I have found over the years of working with couples, in-laws have been a source of frustrations, hurt feelings, and bitter disagreements between partners. Usually, but not always, there are more problems associated with the wife and her husbands family, then the other way around. This is the first study that I have found, that gives an interesting explanation of why this occurs. It also gives guidelines that may help prospective new in-laws avoid these pit falls.
Since we are coming into the holiday season, which provides lots of occassions to celebrate with family, realizing that in-laws should have boundaries, can make these get togethers that much more fun. All in-laws, but especially mother's of husbands, need to sometimes, zip their lip, when it comes to giving advice to their daughter in-law. Remember, they were once a young wife, navigating their way through the insecurity of married life. Support, not advise and criticism is what everyone needs.
Have a happy holiday season,
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By Alice Phillipson
Getting along with the in-laws is never easy but it could be the secret to a long and happy
marriage, according to new research.
Husband's who enjoy a good relationship with their in-laws have a 20 per cent higher chance
of avoiding divorce, an American study has found.
However, the opposite is true for women. Wives who get on well with their in-laws are 20%
more likely to split up.
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, women who enjoy the company of their
in-laws may become too involved with their husbands's fanily, to the point where wives believe the in-laws are meddling.
Men do not share the same worries, which could explain the discrepancy between husbands and wives.
Dr Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor who led the study, said it's a positive aspect of a relationship if men get on well with their in-laws because "these ties connect the husband to the wife".
However, women do not view relationships with in-laws in the same way, she said.
"Because relationships are so important to women, their identity as a wife and mother is central to their being," she said.
"They interpret what their in-laws say and do as interference into their identity as a spouse and parent."
She added that wives should be wary of sharing details of their marriages so that boundaries are kept in place.
The study at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research examined 373 same-race couples over a period of 26 years, beginning in 1986.
All the couples were aged between 25 and 37 and had been married for a year or less when the study began. Dr Orbuch has followed them throughout their years of marriage.