Hi, thanks for taking my question!
OK, my husband and I have been married for almost 2 years now, and we are very happy. We love to do fun things together, and to just chill out at home. He works outside of the home, while I work from home, so our time together is precious.
Here’s the issue:
Last year, we had to move across our state because my husband got a new job. Because we hadn’t sold our house in our old town yet, we had to stay with his parents for 9 months (which we were very grateful for). That being said–it drove us nearly insane. Thankfully, we got our own place in August, and are now feeling free and easy. His family, however, feels that we don’t spend enough time with them. Admittedly, we like to keep to ourselves, as we were counseled before we got married to “make our marriage THE priority.” We do visit every now and then, and we recently saw his parents at a wedding, but after 9 months of living with them (and basically with the rest of the family, who were constantly at their house, at least 4-5 times per week)…we need a little breathing space. When we were living at our old house, we didn’t see the family every week, so why should we be expected to see them every week now?
Also, they try and make us feel guilty about not spending enough time with our niece and nephews (4 kids in total). While we love the kids, and do want to spend time with them, we don’t have kids of our own, so children really aren’t our top focus right now, our marriage is, as well as our careers (which are just starting and require a ton of focus). We do try and spend time with them (we just invited them to a Christmas sleepover at our new place, which we still haven’t received a response from yet!), just not every day or week.
My main issue is the fact that the problem is not between my husband and me…he freely admits that his family is out of control and tries to avoid their drama as much as possible. We just want to get settled in our marriage, and build a happy home and life together. We don’t want to completely shut anyone out, but we do want some space and peace. Are we being “selfish” and inconsiderate (as his family has said) or are we just trying to make a decent life for ourselves while we can?
When it comes to dealing with family it always seems to be tough call on how to handle them. Some of them can sometimes be a pain in the butt while others are just a blessing. The bottom line is that you always want to keep it cool with them and be careful not hurt their feelings because when it comes down to it, family are usually the only ones who are there for you when you really need them. Sure you have friends and they always claim to be there for you, but you’ll be surprise how many of them suddenly disappear when you really need help. Perfect example is just the recent event you just lived, where you needed a place to stay for 9 months and your husband’s family took you in with no problems.
Now in your situation, your in-laws only want to spend more time with you guys and in all honesty that’s not a crazy request. It’s also understandable that at times, even though it’s not intentional, they can get really annoying and it takes the fun away from spending time with them. The good news is that there’s always a way to still do things your way but at the same time be able to not hurt their feelings.
Another thing you got working for yourself is that your husband feels the same way you do about this whole situation. In most cases the other person really wants to spend time with their own family and it becomes a mess because they’re constantly having to choose between their family and their spouse. Definitely not a situations you want to be in.
Now for the solution. The simplest way I can recommend you guys handle this is by simply and casually just explaining to them that you guys are really busy with your careers, personal goals, etc. Keep doing everything you guys are currently doing and when ever you talk to them and they ask you how you guys are doing, ALWAYS start the conversation by saying; “we’ve been really busy with work…” and what ever else you want to include in that sentence.
If you continue to constantly say how busy you guys are and how you can’t seem to find time to do other things you want to do, eventually they’ll start getting the point that you guys only visit when you have the time. They’ll start to realized that you guys are unable to be at their house 24/7 and will stop the nagging about it. Most importantly you will do it in a way where you don’t hurt their feelings.
I mean, you said that before when you guys lived further away from them, they never pressured you guys to constantly visit and all, so I don’t see a reason why they can’t go back to behaving the same way they used to. It’s simply a matter of time before they stop their comments which by having a legit reason such as work, goals, etc. there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.
I really think that after 9 months of seeing you guys on a daily basis, they got used to it and now they miss you guys.
Continue to always keep a good communication flow between you and your husband and always stay on the same page. Make sure you guys take the same approach in dealing with this situation and always, always make your marriage the first priority. Good luck.