Success Stories

Here are some inspiring stories by wives whose marriages were transformed by Jenna’s book. If you would like to share your success story, please email Jenna at wifeguide@yahoo.com.

Stacy’s story:
The first six months I was married, I truly wanted to scream and pull my hair out. My husband and I really had some all out battles about his parents (regarding finances, where we would live, religious issues, etc.). Unfortunately, he was completely oblivious to how I felt or that anything was truly wrong. When I was going through all of this with my husband, I really felt so alone. I thought I was crazy/selfish to feel that way and often blamed myself. At first, I called him a Mama’s Boy and told him I felt like I was a low priority to him. This, of course, did not go over well…so I changed my direction.

I’ve been married for three years now, and Jenna’s book played a big role in gaining my husband’s loyalty. I started out by making a decision that I would not berate my husband for his family’s actions. After all, he can’t help what his relatives do, and to blame him for other people’s actions wouldn’t really be fair. Secondly, I made a resolution that I would NEVER let them create an argument or problem between my husband and me…this was really a groundbreaking moment for me. After all, it was in my power to control what items became issues in my marriage. Letting petty stuff his family did wasn’t worth upsetting our balance…that would just give them more power, control, and influence. This took a lot of time, but once my husband realized that I was taking the high road, he started listening to me more.

I promised “for better or for worse” and I decided not to let my in-laws make it worse. As a new bride, I had no idea what I was in for in terms of family management, and even now I take time to re-read certain sections from Jenna’s book periodically. It is taking time and patience to gain my husband’s loyalty, and it’s an ongoing process — but I think it’s well worth it.

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Kelly’s story:
I was a MISERABLE newlywed who lived with my in-laws. My husband was completely devoted to his parents, especially his mother. I felt SOOOO TRAPPED! My husband and I had no privacy at all. When I addressed this to him, he didn’t want to say anything to her because he didn’t want to upset her. I felt like my marriage was falling apart because of his parents. I felt like we were heading for divorce.

After several months of that hell, I read “A Wife’s Guide to In-laws, and I felt that the book was written especially for me. When I read the chapters written for husbands, I was so ecstatic because Jenna wrote EVERYTHING that I was feeling. I feel I am ALWAYS #2 in his life. His MOTHER is always #1 to him.

When I showed my husband the chapters, he finally got it, and started showing signs of progress toward becoming a loyal husband. He found the courage to address our privacy issues to his mother, and she didn’t come in our room anymore. Shortly after that, he agreed to move out and rent an apartment! We finally MOVED OUT I love every minute of it. I am finally enjoying marriage life.

All of my thoughts of divorce have vanished. I don’t want my in-laws to “win” and have the satisfaction of destroying our marriage. Now that we are finally out of their house, I see great potential in my husband too. Now that I am dealing with my anger more constructively, I’m able to see how much progress my husband is making in becoming independent from his parents. I know it won’t be an overnight process, but I am holding to the vision of having a completely loyal husband someday.

Jenna is right, sometimes the “better” comes after the “worse”! We have survived a major obstacle.
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Anna’s story:
I have a MIL who is often self-centered, obsessive and needy. Her neediness is exacerbated by the fact that she is a retired, lonely, anxiety-ridden widow and mother of just one child (my husband), whom she grasps onto with a frightening ferocity. She can be extremely controlling and pushy, and an expert at “playing the victim.” Though there are moments when she acts pleasantly enough (especially when she is receiving lots of attention and coddling from us), I am generally treated either with complete disregard as if I am not even in the room or as an evil temptress who tried to take her son away from her to exploit for my own nefarious reasons . My MIL is also VERY careful of the image she projects to my husband —she is always the innocent, helpless and pure-hearted victim of a cruel world (meaning me and well, everybody else too), a martyr who loves her son more than anyone else could ever possibly love someone. As for her invasions , she justifies these with the spin that she is just “trying to help” and “be part of the family” that I so heartlessly exclude her from.

