Dear Ask Alina,
I have been married for two years. Our marriage is solid but we get into arguments here and there. My parents are scheduled to come from our home country and stay with us for six months.
On one hand, I am super happy about finally seeing my parents, but on the other hand I am scared that their stay with us will cause disharmony in my marriage. We live in a small two-bedroom apartment and don’t have much privacy. What are your suggestions to continue to keep a healthy relationship while living with my parents?
Sincerely, Daddy’s Little Girl
Dear Daddy’s Little Girl,
How exciting to finally see your parents! You must be over the moon, it sounds like you have a very special relationship with your dad. And at the same time, what a confusing feeling you must be in, while eager to reunite, feeling anxious of the vulnerability the visit may place on your marital relationship.
The fact that you are proactively thinking about it tells me that you will be all right. I am confident that if you and your husband follow the below steps, you will be ready to fill your homes with many happy memories.
Here is what I suggest you do:
Create a daily routine for when you and your husband have at least 10 minutes alone. Start this practice before your parents arrive and commit to maintaining this alone time every single day when your parents are here. Find a time of the day that works best for both of you, when you can commit 10 minutes to each other. Then, identify a private place in your home where no matter how full the house is, no one is going to disrupt you.
Set clear boundaries.
Establish boundaries with your parents early on, such as designated areas in the house where they can stay, what time you like to have your meals, when it’s OK for all of you to spend time together and when you and your spouse need alone time.
Make sure everyone is sharing responsibilities and contributing to the household chores. You may love your mom’s cooking, but don’t place daily cooking responsibilities on her for the next six months.
Stay in touch with friends.
Maintain your friendships and social activities while your parents are staying with you. Give each other space, and encourage your parents to do activities outside of the house without you.
No matter how much you plan for a parental visit, you can expect bumps in the road, so remember to communicate with kindness and respect. After all, your parents are likely doing their best to help and support you. This is a new experience for them, just as it is for you. There probably will be a need for compromise with your husband as well, so communicate often and consistently.
Have fun creating new memories!
Alina Baugh is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Ask Alina is for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.