How son-in-laws can protect their marriages

The holiday season is when extended families come together and spend the most time together. While this may be a special time for some, Thanksgiving and Christmas can't be over quickly enough for others. This notion traditionally rested with men who could not stand being around their wives' families.

In fact, conventional wisdom was that if a man just made the effort to be nice to his in-laws, his marriage would be better. Traditionally dismissed as just an old wives' tale, this belief is now supported by scientific evidence. The reports that a recent study found that when husbands reported having close relationships with their wives' parents, the couple'srisk of divorce dropped by nearly 20 percent.

Interestingly enough, wives who reported having close relationships with their husbands' families reported an increase in the risk of divorce.

The study, was a 26 year project conducted by University of Michigan professor Terri Orbuch. She observed 373 couples who had just been married and followed them over time. She explained that her findings were attributable to the different ways husbands and wives deal with their relationships with extended family.

When a husband establishes healthy relationships with his wife's family, it shows that he will go out of his way to care for her, and it shows how much he loves her. Women also value strong relationships with their in-laws, but they also are more likely to interpret helpful advice as parents being meddlesome.

While the study is an interesting look into family dynamics, marriages are more likely to work when in-laws get along.

Source:, In-laws and marriage study, son-in-law key to lasting marriage, November 27, 2012

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