What did you do to build a relationship with your spouse’s family?
2nd gen couple Blessed for 6 years
Wife: Like any healthy relationship, it needs time and attention. I made sure to get to know each of his close family personally by spending time just one on one. Giving time and attention to his family members has been quite a joyful experience for me. It was not always easy, as the family habits and cultural differences would come up. I sometimes would struggle with the limitations of his parents and especially since it seems like they would never be able to grow or change. I realized, however, they are making small steps and I need to stay humble and not judge them, but rather support them in these small steps. Any big journey starts with a single step.
Husband: We decided together that we wanted to live in each other’s home country for a period of time, as part of letting go of habits we were accustomed to and to understand our spouse’s background better. During this period of time I had the chance to live with my wife at my parents in law. They were very accommodating and nice to live with, which I understand is not always the case for every family. Personally I value that experience and felt I integrated well into the family throughout that time. Through doing acts of service in which I could contribute to the family, I felt their appreciation for having me around.
Any other advice you would give to newly Blessed couples?
2nd gen couple Blessed for 6 years
Wife: Be honest and patient, first with yourself and then with your spouse. Own up to your limitations and be grateful when your spouse triggers those to come to the surface! It allows you to deal with them together and grow from it. Be therefore also kind and forgiving towards yourself and to your spouse. Give trust. Especially for the ladies, overcome your shyness in giving feedback for in between the sheets. He cannot imagine what you feel or like, as his body is different, and will not know how to make you feel loved unless you tell him, and he will be grateful for it!
And both of you, keep hope. Build a beautiful picture together of where you want to be in the future and work for it! When you get stuck, seek advice from mature people you trust. And lastly, enjoy wholeheartedly.
Husband: Personally, I would say three things. One, (this is for the man) your wife may be hoping for a proposal. I knew mine was through several hinted moments until one day it worked out. The Blessing and wedding ceremony for us had both a different status. While the first was more the promise of commitment towards God, the wedding has been a celebration of our love for another.
Two, celebrate your love through a civil marriage. Though it didn’t change anything in our relationship, it was for us a moment to give back to all the people in our lives that mattered to us. We held it 5 years after our blessing, but for the guests, our family and friends, it became a much appreciated event.
Lastly, seek help. May that be from friends, elders or other couples. May that be through workshops or other marriage advice sources, there are plenty. Don’t isolate yourself as a couple. Every couple has their individual circumstances, and problems are to be expected. Focus on finding solutions rather than preventing disagreements. Being able to communicate your feelings and thoughts is vital for your spouse to understand you – this especially helped us come closer as couple. Don’t pressure each other, whatever the situation. What your partner does should be voluntary, that’s how we make our spouse’s happiness a reality. Be kind.