It is impossible for me to count how many times I have heard women complaining about their mothers-in-law. And, almost equal are the cases I’ve heard mother-in-laws expressing dissatisfaction for their daughters-in-law. Not to mention the rumors and stereotypes created by the media about these relationships (60% of daughters-in-law say that their mother-in-law is “a witch”). Unfortunately, I don’t have a mother-in-law as she passed away many years before I married. And all this vortex of discussions made me curious to investigate what scientific research is done for relationships of married couples with their in-laws. I am really curious for their findings about this hot point.
“Adam and Eve were the happiest, and the luckiest, couple in the world, because neither of them had a mother-in-law.”
The first thing I noticed was that the topic of married couple’s relationship with their in-laws is little studied and perhaps this is one of the reasons why these relationships carry so much conflict and stress in everyday life. Anyhow, I’ll bring to your attention some findings of several scientific researches carried out after years 2000. These findings will help us to understand what is the real truth about these relationships. Here are some of the most interesting findings from research
- The quality of relationship after the marriage is affected by the initial recognition period. So, if the in-laws loved the future daughter-in-law since the beginning of their acquaintance, most likely the relationship will be good even after the marriage. The opposite is also true, if the daughter-in-law/son-in-law is not approved from the beginning, the relationship will be cold even after the wedding.
- Mothers-in-law are more important in relationships with married couple, as they interact more with the couple compare to fathers-in-law.
- The relationship of the mother-in-law with the daughter-in-law/son-in-law is not greatly influenced by mother-in-law relationship with her own child. So, that’s why we face situations such as: mother-in-law has terrible relationships with daughter-in-law, but she has excellent relationship with her son and vice versa.
- Studies show that more frequent contacts among mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law/son-in-law (especially without the presence of own child of mother-in-law), negatively affect the quality of the relationship between them
- Daughters-in-law and mother-in-laws tend to have more aggravated relationships, compare to mother-in-law and son-in-law relationships.
- Inclusion of other family members (siblings) generally has a negative impact on the couple’s relationship with their mothers-in-law.
- Vacations are one of the things that ‘frustrates’ the couple’s relationship with their mothers-in-law. As having a vacation without them is being considered as lack of loyalty.
- Another issue that affects relationships is the ongoing debate between girls and their own mothers regarding the rejection of mothers ‘interventions in their own affairs, criticisms, and mothers’ complaints about the exclusion from their daughters’ lives. These debates increase expectations that future daughters-in-law have to face the same issues with their mother-in-law. Consequently, the tension and negativity of the relationship is raised up in the sky.
- Studies show that the relationship between the mother-in-law and the couple is not so conflicting as it is advertised in the media.
- The quality of relationship between son-in-law and his in-laws can affect the durability of the couple’s marriage. So, men who go well with their in-laws tend to have long-term marriage than those who do not go well. From the same study it turns out that although the relationship between the woman and her in-laws tends to be conflicting, this relationship does not affect the quality of couple’s marriage.
- The two main problems facing couples in marriage are communication and conflict.
- Successful career mothers-in-law prefer for their daughters-in-law not to be career women, in order to fully devote their care and support to their husbands and children.
Most of the above findings confirm the general perception of such delicate relationships. The reason why they are such as, is the fact that these relationships are created when the couple is on adult age, and their union requests a ‘forced’ union of the two families of origin. The basis for building relationships is the romantic relationship between the couple, and this is considered less likely than the blood connection that exists between members of a family.
“Marriage is like a table with four legs – the couple, the children, the parents and the in-laws. Neglect any of these and your marriage crashes on the floor.” – Siddharth Katragadda
This is my dear friends, the truth about relationship daughter-in-law/son-in-law with their in-laws. Nothing is as bad as it looks. More tolerance and understanding is needed to make such relationships work. That will remove a great deal of the stress they caused to us. If you find this article interesting to read, please do not forget to like and share it with your friends and followers on social networks.