Your relationship with your fiancé is certainly important, but so is the relationship your main man has with your Mom and Dad. "A positive relationship between a woman's fiancé and her parents can improve and strengthen the relationship she has with her parents because they will become more unified, and more understanding of each other," explains Patrick Wanis, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of Find Love Fast. "It also opens the heart of everyone in the family and this leads to more love, harmony and joy."
But creating that kind of bond between three people isn't always easy — especially if you no longer live close to Mom and Dad. Here, experts give tips on how you can help make it happen.
Build in time together outside of the holidays.
Smack in the center of Christmas hubbub isn't exactly the ideal time help your parents get to know your guy. "Make sure you build in time for all of you to get acquainted that ... involves true down time, when you are off of work and can actually unplug and listen to each other," suggests Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., psychologist and professor of psychology at California State University. "All of our relationships get eroded because we try to have them while distracted by life. Lift that distraction and allow him and them to see the best of each other, especially early in the relationship."
Build up your fiancé in front of your parents.
Does your guy go above-and-beyond daily? Let your parents know his good traits, and shower him with affection in their presence. And he, too, should do the same. "By edifying each other and doing so in front of your parents — complimenting, praising, validating, and explaining why you love each other — you can help foster a positive and strong relationship between your fiancé and parents," Wanis says.
Prep your fiancé for your parents.
Are there any minefields your man should avoid when he meets your parents? Then don't send him in blind. "Prepare your fiancé for your family — e.g. any strange players, any of your parents' biases — so he is not taken by surprise," advises Durvasula. Also, you can give your guy the advantage by setting get-togethers at times and places that play to his strength, rather than when he might be rushed or distracted, she suggests.
Don't complain about either party to the other.
He's not perfect, and in a moment of exasperation, you might be tempted to tell your parents why. And when Mom calls for the tenth time in a single day, you might declare to your guy she's the most annoying woman in the world. But "brides need to be careful of the energy and messages they emit, and beware of spreading negativity or simply whining about either person, because that will create and determine the image that her fiancé or parents will hold about that particular person," warns Wanis.