Articles: Holidays with In-laws

September 6, 2016, 8:39 pm

The following article is exclusive to Hitched Magazine:

5 Tips for Making Holiday Plans as a Couple
By Jenna D. Barry

You have an opportunity to be a great spouse this holiday season. Couples are faced with many decisions this time of year about where and with whom to spend the festivities. This can lead to disagreements which cause tension in the marriage. Here are five tips for making holiday plans as a couple: 

1. Don’t ignore your partner’s needs by insisting that he spend the holidays the way you want to spend them. Marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship. Spending time with each other’s parents is part of the marriage commitment, so don’t refuse to spend Thanksgiving with your in-laws because you don’t like them.

2. Try to reach a fair compromise that leaves both of you feeling that you got what you wanted. If you would like to spend Christmas with your family but your spouse wants to spend it with hers, flip a coin. If you win the toss, agree to spend Thanksgiving (or next Christmas) with her family– or buy her that new couch she has been wanting.

3. Make your spouse a priority over Mom and Dad (even if it upsets them). Your behavior plays a key role in how well your partner gets along with your parents. Don’t say “no” to your wife so you can say “yes” to your folks. Remember this when you are making holiday plans– and again while you are visiting with relatives. Never belittle your husband or gossip about him to your family. Likewise, stand up for your wife if your parents criticize or gossip about her.

4. Remember that short visits are usually the most enjoyable ones. Rather than inviting your in-laws to stay in your guest room for a month, give them specific dates to choose from or suggest a nearby hotel. If you need a little break during family visits , go for a jog, take a nap, or spend time with friends.

5. Realize it’s okay to start your own traditions instead of following old ones. Just because your mother expects you to spend every Christmas at her house doesn’t mean you are obligated to do so. Nor do you have to drive to both parents’ houses every Thanksgiving just because they live in the same town. You and your partner have the right to decide where and with whom to spend the holidays. If you’d prefer to celebrate the festivities at your own house– with her family, your family, both, or neither– then do that.

Let this be a time to grow closer as a couple. By treating each other with love and respect, you can help to make this a season of peace and joy in your marriage.

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.”  Find more at


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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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