In-Law Relationships

by Phillip J. Swihart What do I owe my in-laws? That’s an interesting question. Another way to phrase it might be, “As a son-in-law or daughter-in-law, what’s required of me? What are my obligations, whether I feel like it or not, in relating to my spouse’s parents?” Put this way,… Read More

Myths and Realities of Extended Families

Your relationship with your in-laws will probably change once you get married. by Ashley Michael Myth: After marriage, my relationship with his parents will be the same as when we were dating. Reality: In a family’s eyes, being his girlfriend or fiancée is totally different from being his wife. Walking… Read More

Getting Along With Your In-Laws

Getting along with your in-laws may not be easy, but these practical tips will help you make the best of it. by David Arp, Claudia Arp, John Bell, Margaret Bell In-law relationships need a touch of civility. Consider the story of Stephanie, who complained, “My mother-in-law never approves of the… Read More

What if an In-Law Doesn't Accept Me?

These steps will help you deal with those sticky in-law situations. by Romie Hurley Heather and Steve have been married almost four years. They love each other very much, but relationships with their in-laws have always been strained. Heather feels Steve’s mother is overly critical of how Heather parents the… Read More

What If an In-Law Tries to Run Our Lives?

Relating to a controlling in-law is one of the trickiest problems a marriage can face. by Rob Jackson Since we no longer have a traditional rite of passage in which a young person officially enters adulthood, marriage often ends up serving that role by default. Sometimes, though, even marriage doesn’t… Read More

Cutting Your Spouse's Apron Strings

Is your spouse too dependant on his or her parents? Are your in-laws too involved in your marital life? If so, here’s help. by Sandra Lundberg “Julie, you’ll never believe it!” exclaimed Susan. “Tom wants his parents to come live with us!” “Whoa, Susan,” Julie replied. “Slow down. Tell me… Read More

Holidays and the In-Laws

There are no specific right and wrong ways for families to spend the holidays together, but there could be better ways. by Wilford Wooten How have you dealt with special days like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Easter, Memorial Day, and birthdays? Most of us might think only in terms… Read More

Advice for an In-Law

Healthy in-law relationships contribute to the success of marriage. by Focus on the Family “Parents and their married children can resolve differing points of view in a mature and gracious manner,” says Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary. Parents will find the following guidelines helpful in avoiding such conflicts,… Read More

Dr. Bill Maier on In-Laws

Dr. Bill Maier addresses the issue of in-law relationships. Answered byDr. Bill Maier How Do We Establish Boundaries With a Controlling Relative? Dear Dr. Bill: I am 34 years old and have three children. My mother has always interfered in my life. I don’t enjoy her visits and I often… Read More

Next Steps and Related Information

Additional resources addressing challenges in marriage Popular questions on this topic: What are my obligations to my in-laws? We’re newlyweds, and my in-laws visit unexpectedly. How do we ask for privacy without offending them? My mother-in-law is extremely controlling and is critical of my parenting. What can I do? What… Read More