For Better or Worse, that isn’t a question but rather part of the vows most of us blithely repeat during our wedding ceremonies. As the minister pronounces us married and we kiss our newly minted spouse, dreams of our future waltz across the polished dance floor. We turn from the minister to our newly minted family; all dressed in their Sunday-go-to-meeting best never realizing monsters lurk beneath the smiling faces sitting in the pews.
Don’t get me wrong, some of these lovely people don’t intend to ruin your life. Truthfully, some are well-meaning monsters who simply have no brought-upsie that is they were not beaten within an inch of their lives when they were children. Others, well they are simply Azzhats and your happiness annoys them. Then there are those who believe they are helping you and don’t comprehend how their help could possibly be seen as interference. These lovelies are not just on your spouse’s side of the family, oh no indeed they are all running rampant throughout and you both need to know how to spot them and take them down.
The Oblivious Out-Law – these poor dears are unaware of their jaunts into the land of offensive. Saying and doing things that would cause most of us hesitation. The Out-Law of Rude generally fails to maintain connections between their brains and their mouths, it isn’t their fault though (I try to give the benefit of the doubt). Example from my own family annuals:
“I read recently that the only reason a younger man would date or marry an older woman is to use her for her money. No younger man would ever find an older woman sexually attractive.” Said by my sister during a family get together; uhmm, Sister Dear, husband and I have a nineteen year age gap and have been married a decade. Shocked silence all around as my sister smiles while attempting to remove foot from mouth, “oh will it doesn’t apply to you; ya’ll are obviously different right?’
The Judgment Out-Law – this is one that believes no matter what one of you will never be good enough for the other. Usually one of the mothers, Heaven help you if it is both. This Out-Law will never release their hold and will spend a significant amount of energy pointing out the faults of the partner. If the Judgment Out-Law is also the family Matriarch you are in trouble before you get started, nipping the problem early is the only way to win this war or you will find the entire family against you before you have a chance to settle in. The only way to win this is your partner must be willing to stand up to his/her meddlesome parent, reminding them you are now the spouse and first.
The Helpful Out-Law – this one is always there willing to assist with anything and everything, for a price. Clean your house, mow your lawn, do your shopping, watch your dog anything you might need this Out Law is the one to call, actually they might be calling you. Problem is with this one they are also usually there watching your TV, eating your food and otherwise disrupting your privacy. They have no sense of boundaries, hell for the most part they have no sense. The Helpful Out-Law will sleep on your couch if you let them, borrow money and your car (to do your shopping) and when things go South they will tell the entire family all your secrets including those you don’t have. The only way to prevent this outlaw from taking over your life is not to let them in. Decline their assistance unless you have no choice, say you are in full traction for example. Only invite them over during family get-togethers’ when there is a buffer between you and them.
Those are just three of the Out-Laws you will without doubt find in your new family tree. The funny thing is, some of them will be hanging from the branches of your tree and you simply didn’t know they were there until the fateful day you married. Marriage changes everything!
More on In-Laws and Out-Laws from my own hysterical family later. Stay tuned.
Next Chapter: Compromise Isn’t Everything or What’s Love Have to Do with It?