5 Ways Living With in-laws Destroying Marriage And What To Do

Many couples have pondered over the question ‘’Does living with in-laws affect your marriage?’’ Frequently, marital conflicts arise from strained relationships with in-laws, leading to difficulties.

According to a study conducted by the law firm Slater and Gordon, nearly one-third of the participants acknowledged that problems with in-laws and extended family members are frequently mentioned as a contributing factor in divorce cases.

How Do In-laws Affect A Marriage?

According to a study, many Americans attach great importance to their relationships with their in-laws, considering it a vital aspect of their married life. It is undeniable that living with in-laws has the potential to disrupt marriages.

The influence of in-laws on a marriage can be substantial, with both positive and negative implications. Having strong and supportive relationships with in-laws can offer valuable emotional and practical assistance.

What Does It Mean?

Conversely, conflicts arising from interference in decision-making or criticism of one’s spouse by in-laws can lead to stress and strain within the marriage.

To safeguard the marital bond, it is crucial for couples to establish clear boundaries with their in-laws and engage in open communication regarding any issues that may arise. By doing so, they can proactively prevent these issues from exerting a negative impact on their marriage.

Living With in-laws Destroying Marriage

While the percentage may not be excessively high, it is indeed concerning that marriage sometimes end due to strained relationships with external individuals. Marriage should ideally not be severed due to conflicts originating from sources beyond the immediate couple.

The relationship between a couple and their in-laws can significantly impact their marriage. Here are five ways in which in-laws can influence a marriage:

1. Emotional Support

Emotional support from in-laws can have a profound impact on a marriage, fostering a sense of connection and enhancing the overall well-being of the couple. Here’s an exploration of how emotional support from in-laws influences marriage and what couples can do to nurture and maintain this support:

I. Strengthening the marital bond

Supportive in-laws can provide a comforting presence during challenging times, allowing the couple to feel understood and validated. This emotional backing helps strengthen the marital bond and creates a sense of unity between the couple and their extended family.

II. Relieving stress and burden

In-laws who offer emotional support can help alleviate stress and burdens that the couple may face in their daily lives. By sharing wisdom, providing a listening ear, or offering a helping hand, in-laws can reduce the emotional load on the couple, promoting a healthier and more harmonious marriage.

III. Promoting a sense of belonging

When in-laws provide emotional support, it creates a feeling of acceptance and belonging within the family. This sense of inclusion can foster a positive environment where the couple feels embraced and valued, strengthening their commitment to each other and their shared future.

What To Do?

To nurture and maintain emotional support from in-laws, couples can take the following steps:

I. Open communication

Couples should communicate openly with their in-laws, expressing their needs, concerns, and gratitude. Honest conversations can help build understanding and foster a supportive dynamic within the family.

II. Setting boundaries

It’s essential for couples to establish boundaries with their in-laws regarding personal space, decision-making, and involvement in their lives. Clear boundaries ensure that the emotional support received remains respectful and doesn’t encroach on the couple’s autonomy.

III. Appreciation and reciprocation

Expressing appreciation for the emotional support provided by in-laws strengthens the bond between the couple and their extended family. Couples can reciprocate by offering support, and assistance, and showing interest in their in-laws’ lives, thus nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship.

By prioritizing open communication, setting boundaries, showing appreciation, and seeking professional guidance when necessary, couples can cultivate and sustain a supportive and positive emotional connection with their in-laws, contributing to a thriving and fulfilling marriage.

2. Conflict

Conflict with in-laws can significantly influence a marriage, potentially causing strain and tension between the couple. Here’s an exploration of how conflicts arising from in-laws can impact marriage and some steps couples can take to address and manage these conflicts:

I. Emotional distress and strain

Conflict with in-laws can lead to emotional distress for the couple. Constant disagreements or criticism from in-laws can create tension and negatively impact the couple’s emotional well-being, potentially eroding the foundation of the marriage.

II. Interference in decision-making

In-laws may attempt to exert influence or control over important decisions made by the couple, such as career choices, financial matters, or parenting decisions. This interference can undermine the couple’s autonomy and create conflicts within the marriage.

III. Loyalty conflicts

When conflicts arise between the couple and their respective in-laws, it can create loyalty conflicts. The couple may feel torn between supporting their spouse and maintaining a positive relationship with their own family, causing internal turmoil and strain on the marriage.

What To Do?

