In-laws: Advice for Brides

December 9, 2008, 1:10 pm

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“Until In-laws Do Us Part: Advice for the Bride-To-Be”
By Jenna D. Barry

Wedding planning tends to bring out the worst in people. That’s a widely known fact…ask any married person.

It’s partly because there are approximately 9,463 decisions to be made while planning a typical medium-sized wedding. Take the cake, for example. Which baker will you use? Which flavor should the cake be? How many layers should it have? How should it be shaped? What should the little statues look like on top?

If it were left up to you and your groom to make those decisions, things would probably go pretty smoothly. But typically there are several other people involved in the wedding planning. Out of the 9,463 decisions to be made, chances are that you, your groom, your mom, your dad, your groom’s mother, and his father will agree on no more than two of those decisions.

You will be amazed at how easily you will offend everyone in your life, particularly your husband’s parents. They may disagree with when and where you should have the wedding. They may have strong opinions about who should and should not be invited. Your father-in-law may be upset if you don’t word the invitations exactly the way he thinks they should be worded. Your mother-in-law may feel that you haven’t included her enough in the wedding planning. Your in-laws may disagree with you about whether there should be drinking or dancing at the reception. If you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding/reception, then you have the right to make all of the decisions. If your parents and/or in-laws are the ones footing the bill, then it will be trickier for you. You’ll need to find a balance between being a bridezilla versus a gutless parent pleaser.

Your in-laws can handle disagreements in a respectful, tactful manner or they can make your life a living hell. They may try to reach fair compromises OR bully you until you cave on every decision. They may keep their opinions to themselves and realize that this is your wedding instead of theirs OR heap so much guilt on you that you wish you had eloped. They may support you as a couple OR try to divide you by crying to their son about how much you are hurting their feelings. If your in-laws behave in an unhealthy, immature, disrespectful way then you may feel helpless, hopeless and frustrated.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” The good news is that you don’t have to. Here are ways that you and your groom can behave so your sanity remains intact.

*Unite as a couple. It’s time to transfer your loyalty from your parents to your spouse. Groom, that means putting your bride’s needs first even if it upsets Mom and Dad. Absolutely, positively refuse to listen to your parents gossip about your sweetheart.

*Think and behave as adults. You are on an equal level to both sets of parents.  Address your future in-laws by their first names instead of “Mom” and “Dad” or “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Their opinions and needs do not outrank yours.

*Learn how to speak assertively. The next time your in-laws try to pressure you into putting their needs above yours, say, “Thanks for your input, but we’ve decided to do this instead.”

You and your groom have a great opportunity to set the stage now for how you are (and are not) willing to be treated after you are married. Conduct yourselves with confidence and dignity while your in-laws go through the process of realizing that their son’s loyalty now belongs with you.

Jenna D. Barry is the author of A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents.”

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You can have a GREAT marriage, even if your in-laws aren't so great!

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You may be quick to blame your in-laws for your marriage problems, but in reality the biggest part of the problem isn't your in-laws, it's your husband's loyalty to them.  When a man marries, he is supposed to transfer his loyalty from his parents to his wife. His behavior plays a key role in how well you get along with his parents.  The goal of this book is to help you gain your husband's loyalty.

If you are in need of hope and encouragement, this book is for you!  Jenna Barry offers hilarious, heartfelt advice about how to have a terrific marriage in spite of difficult in-laws.  As a wife who has personally experienced the despair that comes from having an unsupportive partner, she suggests specific things to say and do to gain your husband's loyalty.  This book won't teach you how to become best friends with your in-laws, but it will teach you how to think and behave in a new way so they no longer have any power over you.  A Wife's Guide to In-laws has over 40 cartoons, two fun chapters written just for your hubby, and worksheets to help the two of you reach loving compromises about common problem issues.

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About Jenna

As a wife of 22 years, Jenna D. Barry (a pen name) has learned how to gain her husband's loyalty through communication, persistence, and a whole lot of love.  She has familiarized herself with the needs and frustrations of other wives by participating in on-line in-law support groups and by talking to marriage therapists, friends, family, and co-workers.


Jenna is the author of the book, A Wife's Guide to In-laws:  How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents. She has been a radio guest on The Mike Bullard Show and her articles have been published in newspapers, websites, and magazines worldwide.  She writes monthly articles for Hitched Magazine and has been quoted in The Washington Times,, The London Free Press,, etc. She leads a support group for daughters-in-law right here.



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