The first thing on the agenda after you become engaged is to share the joyous news with family and friends. If you have had a good relationship with each other’s family, then the news should be accepted with lots of hugs and tears. If for some reason there has been a little rift among family members, then the time to settle differences is before the wedding day. The last thing you want is to become married and then have a family divided. The parents will be told either by phone or in person, depending on where they live in relation to you and your fiancé. If a phone call were made, it would be appropriate for both of you to be on the phone together when sharing the news.
However, if one or both families live nearby, then inviting them to dinner at your home or at a nice restaurant would be an excellent opportunity to tell them about the upcoming event. For friends, again the way in which they are told depends on the individual friend. For close friends, you might consider throwing a party or hosting an intimate dinner, which creates the perfect opportunity to tell them about the engagement and spend some time together. Otherwise, a phone call can be made or a personalized note sent announcing the new engagement. Building the Family Bond After telling the family, do not be surprised if one or both of you go through a period of having a little concern about building a strong relationship with the future in-laws, even if you are already close.
This emotion is perfectly normal. Remember, that whether close or not, you will go through some adjustments. Unfortunately, too many marriages begin with friction because of the in-laws. Although there are no guarantees that everything will be perfect, you can do some things to ensure the relationship grows into something strong and enjoyable. Making an Effort The key is that once an engagement is set, every effort should be made to become closer to your future in-laws. Now, that does not mean you have to suck up or make phony attempts, but you should try to find new ways of building the relationship. To accomplish this, little things such as being polite, respectful, and considerate go a long way. For example, the future bride could offer to assist or cleanup when visiting her future mother- and father-in-law’s home for dinner instead of waiting to be asked. For the future groom, he could work on the car with the bride’s father, or even bring fresh flowers to her mother when visiting. Small gestures such as these really do count. Obviously, the relationship with your future in-laws is something that you should be building throughout the dating process. However, once a wedding is impervious, the level of this relationship takes a completely different turn. It is at this time that a sincere and honest effort should be made. First-Time Meeting If you have never met your future in-laws before, the first meeting should be a proper introduction, meaning that you should refer to the parents as “Mr. and Mrs.” Chances are you will be corrected and asked to use first names or simply call them “mom” and “dad” but this should be the parent’s decision.
Sometimes, the relationship may stay a little formal at first but within a short time of getting to know each other, the relationship will soon begin to change, reaching a point of it being relaxed and informal. Valuable Information A great opportunity, especially for the future bride is to find out the birthdays and anniversaries of the groom’s family. Sending a card for these dates along with holidays will make a major impression. Although this gesture is something small, it matters. Additionally, whenever you both spend time with the parents, you should take time to listen and learn. Although most of the attention will be toward you and the upcoming wedding, it is important that you turn the attention away from time to time, showing a genuine interest in the family. Additionally, do not be afraid to ask questions. For instance, in casual conversation, you might ask how they met, what types of things they did while dating, and so on, which are all appropriate questions.
When sincere interest is shown about the family, valuable information can be gained. You will find that during your conversations, certain things about the family will be discovered. Perhaps one of the mothers loves to garden or collects a certain type of figurine. Being armed with this information, you can surprise her with a bouquet of fresh flowers or some of her favorite seeds for the garden the next time everyone gets together or send her a new figurine for her collection – just because. Perhaps one of the fathers owned a 1965 Mustang or simply loves working on vintage cars! He would be thrilled to receive a gift such as a calendar, featuring photos of 1965 Mustangs or other favorites.
These gestures are simple and inexpensive yet they are very powerful. Agree to Disagree Although no one will ever agree 100%, everyone should try. The important thing is being polite and respectful, learning to avoid the things that could become competitive issues. If an issue does arise, which seem to be a sticking point, sit down with your future in-laws and discuss it. Family and friends are a foundation to marriage. Therefore, building respect between all parties is crucial. That does not mean that everyone will agree all of the time, as mentioned, but it does mean the amount of quality time together will be improved. By making the effort, the marriage will be less stressful and far more pleasant.