To address and manage conflicts with in-laws, couples can consider the following steps:

  1. Open and respectful communication: It’s essential for couples to openly communicate with each other about their feelings and concerns regarding conflicts with in-laws. They should strive to maintain a respectful and non-confrontational approach when discussing issues, focusing on understanding each other’s perspectives.
  2. Establishing boundaries: Couples need to establish clear boundaries with their in-laws, clearly defining what is acceptable and respectful behavior. Communicating these boundaries to the in-laws and consistently enforcing them can help prevent further conflicts and maintain a healthier dynamic.

Remember, maintaining a healthy relationship with in-laws is a shared responsibility between the couple. By fostering open communication, setting boundaries, seeking compromise, and seeking professional help when necessary, couples can effectively address and manage conflicts with in-laws, preserving the harmony and strength of their marriage.

3. Decision Making

The influence of in-laws on decision-making can have a significant impact on a marriage. Here’s an exploration of how decisions made by in-laws can influence marriage and some steps couples can take to navigate this influence:

I. Intrusion and conflict

In-laws may assert their opinions or attempt to exert control over major decisions within the marriage, such as career choices, financial matters, or parenting approaches. This intrusion can lead to conflicts between the couple and their in-laws, causing stress and tension within the marriage.

II. Strained marital harmony

When in-laws make decisions on behalf of the couple without their input or consent, it can undermine the sense of partnership and compromise within the marriage. This strain on marital harmony can weaken the bond between spouses and create a sense of resentment.

III. Autonomy and independence

Couples may feel their autonomy and independence compromised when decisions are made by their in-laws. It’s important for couples to assert their independence and maintain control over their own lives, including the decisions that directly affect their marriage.

What To Do?

To navigate the influence of in-laws on decision-making, couples can consider the following steps:

  1. Establish clear boundaries: Couples should communicate and establish clear boundaries with their in-laws regarding decision-making. Clearly express that certain decisions are to be made solely by the couple, emphasizing their autonomy and right to make choices that align with their values and goals.
  2. Open and honest communication: Couples should have open and honest conversations with their in-laws, expressing their viewpoints and preferences regarding decisions that affect their marriage. It’s crucial to maintain a respectful tone and strive for understanding, aiming to find common ground where possible,

Remember, the decision-making process within a marriage should primarily involve the couple themselves.

4. Interference

Living with in-laws can indeed impact a marriage due to the potential for constant interference in the couple’s life. In-laws may make unsolicited attempts to intervene in the couple’s relationship, whether through unwelcome advice or trying to exert control over their decisions.

To address this issue, it is crucial for couples to proactively establish clear boundaries and assert their independence. By doing so, they can preserve the autonomy and harmony of their marriage.

What To Do?

Maintaining an honest approach when navigating in-law relationships in marriage is essential. It’s not uncommon for conflicts to arise, but how those conflicts are addressed makes a significant difference.

Open communication serves as a foundation for establishing healthy boundaries with in-laws. Being honest about one’s needs and expectations while also being receptive to their concerns creates a conducive environment for understanding and compromise.

By fostering open and honest dialogue, couples can navigate potential conflicts with their in-laws more effectively, leading to healthier and more harmonious relationships.

5. Grandparenting

When couples have children, navigating the dynamics between in-laws, marriage, and parenting can present significant challenges.

In-laws often have their own set of expectations regarding their role as grandparents, which may differ from the couple’s perspective. To address this, open and honest communication becomes crucial.

What To Do?

Couples should engage in meaningful discussions to openly express their expectations and desires, while also listening to the perspectives of their in-laws. By establishing clear boundaries and reaching a mutual understanding, couples can mitigate potential conflicts and foster harmonious relationships between their children, themselves, and their in-laws.

Effective communication and boundary-setting contribute to a healthier and more balanced family dynamic.


Nurturing a positive relationship with your in-laws can pose challenges, yet it holds the potential to greatly enhance the happiness and stability of your marriage.

While it’s not obligatory to develop an exceptionally close bond with them, investing effort in effective communication, expressing gratitude, and establishing healthy boundaries can yield significant rewards in fostering a supportive and harmonious relationship.


Do people divorce due to in-laws?

Although in-laws can sometimes create tension and conflicts within a marriage, it is uncommon for couples to divorce solely due to issues with their in-laws. Typically, there are underlying factors and dynamics at play that contribute to the breakdown of a marriage.

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