Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Land

My husband just returned from a foreign country. A strange land. Unusual food. A day spent in a magical place where everyone calls you princess or prince. A land of curious social mores. Language barriers and opened floodgates. Shifts in schedule and time. He endured wild animals (aka the new puppy my parents recently bought). He survived the drama stirred up by me and my sisters, drama as predictable as Santa’s need to go on The Biggest Loser. He drove a dizzying two days straight and five days later made the return drive. My husband, he absorbed it all. For me.

This weekend we returned from visiting my family. Someone really needs to write a book about how spending time with the in-laws is the equivalent of visiting an unfamiliar country (maybe someone already has?). We had a meaningful visit. Though, I am glad to be back. Home again. There really is nothing like wallowing in your own bed and waking to sip tea you always drink. When we got home we found time to go to church, paint some of our kitchen and put up and decorate our Christmas tree. Two days in the car must have put us in a feverish mood to accomplish physical tasks.

To mention a little more about the foreign land…It’s a study in human behavior to observe how other families operate. Once you’re married into a family you assume the role of family member while it could take years to learn how to function within that family unit. We’ve been married ten years and I still discover new traditions and ways of communicating within my husband’s family. Keep me in mind as I gear up to do a little “traveling” myself later next month.
~~~It’s great to be blogging again. I missed it. But the break proved refreshing.

Here’s what I’m curious about…Have you mastered the language of the in-laws? Do you know the appropriate social codes? Are you in a whole new world when you visit family (Sorry, we went to Disney World. Can’t shake all the references.)?
*photos by flickr
**I'm over at Live Beautiful later today

31 comments:

  1. what a great post! and yes, my in-laws couldn't be more different from my family in....everything!...how they relate to each other, how much quality time they give one another, famuily traditions..you name it! it's been 10 years and we've both managed to assimilate to the other's family culture....most of the time!

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  2. Unfortunately, there are no in-laws in our family, though I've become an in-law this past October. My new daughter-in-law is a joy and blessing. I couldn't have picked a better one!

    My husband's family adopted me from day one and made me feel right at home since then. I'm so blessed!

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  3. My husband's family is very small, so my "traveling" is rare. It seems our home is more the destination, with world "travelers" stopping by here!

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  4. Sounds like fun for you both!!

    Me, mastered the inlaws? Nineteen years in, no, I don't think so. Sadly, we see them too rarely for me to really get to know them.

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  5. I get along with my in-laws BEAUTIFULLY. It was kind of shaky in the beginning, but I have completely mastered the language and we are now tight. :)

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  6. Hey, Wendy! It's good to see you again!

    I'm not married, but my brother got married in May so now we're the "in-laws". This is our first holiday season with a new marriage in the family and it's really opening my eyes to changes (good ones--I love my sister-in-law) and differences in tradition. Such a rich topic for writing!

    Have a great day!

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  7. I'm glad you had a nice break. I did too, but I'm so glad to be back. As far as my inlaws go, well, yes, definitely foreign territory there!

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  8. It sounds like a wonderful trip, all that hubbub for your hubby aside. ;)

    My mother-in-law has already passed on, and there are times I wish she were here. Things are strained with my father-in-law, but there's still love, still family and a reason to be together. Visits are simple, civil, and effective. I'm just thankful for my own parents, who are one of my biggest blessings.

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  9. There really is nothing like sleeping in your own bed after you've been away.

    Sounds like a good idea for a book.

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  10. I'm still learning, but the language or people and relationships is a wonderful one to have. :D

    Welcome back! Missed you. :D

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  11. We just got back from a week with my husband's family so I HEAR YOU on this one :) I love his family and I've been a part of it for 7 1/2 years so I'm getting used to it, but I still feel like a stranger sometimes. They are wonderful though. Glad you had a great holiday! I'm so jealous of your trip to Disney World! FUN!

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  12. Some in-laws inhabit countries in which the language and customs are more familiar. We could say some in-laws are like English cousins, who speak the same language and share some of the same cultural assumptions. Blessed are those with English in-laws. Other in-laws live in "China." They say that if you do not learn to speak Chinese at a young age, you will NEVER become fluent. Some of us will never become fluent in our in-laws' language or customs, but we strive for peaceful co-existence. :-)

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  13. Wendy, I am so glad you're back. And I'm glad you had a great and refreshing time away from blogging.

    It was difficult with my in-laws for many years but now we are very close and understand each other very well. They actually introduced me to "a whole new world" that was a great blessing.

