(Closed) Do you believe you "marry the family"?

posted 4 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
7038 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

redmango:  Well I guess kudos to the SIL for giving you the heads up, but holy inappropriate to be talking about her ILs that way to some girl she hardly knows….at Thanksgiving dinner no less!

As for the question…yes, I totally believe you marry the family. There are certainly deifferent degrees to that, but for the average person who has their family as part of their lives there is no way around that.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I love my ILs. My Mother-In-Law is a hoot and while there are certainly things they do to drive me a litttle nutty they are great people who always mean well. I would 100% not have married anyone whose family I didn’t like, or they didn’t like me. No way. Family is important to me, so being with someone who had an aweful family would be a total dealbreaker.

Post # 3
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

It all depends on the man. No, you do not always marry the family. You marry the man – but some men are spineless when it comes to family.

Your BF’s SIL’s problem is her husband (your BF’s brother). He can’t stand up to his mommy and this makes his wife miserable.

It’s hard to know what to make of the turkey incident because your Boyfriend or Best Friend stood up for you in a sense, saying you were free to eat what you want. I advise you, though, to watch your BF’s actions, and see how he behaves around his family.

Post # 4
4238 posts
Honey bee


Yes and no.

Yes you should stand up for yourself (as he should for you, too).

No matter if he even puts his family in his rearview to distance himself and you from interference, his upbringing will tag along (to a point).

Don’t lose hope, Bee. You can find a good way to deal with bad relations. 


Post # 5
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

It really depends. Are you going to be living down the street from them or across the country? Is your SO willing to put up strong boundaries and have your back over his parent’s (I’m not saying in every single situation, but in general)? 

Your SO’s mom definitely sounds like someone you won’t ever be able to please…but you have to decide if you would be okay with that. I don’t really care for my almost ILs, but they live far away and he is an only child, and we are not going to have kids. I have a much different situation than someone who gets married into a family where the expectation is that you all hang out every weekend. 

Post # 6
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

redmango:  In a sense yes, because once you marry someone you do have a tie with their family. 

That said, I agree with PP that your SIL has a husband problem not a family problem. If this relationship gets serious, you will both need to set strong boundaries with the family. 

Post # 7
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Yikes. This woman sounds like a nightmare. Who would have the audacity to point out to everyone that a guest in their home didn’t take any turkey and is therefore insulting the host. If I were your Boyfriend or Best Friend, id want to crawl into a hole and die!

I do believe you marry the family. My IL’s are great for the most part, but have butted their noses in inappropriately a few times. My Darling Husband is a mamas boy and is a little spineless when it comes to her, but I have ZERO problem telling her to mind her own business. I think if your Boyfriend or Best Friend is not going to say something when she becomes psycho, you need to be able to.


Post # 8
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016



I think people can sometimes be really dismissive about negative comments and assume that needto just shut up and take it or stand up for yourself. But if that happened to me I would be VERY uncomfortable. Even after you took the turkey, the comment about the dark meat. It’s just scary because if she gets that up in arms about turkey, I can only imagine how much other stuff would bother her…. like your eventual wedding decisions, or parenting decisions.

Given that, I think your boyfriend plays a VERY large role. There’s a large variety of ways he can respond to his mom’s treatment of you. If he’s a “momma’s boy,” he might be quick to take her side. If he’s not, he might just brush the whole thing off. I think it’s important that he takes your side or at least stands up for you.

I recently took a marriage preparation course, and one of the topics was whether you marry the whole family. Most of the people there agreed that you do. One couple there said that no, once you get married, your husband/wife is now your family and they’re above all else. My fiance agreed, and said that if it really came down to it, I’m his priority, not his parents. Obviously you do marry into that family though, and depending on the current relationship, you likely will have an ongoing relationship with your inlaws.

I think it’s most important that you tell your boyfriend this is bothering you, that his mom hurt your feelings and embarrassed you in front of his relatives. See what he says and how he feels about it all. 

Post # 9
1888 posts
Buzzing bee

Yikes. I kind of love SIL for giving such an intense warning! All you can do is move forward with your eyes open. I do believe you marry the family, and I’ve seen people’s lives made miserable for it. But I also really like my FI’s family, and am excited to be a part of it, because whenever his family has become an issue, he’s 100% handled it. Watch how your Boyfriend or Best Friend responds to concerns about his family; does he see your side, or is he blind to their faults? That’s what’s most important.

Post # 10
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

OP, your BF’s fam sound like a trip, what an uncomfortable situation! That said, your Boyfriend or Best Friend, while he didn’t quite leap between you and his fam with blazing eyes, pretty much gave you carte blanche in terms of your reaction – eat the turkey, not eat the turkey, whatever. Your situation would be a lot worse if your Boyfriend or Best Friend had been quietly urging you to choke down the turkey ‘to make mom happy’. But from what you write, it sounds like he would have been fine with whatever you chose to do.

You ended up trying to pacify the fam, which is not surprising considering you’ve only met them twice. But now you’ve seen (and heard from your BF’s SIL) what they are capable of – turkey-force-feeding rudeness. So feel free in the future to grow more of a backbone, not give a shit, and not cooperate when they try to control you. As long as your Boyfriend or Best Friend doesn’t have an issue with you having a spine, you can definitely handle a dysfunctional fam. Just beward the man who tries to make you cater to their crazy.

Post # 12
685 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Nashville, TN

This is one thing that drives me nuts on a daily basis with my in-laws. We live with his parents temporarily and it seems like every time I go to put food in my mouth my Mother-In-Law or Father-In-Law have to say something about it and its always negative. Besides this we have a good relationship. But honestly I hate when people pass judgement on what food you eat. I’ve learned to ignore it and shrug it off. I would never be told or forced to eat anything I didn’t want though.  You need to stand up for yourself. Its only food it’s not that serious. 

Post # 13
12217 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

For better or worse, precluding unusual circumstances where there is little contact, definitely yes, you do. 

Post # 14
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

redmango:  He didn’t stand up for you enough. It was what, your third time meeting his parents? And you were with the rest of his extended family too? I think he should have understood that you were nervous at the least and uncomfortable at the worst. Standing up for you means TO HIS MOM, not a side comment to you telling you not to eat it. 

Post # 15
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

redmango:  Actually I’ll add to that – telling you privately not to let his mom “bully” you is, in my opinion, belittling you even further. Standing up for you would be in public, while his mom was making you uncomfortable. He didn’t need to make a big deal of it and act like a jerk to his mom, but just a small comment like “mom, let her eat what she wants”.  It bothers me when people say that you need to just suck things up. If it bothers you, it bothers you. 

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