Post # 1
Fiance has a good but distant relationship with his parents. They live a few states away and he only sees them 2-3 times a year and talks to them roughly once every other month. There haven’t been any major problems in their relationship, but he’s in his early 30s and just doesn’t really see them as a necessary part of his everyday life. We’ve been together for over a year and a half and I’ve only met them 2 times and just recently made my first contact with them (via email) that wasn’t connected with my Fiance when I sent them a thank you email for their card congratulating us on our engagement. His parents have been nothing but kind to me and have made a point of saying they are happy to have me “in the family” on their card and in email.
I’m very different in my relationship with my parents. My parents are also a few states away but I make a point to go home and see my parents at least once every other month (FI usually comes with me) and I talk to my mom on the phone at least once a week. FI has my parents phone numbers in his phone and they have his and either party feels comfortable calling the other without me knowing if they need something. I think this is great and I can see my Fiance becoming more and more integrated into my family.
Family is very important to me, and now I’m expanding that to include his family, but I don’t know how to go about involving them (I don’t want to do so without FIs involvement) more in our life together. Should I just accept that things with them will never be as close or is there something I can do to facilitate more closeness?
On a somewhat unrelated note, one of my male cousins just got engaged and my aunt was somewhat upset at her lack of involvement in the wedding planning while my cousin’s FIs parents are VERY involved. I guess part of me really wants to avoid making my FIs parents feel like this. If they want to be involved, I want them to be, but I don’t quite feel like it’s my place to invite them to be and it doesn’t seem like Fiance is going to.
Post # 3
Have you talked to your fiance about including his family in the wedding more? Even suggesting doing the unity candle or asking his mom if she would like to select some songs for first dances could be useful. I’m not close to my in-laws but I at least reached out to ask my sister-in-law if she would sign our marriage license and I asked his mom if she would like to pick out some of the music (like the mother/son dance).
Those are small gestures, but they work well because they don’t obligate his parents to do anything big if they don’t want to (i.e., his mom may not be interested in planning a wedding shower, being a bridesmaid, etc., because of all of the work involved). Tasks like that are small enough that they’re a kind outward gesture to include his family, and they’re easily done by those asked.
By all means, discuss your thought process with him ahead of time and ask if he minds if you ask them if they’d like to do a particular task.
Post # 4
Every family dynamic is different. You don’t want to be that crazy pushy wife that tries to change how their family operates. It really isn’t your place to try and invite them into the planning. And keep in mind just because they’re not mushy, attached at the hip people, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other, and it doesn’t meant they’re not close. Not everyone family likes having constant contact.
Post # 5
Be careful about this one…there are a lot more brides out there who wish their ILs were LESS involved because they have opinions on and want their way on everything! Probably a blessing in disguise that his parents aren’t like that. It sounds like he and his parents are pretty comfortable with things the way they are. I agree with @MariContrary: that just because it’s not what your used to with your family dynamic doesn’t make their way wrong. You could ask for their opinion on some specific things, like music for the mother/son dance, what style corsage his mom wants if you’re doing that, etc. But if you push for their opinions and involvement and then you don’t like their ideas you’ll be in a rough spot.I would probably just leave it be.
Post # 6
@MariContrary: Thanks. I totally agree that the amount of time that they spend with one another is no indicator of how much they love one another. I do think that they aren’t as close, because it’s just not possible to share the details of your life with someone when you only speak every few months and only see one another a handful of times a year with no time spent alone together. I guess I just need to get used to the different dynamic, as Fiance has adapted well to my close family dynamic. I just will hope that if they want to be involved in any way they feel comfortable asking to be and leave it at that.
Post # 7
@Wonderstruck: Asking for opinions for the mother/son dance songs and the corsages is a good idea! And yeah, totally agree that if you don’t like their opinions, you may regret asking!
And as far as closeness without talking goes, I’m a total Daddy’s girl, and I admit to it happily! We don’t talk on the phone except during football season for more than 2 minutes at a time. They’re in a different state, so I see them maybe once every other month. But we know how we feel about each other. We’re not gushy, emotional people outwardly. Some things just don’t need to be said, you know? The fact that they said they now consider you family is a big deal 🙂 You’re in and they like you.
Post # 8
@MariContrary: <<< YUP YUP YUP THIS ONE
@sweet5k: if family is as important to you as it sounds like it is, you will probably want to open up communication a little more with your Fiance about what role you will let both your and his families play in your future… from your question about whether or not to involve his family more it sounds as though you two may not have discussed this idea enough to be on the same page. not to say you are clearly incompatible, but it sounds like you have different expectations about what the role of family is in your lives. you will be each other’s family soon and similar expectations will help you be a team.
Post # 9
@Wonderstruck: The little bit of time I have spent with FI’s parents they have been pretty awesome. I highly doubt that would change if they were asked their opinions. I often laugh when reading some of the complaint threads because for me I WISH they would give me their opinions.
@rawrrrrr: This is fair. We have talked about it a little – but it’s just me asking Fiance if he’s mentioned stuff or that he might want to the next time he talks to them. He even thought it was a little weird when I asked him for their email address so I could send a thank you note for their card. I definitely think this is more about Fiance then them – they seem to be very welcoming people, they even went so far as to send a congrats card when we got engaged. I guess this is also why I’m wondering if I should say something because I’m afraid of them inadvertantly getting upset because Fiance isn’t including them in plans. Right now, it is totally in his domain – but these will be our future children’s grandparents, so I don’t think I’m totally ok with always having a distant relationship. This is definitely a good topic to bring up in pre-marital counseling.
Post # 10
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!