Family unity is vitally important for fellowship, stability, and maintaining a happy marriage. I encourage couples to practice the character qualities of respect and flexibility in building relationships with their potential or actual in-laws. If you fight about or criticize one another’s family, it will cause stress within your relationship or marriage.

Before and after marriage it can take a great deal of patience, tactfulness, and love to get along. You will likely have to set an occasional boundary (please call before coming over!), but it is worth the effort to get along. There is always a level of gratitude the couple owes to their parents for giving birth to them. Beyond that, the relationship will be important for you as a couple and the grandchildren throughout your marriage. The more the family interacts with one another using character qualities, the better the relationships will be, and the more positive qualities you will see in one another.

Building a close relationship before marriage can include seeking parent’s agreement to the marriage happening. When all are in agreement that the marriage has good potential, the marriage begins on a unified and strong foundation. My own experience includes all six of us vacationing together after marriage because of the connection built beforehand. Some of the unhappiest families I’ve ever seen are because the parents resisted the marriage from the beginning.

Maintaining a close relationship can include such actions as staying in touch by telephone, Internet video, and email, sending presents on special occasions, initiating visits, and ensuring you are available for family gatherings. No family is perfect, but agreeing to get along with one another reaps many rewards.

One tool for family harmony is Couple Consultation (which leads to Family Consultation). Get your copy today of Deciding in Unity: A Practical Process for Married Couples to Agree on Practically Everything. It is available through Marriage Transformation or your favorite bookstore or distributor.