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  14. I have wonderful in-laws and I'm really thankful for them. They're different than my family though. My transition to hubby's family was easy because of how they operate. His to mine... a little rougher, poor guy. :-)

    I'm glad you had a good time!

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  15. It's a dance and balancing act at times. A lot of it has to do with personalities, boundaries and grace. :O)

    Hope to see you over at my new blog home www.dianeestrella.com

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  16. Ha! You're so witty! So glad you had a wonderful time! I find that the travel time with children is really difficult--in a van for two days equals lots of bickering! :-) Hope you had the chance to spend time with your Dad and enjoy being together as a family. Blessings to you, Wendy.

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  17. I thank God I have wonderful in laws, that share a great deal of the same specifics that my family does. Both families even attend the same church.

    I have noticed a greater openness with my husband's side of the family. They don't seem to tip toe as much around issues as we did growing up. I love the freeing feeling of being me with them.

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  18. I think I've mastered the language of my MIL, and I have a great relationship with her. I don't see his father enough for me to know how to deal with him (they're divorced, and there's some drama there).

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  19. I've been married since forever and I'm pretty sure the only way to master this language is to have Jesus as your translator. Serious.

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  20. Wonderful husband Wendy! Anyone that survives the 'foreign country' has indeed conquered the world! :)

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  21. After five and a half years, I *think* I'm getting more used to the social code of the inlaws. It's so crazy how different, yet so similar, our inlaws can be at times.

    Glad you're back, WEndy! I missed reading your blog!

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  22. What a wonderful post, Wendy. I remember the first time I stepped into my in-laws house. Noise. Laughter. Smells of rich, plentiful food. People crammed wall to wall. I was overwhelmed, from a small family of formal, though polite, manners. My husband's family is wonderful, but boisterous. What a difference it was! But they took me in and call me their own. I am SO blessed.

    Have a wonderful Monday evening!

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  23. I love my in-laws... but I"m still learning. And my husband is still learning about mine too. Ya know, sometimes ya just gotta shrug and say, "That's just how they are" and laugh at 'em.

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  24. After 20 years, I've mostly got the in-law culture down. It was, curiously, an easier thing when my gruff father-in-law was still around. I miss him, but am blessed by a mother-in-law who is truly my mom away from home.

    This is very sweet. Thanks Wendy!

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  25. Oh, dear. We've been in each other's families for almost 35 years, and still shake our heads, saying, "Help me understand why..."

    Glad you got a break, Wendy! Welcome home,

    Jen
    Audience of ONE

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  26. Oh. My. Goodness. My word verification on the above post was "humbly." Does this not fit in with your post on trying to understand in-laws? LOL!!!

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  27. After 32 years of marriage-- I still wonder if I understand my in-laws but have managed to live with them and them with me:) Glad you had a safe trip back!

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  28. I love your post. I do think that in laws are different to everyone. When first visiting with in laws it's like being a foreign exchange student where the spouse feels comfortable doing anything and everything (as it's their old home) and you are sort of siting precariously out on a limb wondering if it's OK to get your own water or should you ask.

    I have had to deal with some pretty horrible comments from my in laws only to realize that she was just testing me to see if I was good enough for her son.

    I also had to endure the loss of my sister in law, and now feel like I am sort of my mother other daughter not that I could ever dream of filling my sister in laws shoes but I can accompany her to a shopping trip or what not. I am grateful that I have been able to be their for my mother in law and I think that we bother are helping each other heal which also in turn is building a closer and stronger relationship.
    As far as the other way around I luck out with my husband as he gets along wonderfully with my mother and step father. They are all like great friends.

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  29. Some days I think I have the in law thing down, some days I am not so sure! My prayer is to be a blessing and to grow through the challenges. Okay, so I am a work in progress:)

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  30. What a wonderful place to hang out! LOVE the music! The metaphor of the foreign land juxtaposed with the in-laws' home!

    Wow! As an old dog learnin' new tricks blogger, this was quite a visit. Speaking of visits, my in-laws have never said a bad word to me or about me (to my knowledge). We threw a 60-year anniversary party last Labor Day. How long have I been married? 32 years.

    Yes, it is possible!!!!

    Drop by my new blog when you have time.
    www.pattilacy.com/blog.

    Patti

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