Meeting the In Laws for the first time is always nerve racking, you don’t know if they will like you or if you will like them. You don’t know if they will tell their son or daughter that you are not good enough for them or that they should leave you. You hope that you will like each other and be accepted as part of the family.
When going to meet your Turkish In Laws for the first time you may also have the worry of not speaking the same language and and how you will manage with the culture differences. They may also not be happy their son or daughter is dating a Yabanci! (foreigner)
I had known my now Husband for a year before we started dating, within 3 days of dating, he had me on a bus from Bodrum to Dikili to go and meet his Family. I was so nervous, I had no idea what to expect, if they would like me or if they would accept me. I had dashed round the shops the day before to buy more appropriate clothing, as I didn’t think my summer holiday clothes would impress!
Sat on the bus for 6 hours I turned into a complete bag of nerves, worried that they wouldn’t like me, what they would be like, what their home would be like, about how they would expect me to act and so on.
My husband of course thought it all completely silly and did his best to make me relax. We arrived late in the afternoon. It had been a long hot journey and I was worried about how I looked and really wanted to have a wash and tidy up before we got to his home, but there was no chance of that.
We got to the apartment and his Mum was waiting at the door and greeted me like a daughter hugging me and kissing me. Then the shock happened, his whole family were waiting there. I am from a small family, so being confronted by such a large group I nearly made a run for the door!
Everyone was warm and friendly and we spent most of the time taking pictures together almost as way of communicating with each other. My now Mother in Law did what she does best and fed me, she still does. Its now a joke with us, that she is always feeding me and saying, ye, ye (eat,eat!)
Having survived the day, the evening brought more family and the men all sat in the living room and the women out on the balcony. I was left on my own with the women and no way to communicate, it was a long evening. Tea was constantly served and there we stayed till the early hours in the morning. I was so tired by the time I got to bed and my face hurt with all the smiling I was doing to get past the lack of Turkish/Kurdish.
But I survived and I must have made a good impression because they still treat me the same, but now its me who makes and serves the tea and I don’t feel I have to sit in one place for a whole evening. Because now they are my family and it is also my home.
How to Survive meeting Your Turkish In Laws:
Going to meet your Turkish In Laws will be scary, but just be yourself, don’t try to impress them by being someone you are not, because most likely they will see through you and end up not liking you. You partner loves you and let his family see why.
If you don’t have a lot of Turkish, take a dictionary and even speak in your own language to them and let your partner translate for you. Show that you want to talk to them and get to know them don’t sit in silence and look unhappy.
Remember this is new to them to most likely, if they don’t live in a tourist area chances are you are the first foreigner they have met or had in their home, so they will be nervous and interested to and not sure how to act either.
Do not be surprised if the neighbours come round to see the Yabanci as well, a few of my Mother in laws friends did, but since then they visit every time we go home and have given us wedding presents and presents for our little boy.
Smile, no matter where you are in the world or who you are with a Smile speaks a thousand words and people will smile with you.
What if they don’t like you? It is possible your new In laws won’t like you, it may be they don’t want their child to marry a yabanci and they want them to marry someone from Turkey. That is your partners fight to have, if your partner loves you and wants the relationship, let them handle the problem, don’t get in between your partner and their family.
If your Mother in Law is over protective of her child, there isn’t much you can do, just don’t let her get to you, smile, be warm, friendly and helpful. In time you may win her over, if not then don’t give her any excuse or anything she can say against you. If you fight with her it will just upset your partner. Explain to your partner your feelings and again let your partner deal with it. But never give her room to find fault with you. And in time hopefully she will come to like you.
I took along some presents to give as you would if you are a good house guest. I think this also helps to break the ice and a nice gesture.
With the culture differences don’t worry about them, be polite and respect their ways, remember you are in their home! and if you don’t understand why something is being done then ask and explain it is different from your culture.
Meeting the In Laws is really no different than meeting the In Laws back home. They all want their child to be happy and they want you to like them as well. Be yourself and smile and I am sure they will love you.
Please tell me your stories about meeting your In Laws for the first time. If you have a question about meeting your partners family for the first please do ask.
© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.