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Just a Guy and His In-Laws

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Bruce Sallan: In-laws. They make movies about them. They write jokes about them. They make marriages more complicated. And I have them -- second time around. Much better, but still a challenge.

family eating with chopsticks
First time, I started off on the wrong foot by wanting to know why my wife had no relationship with one of her sisters. Evidently, wrong question. I then completely ate my foot when they offered to get us a camcorder for a wedding present and I had the temerity to want a voice in the choice. Being in the "business," I knew what features I wanted. Oops.

Well, between those two tragic faux pas, I never recovered. Neither did the marriage. Now, the second time around, I'm trying extra hard, plus I have in-laws that are open and supportive of our marriage. But the cultural differences are big, as are our religious differences. Thank God I can eat with chopsticks, though sometimes I reach for something too soon -- I'm learning.

Marriage involves a package deal -- much more so the later in life you indulge. My wife has had to learn about raising boys, never having been a mom, and she's working hard at it and largely doing well. My boys have to learn where the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, and cleaning supplies are. I have to learn her parents' ways, treat them with respect, and respect their culture. A two-way street, a complicated intersection for sure, but it's worth the effort. But, what do I know; I'm just a guy.


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16 comments so far | Post a comment now
denise September 5, 2009, 7:31 AM

No one said life was easy, and we all know second marriages are quite a challenge as what we each bring is usually greater later in life. I think you’re doing you best to actually try and learn from previous mistakes. I hope your wife appreciates that effort.

David M. Kinchen September 5, 2009, 10:09 AM

Sometimes dealing with in-laws resembles walking through a minefield (although I don’t have any experience with that!). We learn from our errors…that’s what they’re for.

mercaties September 5, 2009, 10:38 AM

I’m very close to my husbands parents but not so mutch the other way around. My parents are divorced and my mom is really close to my husband but him and my father can’t stand eachother. My father actually told me that he would put the down payment on my first home and pay my way through a four year college if I left my husband. Needless to say, I haven’t spoken to or seen my dad in about ten years.

Eleanor September 5, 2009, 8:32 PM

You are doing well so far. Keep up the good works. Cultural differences can be overcome with an open mind and heart.
Eleanor

Kathi Browne September 6, 2009, 7:36 AM

You just gave me a bit more credibility with my boys. I always tell them when they choose a wife, they better take a close look at the in-laws because marriage is a package deal. My dad gave me the same advice and I found a man with a wonderful family.

Glad you did, too.

Ilene Amy Berg September 7, 2009, 10:13 AM

I have a feeling that it’s gonna work out just fine this time around! Would love to hear more about negotiating the waters of specific cultural differences.

Just Jo September 7, 2009, 10:41 PM

Oh Bruce, It is funner the second time around, enjoy each moment and if all else fails find laughter in the tragic moments, we are just human.
Just Jo

H.Fox September 8, 2009, 10:07 AM

I get along great with my in-laws and their different culture. My own family’s more difficult!

Bryce Zabel September 8, 2009, 3:15 PM

Okay, I just wrote this long, witty comment and hit post and it told me that something was wrong and sent me back to a blank “Comment” section. This is probably not a great way to get feedback from readers. I’m just sayin’…

Erin September 11, 2009, 5:52 PM

My in-laws are a complete PAIN. Consider yourself lucky. Love your blogs and died laughing at the farting one. Thanks and keep ‘em coming!

Eliza September 13, 2009, 11:55 AM

I’m blessed with wonderful in-laws but it is still an ongoing challenge. Love your candor in your blogs Bruce even if you rile me up.

Margie West September 13, 2009, 12:12 PM

I can’t believe how much you tell “us”. u are either one open guy or a bit nuts. how does your family and kids feel about all this disclosure?

Bruce Sallan September 13, 2009, 1:55 PM

Margie - Good question. It can be an ongoing debate within my family. Usually I try to clear anything that might be sensitive with them before I publish it here or in my regular “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column. When I forget, as I did recently with my wife on something about her, I pay for it. Nonetheless, it is my nature to be too honest, too talky, and too much out there, so to speak.

teD G September 23, 2009, 9:17 PM

no comment

philippe perebinossoff November 20, 2009, 5:54 PM

The first time I met my future inlaws, I asked how much their land was worth. I tend to ask a lot of questions, and I’ve always felt that matters of real estate were not private. But that was the w rong question to ask, no?

Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 9:26 PM

Good post. Good and fun reading. There is a thing to submit about tee shirts.


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