I have often wondered recently why I have no in-law problems. No, I'm not complaining, thanks for asking. But most married people, especially women, seem to have them. I had put my lack of them to me being phenomenally lucky to have wonderful in-laws.
That part still holds true, but I realised I wasn't giving another factor enough credit. The Guy. (Okay, for those of you who feel this blog is beginning to read like a Guy journal, stop reading this post now.)
This morning, I was cooking up a quick lunch while the Guy spoke to his mother in a language that I guess I've begun to understand (or probably I only understand it when the Guy speaks it). And from what I heard of that one side of the conversation, I could see that she was suggesting we move into our new flat on an 'auspicious' day. And I heard with some amusement as the Guy brushed her suggestion off.
And I suddenly wondered, what if he had been the kind of guy who would take such a suggestion seriously - either because he believed in it himself, or just to 'please his mother'? I would have been hurt, angry - and if I had given in, I'd feel frustrated. And probably blame the mother, not the son.
I remember when things weren't this great, when we had just been together for some time and had started to get to know each other's families. There was apprehension and eagerness to please on both sides. There were cultural differences - they even speak a different language. And I was insecure and scared of the influence his family had on him.
In a way, the cultural differences probably helped - any unfamiliar behaviour on my part was probably put down to a culture they had little knowledge of, where a bride of the same community might have been criticised more strictly. Any wounds were minor, and caused totally by accident. They treated me with kindness and respect, taking pleasure in the fact that I made the Guy happy.
The Guy and I grew even more happy and comfortable together. We soon learned that any decision in our lives were ours to make, that friends and relatives might offer their opinions - politely - but we would do what pleased us. Most of the times, we want the same things. And because disagreements are rare, compromises are easier.