In-Law Issues

Farmhouse and property from a distance

I am very blessed to have some amazing in-laws. How thankful I am to them for raising my husband to know and love God and for the solid upbringing they gave him. How thankful I am for how much they love Greg, me, and our children. Sadly, I didn’t always treat them with the respect I should have. 🙁 I had a lot of repenting to do to them and to other extended family members when God opened my eyes to all my sin 6 years ago.

How can you have a healthy relationship with your in-laws? Here are some general ideas to avoid and some to prayerfully consider. Other wives and husbands who have been on this journey for awhile and have some godly wisdom to share, you are welcome to share, as well.

Some Ways to Ruin Your Relationship with Your In-Laws (and Your Marriage):

  • gossip about your husband’s parents and siblings
  • resent them and hold grudges and bitterness against them
  • treat them with disrespect
  • be prideful and assume that you are always right
  • take it upon yourself to try to make them change to be the people you want them to be
  • be argumentative and contentious with everyone in your husband’s family
  • roll your eyes and sigh a lot
  • look down on them
  • always assume the worst about them
  • refuse them access to your children (without a seriously valid reason)
  • try to control them and their relationship with your husband
  • compare them to your parents in a negative way
  • focus on their faults
  • rehearse anything they have said that hurts your feelings over and over and over hundreds of times per day for weeks, months, or years
  • criticize them often to your husband
  • freak out whenever your husband talks to his family
  • demand that your husband choose between you and his family
  • monitor every word your husband says to them
  • demand that your husband not spend time with his family
  • resent your husband for any time he does spend with them and tell him that he obviously doesn’t love you if he wants to spend any time with them

Some Ways to Bless Your Husband and Your In-Laws:

  • sincerely speak highly of them to others
  • don’t share about the negative stuff (unless you are only speaking with a godly wife mentor, a therapist/counselor, or seeking appropriate help for severe issues)
  • be quick to give mercy, grace, and forgiveness
  • seek to trust them whenever possible
  • be filled with God’s Spirit yourself and allow His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control to flow through you
  • accept that they are different from your family, and that doesn’t automatically mean the way they do things is “wrong”
  • praise and encourage them when you see things you appreciate
  • be thankful for anything they do for you
  • focus on their strengths
  • pray for them
  • seek to bless them no matter how they act or respond
  • support your husband’s relationship with his family (if there is an extremely enmeshed, codependent, toxic relationship, you can support your husband’s desire to have a healthy relationship with them and his desire to love them)
  • support the way your husband wants to handle issues with his family whenever possible (unless he is asking you to clearly sin or condone sin or there would be significant and legitimate danger in supporting his decision)
  • step back and allow your husband to do more of the communicating if this seems to work better
  • thank your husband for being such a loving son/brother
  • rest in the fact that you are in a covenant relationship with your husband in the eyes of God
  • don’t criticize your husband’s family to him
  • treat your husband with respect in front of his family and treat his family with respect at all times

** If there are truly awful things going on – drug/alcohol abuse, uncontrolled mental health issues, actual abuse, criminal activity – please seek appropriate help. There are times it may be necessary to seek godly, wise, biblical counsel. There are times it may be necessary to call the police, or to seek medical help. Hopefully, you and your husband can discuss and agree upon the best approach if there are severe problems in a relationship.


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A Husband and Wife Handle a Controlling Mother As a Team

Why Won’t He Protect Me from His Family?

Bitterness of Soul – I Want to Be His FIRST Priority

Respecting Your Husband around Extended Family


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A Fellow Wife Focuses on Overcoming Bitterness