We’ve all heard the stories – the mother-in-law from hell. Maybe you even have one of your own. She interferes, is critical of everything you do, ignores rules you have for your children, the list can go on and on and on. Remember the old television show “Betwitched”? Poor Darren had to deal with his mother-in-law Endora who did everything she could to break up her daughter Samantha and Darren. Yet, remember how happy Samantha and Darren were, what a good marriage they seemed to have?
Well, according to a new study, that’s not just on television. The study’s results suggest that women who get along with their mother-in-laws may actually increase the risk of separating by 20 percent. The study was completed at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and headed by Dr Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship. Dr. Orbuch studied 373 same-race couples over 26 years and her conclusions will be published in 2013 in the journal, Family Relations.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. Orbuch offered what she thinks is the explanation for the conclusion. “When a wife gets close to her in-laws, this takes time away from bonding with her husband and family, especially early in marriage”, she says, and “when a wife gets close to her in-laws, she has a difficult time not taking what her in-laws say as personal or interference. In contrast, marriages in which husbands have a close relationship with in-laws are 20 per cent less likely to end in divorce. These family ties connect him to his wife."
The holiday season can exasperate an already tense relationship. It’s important to not have unrealistic expectations of the situation being any different than last year. And some family therapist suggest that the biggest motivator behind a mother-in-law who is being perceived as critical and interfering, is really just her fear of not being an important part of the family.
There are many factors that can cause the breakdown of a marriage. If you are considering separation or divorce, you should