Saudi Arabia: Building a Relationship With In-Laws

I always enjoy responding to specific queries from readers.  Most recently I was asked how does a foreign wife build a relationship with Saudi in-laws.

The answer is simple yet also complex.  It is simple in that I believe a woman should be herself.  After all, her Saudi husband fell in love with her for who she is.  Yet it can be complex depending on the outlook of the Saudi family.

If a Saudi family expected their son to marry a Saudi woman of their choosing, then a foreign wife may not be immediately or warmly welcomed.  It’s not through her fault that she may feel isolated and only time will allow the family to work through feelings of disappointment before they may be able to reach out and accept the foreign wife.

While the foreign wife should not attempt to make herself over into a Saudi woman, she should take an interest in the lives of her mother-in-law and sister-in-laws.  What mother-in-law can resist a new wife who only wants to make her son happy?

The foreign wife should be patient but not reticent.  Do not be shy or afraid to initiate conversation with her new female relatives.  Find out if they like to read or cook or have special hobbies.  Look for the commonalities that are shared between you.

Be willing to go shopping with them or visiting other relatives with them.  You may not be able to understand everything said if you do not speak Arabic but smile and demonstrate your happiness for being out with them.

Don’t hesitate to ask your mother-in-law or sister-in-laws for advice.  It flatters them and pleases them if the foreign wife wants advice on cooking, engaging and training a housemaid or best places to go shopping.

If you prepare a dish that your in-laws like but do not know how to make, surprise them occasionally by having the dish delivered to them for dinner.  Many times my Saudi sister-in-laws would send dinner to my husband and I which we appreciated and enjoyed immensely.  They were equally pleased when I’d send dinner or a special dessert to them!

Most importantly, be willing to listen when the in-laws speak.  Answer their questions forthrightly and with respect.  Let them see the love you have for their son or brother.  Last but not least, be patient.  Some relationships may take longer than others to form but the old adage is true that time overcomes challenges.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: