In my years of premarital counseling, the most contentious topic with couples-to-be was the blending of two extended families.
Think about it: millions of small experiences make us who we are on our wedding day. Combine those two worlds into one marriage and difficulties are sure to arise.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." —Genesis 1:24
Many times, we can feel awkward around our in-laws and wish they would act differently or change their behaviors or traditions. But consider this: you are the “new guy”.
Your future spouse’s family has created traditions and behaviors over decades with potentially dozens of different family members including parents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters…and even a few of “those” cousins.
It’s unrealistic to assume your future spouse’s family will change in order to accommodate your wishes. And, of course, the same is true for your family from your future spouse’s point of view.
One of the best ways to love and respect your future spouse is to love and respect his or her family. Learn to extend grace to your in-laws in anticipation of coming together. Here are some questions you can ask before marriage so you show interest in each others' family and have more connecting points.
Ask these questions before marriage
Ask these questions to spur conversation with your about family and family history. Again, there are no deal-breaker answers here. You're simply interested in learning more, getting to know your future spouse, and hopefully, learning connecting points for when you meet the family.
1. What was your mom and dad's view of God?
2. What was your mom and dad's roles within the home?
3. How did your mom and dad handle money?
4. How did your mom and dad model helping others?
5. What did your mom and dad do for a living? How did they decide what to do?
6. How involved were your mom and dad as parents?
7. How did your parents view discipline and parenting?
8. Did you ever see your parents fight or get angry?
9. Did you ever see your parents show how they loved each other? Did they hold hands and so on? Discuss.
10. How do your parents expect us to spend the holidays?
These ten questions are a great start to getting to know each other more and learning more about your future spouse's family. My hope is that these questions will spur a bunch more questions and deep discussion.
Grace Marriage Mission
Take turns asking each other the questions in this post. Enjoy getting to know each other more and seek to learn as much as you can about each other.