Your son or daughter is engaged. Congrats! You’re excited, thrilled even, but a little unsure about how to proceed. Perhaps this is your first foray into in-law territory, or maybe you’re unsure about your role because your son or daughter identifies as LGBT. You want your future son- or daughter-in-law to feel welcome in your home and comfortable around your family. But how?
Don’t sweat it. If you’re racking your brain for ways to make someone feel at home, your heart’s already in the right place. Here are a few other ways to welcome a new partner, son- or daughter-in-law to the family.
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Whether it’s a favorite recipe or the unwritten rule for who does the dishes, take time to share your traditions with your son- or daughter-in law. Letting them in on these “family secrets” can go a long way to making them feel at home. Growing up, my mother’s rum cake was a holiday staple. Last year, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my partner’s family, and the day before, I received a package in the mail from my mom—a freshly baked and carefully packaged rum cake, ready for us to share with our hosts. With butter and sugar, my mom made it clear that even across the miles, we’re one big family, embracing and building on one another’s stories, history and heritage.
Go ahead—tell your hairdresser or the dry cleaner about your son or daughter’s upcoming nuptials. If the couple is comfortable, share photos from the big day with friends. While acceptance for same-sex relationships is growing, positive words from family and advocates in the community can go a long way. Let the happy couple know you’re on their side, proud of their relationship and commitment to one another.
Weddings and commitment ceremonies are celebrations of dedication, love and the joining of families. This is surely one of the biggest events in your child’s life and should be met with the same enthusiasm, and admiration, as any family wedding you’ll attend. Toast the couple and wish them every happiness. After the big day, continue to share in their joy, support them, and offer words of encouragement. Marriage isn’t always easy, and they will appreciate having family in their corner.
But perhaps the best advice to anyone welcoming a son- or daughter-in-law to the family is to see what your child sees in this partner. They’ve fallen in love with someone who’s changed their world for the better. And now, that wonderful person is a part of your family. Lucky you!
To our LGBT friends and all who love and support them, we welcome you to Hallmark’s online resource page. As it has done for more than 100 years, Hallmark is here to help express love, encouragement, joy and acceptance. We hope to provide you with the tools, advice and information you need to nurture and affirm all your unique and treasured relationships.