Building a relationship with your father-in-law can be difficult. You may compare him to your own father or feel intimidated when he is around. July 30 is Father-in-law Day. This day is designed to help you build a strong and comfortable relationship with your father-in-law. After all, he is family and you both deserve a close relationship with one another. Here are three ways you can improve the relationship with your father-in-law and feel more comfortable in his presence.
1. Find common interests.
One common obstacle you may face with your in-laws is the lack of similar interests. When common interests are missing, conversation may be difficult. Dig deeper. Look at the objects in your in-laws home for something interesting or ask your spouse about previous hobbies your father-in-law enjoyed. Finding common interests can take work. It may require a little more effort than you have previously put forth. However, with a little bit of extra work, you can find something that can help build a strong relationship.
2. Ask questions.
Be willing to ask your father-in-law questions. Ask him about his childhood and what it was like raising your spouse. Ask him about the hobbies he used to enjoy. Talk to him about his family life as a young boy. Ask him about his career and what led him to that occupation.
When you act interested in your father-in-law and give him your undivided attention, he feels like you truly do want to get to know him and be a part of his family. Those barriers that prevent a strong relationship from forming will start to crumble. And, when you ask questions, you will find there are many topics that you two can enjoy. You may have more in common than you realize.
3. Avoid comparisons.
It is easy to compare our father-in-law to our own father or another male example in our life. But, those comparisons are often the cause of barriers in the relationship with our father-in-law. Put those comparisons aside and look for your father-in-law’s strengths. Concentrate on the good he brings to the family. Remember, you father-in-law raised your spouse. Many characteristics you love about your spouse came from him. Look for those characteristics. Look for the good and put any judgmental or comparable thoughts far from your mind.
Your father-in-law can be a great example in your life. He is the grandfather to your children and a large part in their lives, your spouse’s life and in your life. Be willing to build a strong relationship with him. Be willing to put forth some effort, ask some questions and look for his strengths.
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Courtnie Erickson is a Utah State University graduate and a technology guru.