Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

How do in-laws shape divorce rates?

As our Utah readers know, getting along with your in-laws might now always be the easiest thing. However, with the holidays upon us, and a recent study that was released, it seems that it is imperative that everyone get along. A recently-released 26-year long study has found that the relationships each spouse has with their in-laws can play a significant part in the couple's risk of divorce.

According to findings, a couple's risk of divorce is decreased by 20 percent when the husband has a close relationship with his wife's parents. On the other hand, a couple's divorce rate actually may increase by 20 percent if the wife reported having a close relationship with her husband's parents.

One researcher believes that these findings are due to the different ways husbands and wives "approach their relationships with their in-laws." Wives see their husbands getting along with her parents as, "he must really care about me if he is willing to make a relationship with my parents."

The research suggests that daughter-in-laws may interpret some actions of their husband's parents as "meddling." It was noted that women feel that their identity as a wife and mother is a strong part of being a woman. When a woman's in-laws make suggestions about her household or children or lifestyle, women could start to take that the wrong way. All parties involved should remember to treat their in-laws as important people in their lives and try to get along in a way that also has boundaries.

Source:, "In-Laws And Marriage Study: Son-In-Law Key To Lasting Marriage," Nov. 27, 2012.

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