,Where is your loyalty in your relationship? Easy answer, right? You are loyal to your spouse, no doubt. You are loyal to your kids and vice versa, no doubt. Well…
While loyalty seems like the last thing to question in a relationship or family, loyalty binds can be questionable. And this can lead to some of the biggest relationship problems.
In a recent article on Your Tango, loyalty binds and the potential relationship and family problems they can cause are discussed in four different contexts.
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My wife and I had our experience with some of these. I admit, it snuck up on me as I never suspected or even considered it could be an issue in our marriage. But we are not immune to them. I'm betting your relationship and your family are not immune to loyalty binds causing problems either.
Below are some loyalty binds, and advice on how to deal with them.
1. In-Law Issues
I've heard people say when you marry a person, you marry their family too. I disagree. I married my wife, I didn't marry her mother, father, siblings, cousins, or anybody else. Yet, my relationship means some type of relationship with her family will be included.
The Your Tango article discusses the key is to respect your spouse's loyalty to their family. I agree respect is key, and so is trust, honor, communication, and some boundaries.
2. Work and Home Demands
The work-life balance is something everyone deals with. Matters can become worse when an employer demands loyalty from employees to the point choosing family over work can cause problems. If you work at a place where you are expected to be on all the time, and getting the job done at any cost is the most important thing it can be very difficult.
Open communication with your employer and family is the best place to start. Discussing expectations for all sides and making sure they work is next. If the expectations are too much or they don't work, a new career may the best option.
3. Divorce and a Kid's Choice
Divorce when kids are involved can leave the kids in no-man's-land. Thinking they may have to choose a side can be more of a burden they are able to handle. The Your Tango articles gives great advice in letting the kids know they can choose both, and both will love them no matter. Parents have to help out by not speaking of or acting negatively to the other parent as best they can.
4. Grandparents and Parental Advice
Your parents raised you, and you turned out pretty well. So the advice they give you about raising your kids should work the same. So they think. You may disagree. Or maybe you agree, but your spouse doesn't. If this occurs similar to in-law issues respect is the basis for overcoming this. If everyone else has a difference of opinion, respect each opinion, but ultimately you and your spouse must come to some mutual agreement on how to raise your kids.
5. Couple Opinion Differences
Relationships, marriages, and families bring different people together. There will be very few times when everyone has the exact same opinions or interests. Having different opinions doesn't mean you are not loyal. It means you are different people. Handling them in a way that helps the relationship can be done. Doing so with respect, as the YourTango article suggests, using it as an attempt to learn more about your spouse, could lead to new common interests.
6. Blended Families
Does everyone automatically love their spouse's kids from another relationship the same way they love their own? Probably not. But over time that can develop. In a blended family the way you related to your kids and your spouse's kids does not have to be one or the other as discussed in the divorce slide. Establishing trust is the foundation for this. Both parents have to trust each other with their non-biological kids. Just as well, both the kids and parents have to trust one another.
-By Jackie Bledsoe Jr.
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