By Sarah Sanchez

There’s a movie called Monster-In-Law that came out in 2005, starring Jennifer Lopez and Michael Vartan. The two actors play a couple that fall in love and are engaged to be married. But Michael’s mother, played by Jane Fonda, makes it a mission to tear the couple apart. She’s defined as the “Monster-In-Law”, as she goes to extreme measures to make sure her little boy doesn’t get married.

The movie was such a hit because many couples have been in similar situations with their in-laws; many probably consider them to be their “Monster-In-Laws”. In-laws have such a bad rep that new brides will often complain about her husband’s family (or vice versa). Maybe there is a mother-in-law that is too involved or too controlling, or a sibling that disapproves of the bride. Then, a division will be created because the groom suddenly has to pick sides between his bride and his family. Or maybe it’s vice versa and the conflict is with the bride’s family. The situations usually have one similarity: there’s a problem with the in-laws.

But I don’t believe this has to be the norm. The issue that couples don’t realize is that when two people get married, two worlds are colliding into one. There are two different families who were raised differently, act differently, and have different views than what the other is used to. It’s not bad, it’s just different; but we often think it’s wrong.

It’s easy to talk badly about the in-laws or cut them off completely after a disagreement. But as I wrote in a previous article called Ten Things They Don’t Tell You About Marriage, #4 states that “When You Say ‘I Do’, You Marry The Family Too”. The in-laws are not going anywhere. When you decide to get married, you marry your spouse and his/her family. They are now your family too.

That might be a scary thought for some of you and maybe even a deal breaker. But it doesn’t have to be. The way I see it is that we should be thankful to have our in-laws because it just means we have more people to love! Many people in this world don’t even have a family due to loss or unfortunate situations. But here we are with four potential avenues of family: our mom’s family, dad’s family, spouse’s mom’s family, and spouse’s dad’s family. That’s four sets of people that we have the opportunity to love, to get to know, and hopefully receive love from. We should put our differences aside and take advantage of these people placed in our lives.

Family is everything to me and I’m thankful to have so much family, both relatives and in-laws.

The day I married my husband was the day I gained a spouse, but it was also the day my husband’s cousins became my cousins, his aunts became my aunts, and his uncles became my uncles too. And when we have kids one day, my kids won’t know them as my in-laws or even Monster-In-Laws. They will know them as their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. They will know them all as our family.

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