Unfortunately, when couples decide to file for divorce, in-laws are often a factor. As the old adage states, “When you get married, you’re marrying families.” But a study reported last year put some actual numbers to this. Oddly enough, if a husband reports being close to his in-laws he’s 20 percent less likely to divorce his spouse, while the inverse of this is true for wives. (They’re 20 percent more likely.)
As a result, it could be a good idea to manage in-law relations between your wife and your parents if you want to avoid the divorce papers. Here are some tips for making that happen.
1. Manage Time Spent.
We aren’t saying you have to go through life constantly making sure they never cross paths, but we do think it would be a good idea to ensure that your wife never sees your parents as much or more than you do. If you live far away from your parents, this is a non-issue. However, if you’re within an hour of each other, it can be more challenging.
2. Don’t Use Your Wife As A Buffer Between Mom And Dad.
If your parents drive you crazy, welcome to the club. However, try to remember that your wife isn’t your buffer keeping you from having to deal with them. She doesn’t have the experience handling your Mom and Dad’s questions and dispositions. To avoid miscommunication and combative interpretation, man-up and answer Mom and Dad’s calls. Meet them for coffee. Arrange plans for special occasions like holidays and birthdays. Don’t put your wife in that position.
3. Realize That A Simple Question To You May Be Layered With Subtext To Her.
If your mother-in-law says, “I love that shirt; is it new?,” you probably think it’s just an honest question with no underlying meaning. But when your mother says these same words to your wife, it’s often interpreted as a criticism of how she manages money.
(And truth be told, your wife’s interpretation is probably correct.)
Again, your wife doesn’t have the experience of handling your mother and father. Meanwhile, you’re so used to them that you probably don’t notice little digs. The more these situations play out, the greater the strain between your wife and your parents. And when those family relations reach a boiling point, it can lead to divorce forms.
It’s possible for your wife and your parents to have a good relationship. However, there’s a difference between “good” and “close.” By sticking with the tips above, you can reap the benefits of the former without experiencing the fallout of the latter.