In-Laws Can Lower Your Chance of Divorce

So long as they're chummy with the hubby
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2012 3:33 PM CST

(Newser) – If you assumed the only effect in-laws could have on your marriage would be to put it on a path toward divorce, well, you'd be half right. In 1986, a researcher asked 373 newly married couples to rate how close they were to their in-laws. The good news: Husbands who had good relationships with the in-laws had a 20% lower chance of getting divorced over time. The bad: Wives who initially reported being tight with their in-laws had a 20% greater chance of ending up divorced, reports the Wall Street Journal. Terri Orbuch posits that in the former case, "these ties connect the husband to the wife."

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But in the case of the initially chummy wife-and-in-laws, the closeness can translate into a lack of boundaries, which over time can make a tight-knit relationship feel like a meddlesome one. The woman may ultimately "interpret what their in-laws say and do as interference into their identity as a spouse and parent," says Orbuch, who notes that men don't take their in-laws' actions so personally. Her advice: The parents of a son should refrain from dishing out the advice, even if they feel close enough to do so; wives should learn how to say "thanks, but no thanks." On the flip side, the parents of a daughter should make an effort to be welcoming, while husbands should be aware that caring for them is interpreted, by your wife, as caring for her. (Read more marriage stories.)

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