Problems with the In-Laws 

A common complaint in many marriages surrounds issues with in-laws. The role that your parents and your partner’s parents play in your life can have a big impact on your marriage. Successfully being able to separate from your parents when you are married is very important.

If you or your spouse relies heavily on your parents or in-laws it can become problematic within the marriage. If your spouse tends to seek advice from their parents about things such as parenting, buying a home, or changing jobs, the issue then becomes more of a family issue rather than a couples’ issue. This can cause lots of problems for the other partner.

Parents and in-laws often are well-meaning but can become overly involved in day to day activities. Seeking advice, complaining about your spouse after an argument, or using them as your confidant can fuel this issue. This can also leave your spouse left feeling frustrated and isolated.

Make sure to discuss your parents and your in-laws role with your spouse. Talk about concerns and discuss the need to ensure that “family decisions” are made between the two of you without requiring parental consent. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your joys and sorrows with your extended family but boundaries and limits need to be set.

No man wants to hear how his wife’s father is a better carpenter any more than any woman wants to hear her husband’s mother is a better cook. Make sure you don’t set up any competition to fuel the fire when it comes to dealing with your parents. Also ensure that you don’t rely too heavily on your parents for financial or emotional support. Part of a happy marriage is dependent upon relying on your spouse and working together as a team to meet your goals.

When couples disagree about how to settle these matters it can lead to increased conflict and isolation. If your in-laws and extended family are a source of conflict in your marriage, you may want to consider therapy to help sort it out. Your in-laws are probably not going anyway, so deciding what role they should play in your lives is an important part to the marriage.

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