Strengthening the relationship with your in-laws

Strengthening the relationship with your in-laws

Marriage counsellor Gaopalelwe Seleka shares tips for ensuring that your relationship with your in-laws flourishes.

Smiling mother hugging daughter
Smiling mother hugging daughter/ iStock

The hashtags #rakgadi and #makoti have been trending on Twitter since Sunday evening. This comes after the drama that unfolded at businessman Lebogang Khitsane’s memorial service. Lebogang's sister accused his late brother's wife of being the cause of his pain due to cheating.

The sister claimed Lebogang’s wife brought a man into the marital home.

“Lebogang was in pain. It turns out his wife had brought a man into the house,” she said. 

This led to the wife’s child going on stage to attack the aunt (rakgadi).

As a result of the drama, many South Africans took to Twitter to talk about the beef that exists between many wives (makoti) and their in-laws.

Gaopalelwe Seleka, a marriage counsellor who enjoys a great relationship with her mother-in-law of more than ten years, says there are things that couples can do to strengthen relationships with in-laws. She says it doesn't always have to be a toxic relationship. 

Best mother-in-love ever🌹🌹🌹

Posted by Gaopalelwe Seleka on Saturday, 1 August 2020

The marriage counsellor says because of the many unhealthy in-law relationships that exist in society, some people enter into marriage with a negative mind-set that in-laws are difficult to deal with. This can cause friction right from the start. 

Gaopalelwe says it is important for couples to study the family member's characters and not act based on the assumption of the worst. 

"When you get married, you need to understand that, yes, you are in love with your bae, but you are not just marrying bae. You are getting married into his family - his mother, his siblings, his uncles, whoever is his family," says the counsellor. 

Gaopalelwe says the key is accepting his family members as they are. 

"Accepting the family is key." 

She adds that "most of the time the challenges come when they [in-laws] feel like you want to take their own from them." This is why she believes you have to do everything in your power to ensure that you make them see that you love and accept them for who they are and that you are in their family to build and not take away their son or brother. 

When it comes to dealing with the mother-in-law, Gaopalelwe says love will win her heart. 

"Accept her and embrace her," says the marriage counsellor.

She says another key thing to note is that there is no perfect person. 

READ: The curious case of the in-laws

"Your mother is not perfect, so his mother cannot be perfect," she says. 

Gaopalelwe says another way to strengthen the relationship is to focus on the positive characteristics of your in-laws. 

"Sometimes when we get into families, we just look for mistakes and we highlight the negativity as if where we come from there are no negativities, but we want this family to be perfect. So you have to accept them with their strong and weak points. 

"Make it a conscious decision that you are going to build a relationship with your mother-in-law. It should be conscious because it doesn't just happen," she adds.

When it comes to dealing with those who intentionally go out of their way to hurt you, Gaopalelwe says do not let negativity change who you are. 

"Don't turn evil because people are evil to you. Some people might ask, how do you love people who don't love you? Don't let people decide for you how you are going to live your life. Do the right thing. So if I  get into a family that is full of negativity, my role is to do what is right and do what is me, and not turn into evil because they mistreat me," she says. 

Gaopalelwe says the couple should make the most of their time with in-laws, especially if you don't stay with them and only visit them a few times a year. She says this is the perfect time to spoil them and show them love. 

"When you visit them, go as if you are going to your own mother's house. If you notice things that need to be bought, if you are able to, then buy for them, just as you would at your own parents' home," she says. 

Lastly, Gaopalelwe says winning the battle with the in-laws is one way to ensure that you make your spouse happy, because he will know you love and accept his family. It is one secret to building a strong relationship even with your partner.

Gaopalelwe Seleka and mother in-law
Gaopalelwe Seleka and mother in-law/ Supplied

Main image courtesy of iStock/ @Motortion
Image of Gaopalelwe Seleka and her mother in-law/ Supplied

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