Your parents have always wanted the best for you, and they certainly do for your marriage, too. But unfortunately, even the best intentions can have unpleasant consequences. Here are four times your parents might accidentally be ruining your relationship, and how to deal.
You gave them a key to your house for emergencies — but in the last two weeks, they've dropped over four times, bypassing the front door in favor of letting themselves in through the back to deliver baked goods or simply shoot the breeze. While it's nice to be close to your family, allowing them to get too close can actually impede on your alone time and put a wedge between you and your spouse. It's time to nicely ask them to call before they come by. "You've imposed a boundary, so they may limit their gifts or [affection] since they don't have the control they thought they had," says April Masini, relationship expert. "But that's okay — and it's a transition into your marriage."
They treat you like babies.
Before you got married, you may have turned to Mom and Dad for advice on everything from selecting a home mortgage to what to wear to your friend's wedding. The residual effect, however, might be that your parents aren't ready to let you make your own decisions — even with your spouse. "Thank your parents for their love and support, and ask that you be the one to carry the ball forward," suggest Masini. "In other words, give them the clear message that you've got this one. Tell them that you know you're going to make mistakes in life — hopefully very few and small ones — and move forward on your own, as a new couple."
They set a bad example for you.
Whether your parents long ago split or they remain together but you often spot them fighting dirty or unwilling to compromise, their bad habits may be eking into your otherwise good marriage. If you catch yourself name-calling just like Mom and Dad do, it might be time to step back and say, "It doesn't work for them — and I'm not going to let that happen to me."
They ignore your rules for your children.
As new grandparents, your Mom and Dad are eager to soak up as much time with the tots as possible — and impart their child-rearing wisdom, of course. Recommendations are always welcome, but ignoring your rules for your kids can ignite fights between you and your spouse, who may feel your authority as parents is being challenged. Tell your parents that "you're pretty sure that they can help," says Masini, "but ask them to let go of their expectations and focus instead on yours." In other words, she says, "you're telling them thank you — and it's time for them to cut the cord. You can't say the latter phrase — but it's what you're saying in more polite words."