If you're married then you will totally understand what I'm talking about and you've probably already learnt your lessons. And all of you who aren't, please take notes carefully! Getting along with your in-laws might be tricky, but it's not impossible. You could actually form a great bond with your mother and father-in-law provided you know how to deal with the not-so-normal situations. You should be well aware of all the topics that you can discuss with them and all the conversations that you should steer clear of. You can find out their likes and dislikes from your partner and base your conversations around that. But, there are some topics that are absolutely off-limits when talking to your in-laws. Any such discussion will only have a catastrophic impact on your relationship with them. Here's a list:
No matter how cool your in-laws are, (even Anupam Kher of DDLJ level cool) you never ever discuss your bedroom secrets with them. Even if they ask. Nobody wants to know how their son is performing in bed, whether or not you're 'satisfied' in your marriage or what all efforts you are doing to make a baby. Keep the details to yourself.
They are a different generation altogether, so give them the benefit of doubt. If your MIL or FIL get you a gift, accept it graciously even if you don't like it. If the gifts are not at all of your taste, you can always forward them to someone else! Or get it exchanged. If it's something that's totally unacceptable, voice your concern to your husband and maybe he can talk to them about it. Do not ever get nasty and complain about your in laws gifts on their face.
Again, there is a generation gap which is difficult to fill, and you need to understand that. They might have opinions and views about various topics that might infuriate or offend you. Until and unless it is something absolutely unavoidable, do not get into an argument with them. Do let them know your point of view if you feel strongly about the topic but a full-blown discussion or debate is best avoided.
This becomes even more important in inter-religion marriages. Your religious beliefs and views might be very different from each other, but that doesn't mean you have to be at loggerheads with each other. Avoid any conversation about it if you think your views might clash.
Most people experience a clash with their in-laws after they have kids, especially if they are living with them. Things like 'I would never do that if I were you' and 'humne bhi bache paale hain' can often be heard in the household. Your definition of values and sanskaars might be very different from your in-laws'. But don't let it be a reason for constant fights and arguments in the family. If you know beforehand that your husband's family is over the top sanskaari, just have that conversation with him and draw your lines on what's acceptable or not acceptable to you.
You are good and so is your mom-in-law. Whatever happens, do not compare your MIL's cooking to anybody, good or bad. Chances are even your own mother wouldn't like it if you did that. So, give her the benefit of doubt and let her believe that she is a better cook. After all, how much does it cost you to appreciate that dal makhani, nothing right?
I still don't know about what to say, but now I definitely know what NOT to say to my in-laws ever!