the blessings of the elders and be granted their blessings and to officially announce yourself into the family.

The tea ceremony, practised in the Chinese community, is also a direct reflection of that; whereby the newlyweds serve tea and address their elders by their salutations/hierarchical ranks in the family, as a symbol of asking for their blessing and acknowledgment which will then be reciprocated by a nod and the drinking of the tea by the elders, followed by a simple token in the form of a gift (usually jewelry and monetary form inserted in a red packet, which is a sign of their blessing and welcoming the new member into their family).

That is the very beginning of the whole joining of the families, and you, as the new member into the family (that of your spouse's).

You are no longer an individual person, or only have your family.

You are legally married, and in the eyes of the law.

That is why, your spouse's family are known as your "In-Laws".

In the eyes of the law, and by the laws of traditions and marriage, they are your family even if you don't share that biological bond.
(In the past, some even marry within the families; particularly popular among the royals and the upper class societies in what they refer to as keeping their bloodlines close, though the following consequences of mutation from the incestuous relationships are left to centuries of debate and controversy)

So, you now have your in-laws, whom you are to address and treat as your own family.

While they are formally referred to as your in-laws, the usual practice is still to address them the same way your spouse would; i.e: Mother-in-law is your mother, Father-in-law is your father, etc.

It seems straightforward and simple, right?

Only thing is, you find yourself in an awkward situation, or even feeling a little awkward to address someone else as your mother and father, or even brother or sister for that matter.

Not everyone will experience this, of course, but if you do, do not beat yourself over it, for it is completely normal to overcome the feelings of anxiety at the very beginning.

Some even take years and still find it completely awkward to refer to their in-laws as their own family, it is just to say all sorts of things do happen and there is no exception.

My usual stand is, there is never really a right or wrong in this matter, or perhaps I have my own perspectives, as usual.

Of course it is expected that you are marrying into the family and that you are supposed to treat them like your own family from then on, and that is the word which is causing it all; "Supposed to"

It may feel like overwhelming to be calling and treating someone like they have known you all your life, when in fact, they really did not.
You probably know your spouse well; after all, that is the reason you are worried and his/her family, sure, you have met them, bonded with them and even dined or traveled with them, but to put that into the equation and think that they were there since the day you are born, just is not quite the picture.

It makes sense really, and I am not saying that the in-laws are bad, or total strangers, but it is an entirely different thing to say that they are your own family from birth.
You did not even meet your partner from birth, let alone his/her family.

It is okay to feel a little awkward, don't beat yourself over it, and there is never really a right or wrong timing to address your in-laws as your new family, though there is that rule.

I am referring to your psychological state of mind.

Address them if you want, because well, it is part of the courtesy to address them, and it is also part of the respect (not to mention tradition), but if you find yourself not drawn/attached to them just yet, give it a little more time.

As long as you do not shun them from your lives or run away at the sight of them, it is okay to come to peace with your inner self and allow yourself to get to know your in-laws; rather, your new family better along the way.

If it makes it easier, you can even treat it as a new job, one that will take you a little more time to settle in though officially you are already holding that title.

You have accepted the job because you want to (unless you are forced into it, then it is a different story altogether and this perspective is no longer applicable), and you look forward to enjoy and be your best.

You chose to marry the one you love, because you are really looking forward to a lifetime with him/her and you have come to this part where you are now entering into the same journey, you are bound to enter into his/her world as well.

Everyone's family matters to them (unless there are exceptional cases), and to truly be with each other or journey together, you will need to accept all that comes with your partner.

The good, the bad and all that there is in their lives.

Get to know the family, learn to love and treat them the same way your partner does, and in time, you will find that it is just natural that you have fitted so comfortably that you no longer need to even worry about the whole awkwardness.

That is when you have truly experienced the magic of marriage, and are joined together, seamlessly and without boundaries.

That is the true meaning of marriage.

~ To Happily Ever After and Congratulations on your marriage! ~


*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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