Getting along with the in-laws is never easy but it could be the secret to a long and happy marriage, according to new research.Husbands who enjoy a good relationship with their in-laws have a 20 per cent higher chance of avoiding divorce, an American study has found.
However, the opposite is true for women. Wives who get on well with their in-laws are 20 per cent more likely to split up.
According to researchers at the University of Michigan, women who enjoy the company of their in-laws may become too involved with their husband’s family, to the point where wives believe their in-laws are meddling.
Men do not share the same worries, which could explain the discrepancy between husbands and wives.
Dr Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor who led the study, said it’s a positive aspect of a relationship if men get on well with their in-laws because “these ties connect the husband to the wife”.
However, women do not view relationships with in-laws in the same way, she said.
“Because relationships are so important to women, their identity as a wife and mother is central to their being,” she said.
“They interpret what their in-laws say and do as interference into their identity as a spouse and parent.”
She added that wives should be wary of sharing details of their marriages so that boundaries are kept in place.
The study at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research examined 373 same-race couples over a period of 26 years, beginning in 1986.
All the couples were aged between 25 and 37 and had been married for a year or less when the study began. Dr Orbuch has followed them throughout their years of marriage.
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