Posts Tagged ‘ in-laws ’

Now we are in-laws


My sister got married at the weekend.  However, other than saying that yes, she looked stunning, yes, it was a fantastic occasion and no, it didn’t rain, I’m not writing this post about the even itself.  It is about a new facet of my identity which perplexes me somewhat.

What is the role of the brother-in-law?

The role of the mother-in-law is very well defined, and the father-in-law almost as much.  But what about the sibling of the newly married man or woman?  We get to add -in-law to our list of titles, which is a privilege denied to uncles, aunts, cousins and so on, but why bother?  If the two of them ever decide to start a family (which is, sadly, fairly unlikely, but I will not apply pressure), then uncledom would be the state entered into, and the role of the uncle is quite clear.  The role of the uncle is to lead the little darlings slightly astray by being crazier than the parents, and also to introduce the wee ones to activities they might otherwise miss as their parents have no particular fondness for a particular sport, craft, genre of film or national cuisine.

But what of the brother-in-law?  I suppose if a sister’s husband started being unpleasant to her, a brother-in-law might step in and say ‘oi!’  But as my sister is more capable of looking out for herself than I am of looking out for her, this doesn’t apply in our case.  And her husband is a very nice, gentle man (as well as a gentleman, I suppose) and I’d be shocked if the issue ever arose.  The only other thing I can think of is that the brother- or sister-in-law is the in-law who you don’t have to put on any airs for, who you don’t have to try to impress.  The in-law who you feel comfortable with and who won’t over-criticise the standard of your cleaning, cooking or DIY.  The good cop to the mother-in-law bad cop.  Hopefully, given time, the friend.

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