Ask any married guy how it is going with his lady’s old man, and you will be shocked; mixed opinions guaranteed. While mothers-in-law get the stingiest pinch for warring with their sons’ better halves, some fathers-in-law can be a pain in the you-know-what.
Odd, grumpy, ill tempered or down-right indifferent are common descriptions for the fathers of our sweet peas. Unless both of you are Gunners or Mancs or Foxes (I hear it is a thing now), there is bound to be some father and son-in-law friction.
If the thought of meeting your father-in-law scares the wits out of you, here are a few tips on how to stay in the guy’s good books.
Put yourself in his shoes.
Many a times fathers are scared to lose their daughters to someone they barely know. A child is to a father what marbles are to little boys; a prized possession. Marriage to a father is, “daddy’s little girl is being taken away.” Visit your father-in-law regularly, don’t let him feel like he is being left out of family activities.
Expect him to put up a fight.
Who in the world lets their prized possession go without putting up a fight? Not fathers-in-law. While the man in him reminds him to stay in control, a deep sense of attachment, developed over the years, is bound to make him protective. Don’t fight him though, sometimes he is trying to find his place in your relationship with his daughter. Sometimes he just wants to assist the two of you.
Show an interest in him.
Find out what your spouse’s father enjoys doing, it could be a sport or downing drinks at his old watering hole. Watch a game together or invite him on a short trip. The two of you will get familiar with time.
Mind your language.
Your father-in-law may seem disinterested but on the flip side, he isn’t. Think of him as the FBI, with eyes and ears everywhere, quietly observing your every move. Save the trash talking for your boys.
Offer to help out.
Ask if he needs a hand with any work around the house. Father-in-law love to put you through some paces so help out with some handy work. Assist with the plumbing or that car engine if you can. Score points in his eyes with your handy skills.
Stay out of family feuds.
Men are naturally protective of their families and it is good if you keep your distance when confrontations erupt. Also, avoid criticising any in-law; it may appear logical but the old man knows his family members well enough and he does not need you opinion.
Seek his counsel.
Father love giving advice to their sons-in-law, it makes them feel helpful. So seek his counsel on a few issues. Show him that his presence is worthwhile.
No sex talk.
When it comes to your father-in-law, learn to bite that tongue on anything sex. Your wife may be 35 but she is still his little angel. I repeat, no sex. Period.
Let him be.
If the man just doesn’t like you, keep a distance. Give him his space, there is no point in using a horseless cart. If the two of you do not kick it together, the best thing to do is to respect the guy’s feelings. Seek professional help, a counselor. But if all else fails, stay away and avoid any confrontations.
Happy International Fathers-in-Law Day.