The holidays are coming quickly, and you know what that means - lots and lots of time with family and in-laws.
While some people dread this time of year for that specific reason, a 26-year-long study shows that you should actually try your best to build positive relationships with your in-laws. More specifically, the study highlights one relationship in particular - the one between your husband and your parents.
The shocking study
Terri Orbuch from the University of Michigan conducted this lengthy study, taking data from 373 newly married couples. Then over the years, she followed up periodically. She found that men who were close with their in-laws were 20 percent less likely to divorce, but women who were close with their husbands' parents were 20 percent more likely to divorce.
That seems like a bizarre gap, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Women tend to take things more personally, and as Orbuch said in the Huffington Post article, "Women value a close relationship with their in-laws but may ultimately view them as meddling ... Because relationships are so important to women, their identity as a wife and mother is central to their being. They interpret what their in-laws say and do as interference into their identity as a spouse and parent."
Because comments and actions are taken so personally, it might be best to have a healthy and cordial relationship with your in-laws, rather than a tight-knit one.
However, she goes onto explain why it's so good for men to have a close relationship with his wife's parents. According to a Wall Street Journal columnist Elizabeth Bernstein, women feel loved and cared for in return when their husbands make an effort with their parents. His love for people she cares about strengthens the relationship between a husband and wife, lowering the risk of divorce.
It's important for everyone to respect, get along with and enjoy being around the in-laws, but Orbuch advises women to set boundaries with their husband's parents. She also suggests that husbands can be a help in making sure his parent's don't meddle too much in the relationship.
On the other hand, she advises husbands to build strong connections with their in-laws, take care of them and make that relationship a priority.
Again, just because you're the wife in the relationship it doesn't mean you can totally disregard your in-laws. It's important that you have a relationship with them and care about them - just set boundaries.
Now you finally have research to encourage your husband to start praising your mother's meatloaf (for the sake of your marriage).
Lindsey loves traveling and shopping, and her favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland. She also loves spending time with her family and cute husband. She is studying Professional and Technical Writing and is part of the content team for FamilyShare.