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Posted by B on June 12, 2001 at 04:02:17:

In Reply to: greek mother-in-law posted by sophia on June 07, 2001 at 07:18:54:

Just Kidding. You and your husband need to be on the same page. At all times you must present a unified front (which sometimes may require you or your husband to support something the other said even though the issue may be far from decided). The most successful Greek/non-Greek relationships that I have seen all have a few common denominators. The couple has complete autonomy over there lives. From time to time they will give the overbearing parent(s) a victory by accepting one of the many, many strong suggestions which they would routinely receive from the wife's mother. It doesn't take long for the parents to realize that the small victories you have given them had less to do with how great of parents they think they are. They will discover that somehow, without their assistance/interference that somehow this young couple has managed to do things for themselves. By the way, this is a pretty key point. Until you fell you are at a point where your house is settled, the grass has greened up nicely, you've got the grill working to perfection. The house is painted in the colors YOU want and you have (this is what drives them REALLY crazy) decorated your house in such a way that a balance has been struck between a hint of the Greek background, and a hint of the others background (if they care, if not, don't put anything up. Watch the Greek fathers face when you tell him that the only lineage you are concerned about is your family who came over from..X. They wanted a better life here in Y and for that sacrifice, I am eternally grateful. However, there were reasons they left, if showing up here in Y with nothing but the shoes on their feet seemed like a better opportunity then in X, then I must thank X for letting us out of that place, but more importantly I am concerned with my family right now. We live in Y, and I thank Y for allowing me the opportunity to (insert amazing thing you do where ever it is you live... make it up if you have to)and all the great things that go with living in Y. Anyway, I find that is a great way to exaggerate some of the hypocrisy you undoubtedly face occasionally. All right, back to having all your "stuff" in order. Order a bunch of stuff from Pottery Barn, or IKEA. Make a solemn oath with your husband or wife, "I will not decorate this house with tacky crap, including large needlepoint murals of Greek dancers. Fight the Power!!!!

You will only be controlled as much as you allow yourself to be controlled. Sometimes that means having a little chat with the in-laws. A loud chat actually. Make sure you have valid points (make notes if you need to). Make sure you make a fairly simple demand, like... "This is now our family (that would be the two of you)." We are still growing as a family and as people. We need to be able to have complete control (or autonomy if you really want to throw them off) of our lives together." There, that is a good agreeable premise. Then make sure you let them know how much you appreciate them. (But....) Next point out a few benign examples of the interference (bringing over an ugly plant holder, installing, w/out asking of course, an orange carpet toilet seat cover, etc. Then point out a big thing they did that interfered with your life and how it affected you both. Finally, pepper them with a few examples of the attempted interference (that should be pretty easy I would imagine). Once you have said your peace, allow them to respond. Listen very carefully. Be sure to hear every word that is said. 9 out of 10 times, you will find contradictions galore (this is a universal truth about all parents, it is just funnier when the in-laws have accents). Anyway, you may get an extreme response "We are not good enough for you, blah blah blah" It is important to realize that people do not react that way unless they feel that there control over the situation is quickly dissipating. If that is the case, let them yell. Under no circumstances should you get in a shouting match with them. Finish the "conversation" with your own personal Declaration of Independence. "We are a new family, the two of us will live as we see fit and we will accept only advice that we have solicited. All other comments will be tactfully ignored. You have your own family, and now the two of us are an extended part of that family. We don not, however, live under your roof, nor do you live under ours." (This last part seems to work better if the other party, particularly the one of you whose parents you are addressing gives this final summation.

If that does not work, MOVE!

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