“I can't get along with my sister-in-law...”
“I have a hard time getting along with my wife's sister, to whom she is very close. Should I be nice to her to prove my love to my wife?”
The psychologist’s answer: Such kinds of questions are difficult to answer. There are many parameters that are missing. You say that you do not get along with your wife's sister (or with a very close friend), without giving the reasons, makes it difficult to understand. Does the situation make you uncomfortable? Are you irritated by her conceptions of life, her “dumb” ideas? Is she single or married and perhaps somewhat jealous of your marital happiness? Is she so attached to her sister (you say “very close”) that she considers you the intruder in the family who robbed her of the one who was very important to her? Keep in mind that you have to put your marriage first. Let’s consider two very different situations: either her attachment to her sister has regrettable impacts on your life as a married couple, or else this very strong bond between two sisters in no way the respect your wife has towards you. In the first situation, you need to have a serious conversation with your wife. It is essential. Without judging, you can confide your fears to your wife. Your personal difficulties in understanding her sister or your (legitimate) desire to be the one your wife put first… may be unjustified. However, the couple has to come first. You have to communicate with your wife and let her explain to her sister that she still loves her, but her husband comes first. If, on the other hand, it is only a minor disagreement between you and your sister-in-law, if a particular aspect of your wife’s sister is irritating you, check yourself and your emotions. Ask yourself why that aspect of your sister-in-law’s behavior is making you angry. Is there in you a trigger? Does your sister in-law has something you envy? Be honest with yourself and dare to ask those tough questions. You’re your get your answers, try to discover at least one thing you can appreciate from your sister-in-law. We are all human being. If you can find something good that you can appreciate from your sister in law and focus on that, you will soon forget what is irritating you and improve your relationships with her. When you learn to open your heart with a total sincerity, your sister-in-law will be open to do the same. And both of you can see the greatness beneath each one. Learn to appreciate her despite your differences. By learning to get along with your sister-in-law, you are offering a great gift to your wife also, leading to a better marriage. Think about it.