I try very hard to remain cordial, respectful and kind as much as possible, as she is my husband’s mother. After all, my husband is the fine person he is due in part to her job as a mother. But remaining respectful is something that I sometimes really struggle with. Some days it’s not difficult at all, and she behaves pretty reasonably, but other days I am so uncomfortable and tense, even on a physical level, it’s like being allergic to a person. I just want to get away from her, and when I do it is a huge relief I feel throughout my whole body.

I turned to Jenna for help because I wanted to be less resentful and more confident and self-assertive when dealing with my MIL. I also wanted her backhanded comments, endless scheming and game-playing to have less effect on me. Most of all I wanted to stop the pattern where I vacillated distressingly between guilt (because she is in the end truly unhappy and lonely) and anger at her bullying and bizarre lack of respect.

Jenna validated my feelings and sympathized with my situation, pointing out how my MIL’s bad behavior was just that: bad behavior—no matter the ‘spin’ she, or anyone else, tried to put on it. That in itself already made a huge difference for me: having someone assure me that I was not exaggerating, being unreasonable or oversensitive. It was such a relief and a confidence- builder. She also pointed out how I had been stuck in this gullible naiveté and debilitating self-doubt which stopped me from dealing effectively with the problem before me, actually even enabling my MIL to continue her bullying. And I no longer feel guilty for not wanting to work on having a close relationship with a person who isn’t capable, or even truly interested in, having a close relationship with me. When you start to empower yourself like this, and stop the intrusions, you reach a place where you can let go of the anger, and even feel a little compassion, at times, for a woman that is missing out on what could have been a great relationship had she not let her fears, jealousy and insecurity get the better of her. Of course, I cannot let down my guard and I do limit my time, and emotional involvement, with her.

The most important thing I took away from Jenna’s work is her conviction that we should not focus so much on our misbehaving mothers-in-law, but work on being a good wife, and creating a happy and healthy marriage. It keeps the eye on what is really worthwhile. And as Jenna points out, there is nothing more important than protecting the relationship you have with your husband—certainly not the inexorable needs or ‘hurt feelings’ of your MIL. In fact I think too many of us wives take our mothers-in-law, and their silliness, way too seriously. We give them too much power. We of course cannot change them, cannot stop their deception and warped games, nor ship them off with a one-way ticket to Iceland as tempting as that may be–but we can stop letting them “get to us” and keep our energies on what’s important. And not taking them seriously doesn’t mean disrespecting them, but rather not allowing their toxic nonsense to wound us.

As for my husband, things have vastly improved. He once pretty much denied all of his mother’s transgressions, accusing me of exaggerating or even hallucinating her mistreatment, which eventually led to a pretty serious crisis. We got past that and things are better than ever, and he is way more protective and understanding and loyal to me. And I have learned to stop attacking and punishing him for his mother’s behavior, and no longer expect him to rescue me….I rescue myself with what I hope is grace and an iron will. And I know he is grateful he isn’t forced to be in the line of fire, fighting a battle he never fully understood. Most importantly, his mother is no longer “the other woman” who causes division between us. .

I’m thankful to Jenna for helping women like me (through her book and support group) who are tormented and harassed by their mothers-in-law. It can be so confusing, so lonely, so wrought with self-doubt. It helps a lot to be able to exchange experiences and gain support and get good sound advice. And to know that you can have a great marriage in spite of the fear and jealousy that this invokes in others close to him.. A great marriage benefits everyone in the end. Even them. Have faith!


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Jessica’s Story:
Thank you so much for writing such an amazing book. I managed to get my husband to read Chapter 13; he said he’d read Chapter 14 sometime this week. I really hope things work out because it is going to be very difficult to win my husband’s loyalty. My story: My husband and I come from different religious backgrounds. Both of our families made it extremely difficult for us for all these years and we didn’t have anybody’s support. I believe my own family is just as dysfunctional as my husband’s. I know I have to implement all the guidelines listed in your book not only with my in-laws but also with my family members. I love your book — as I said, I have already started to practice a little on my family. Unfortunately, my mother is manipulative and controlling and my sisters are jealous and insecure, since all the members are toxic, I’m frightened I will now become the “bad one.” But I’m going to follow everything listed in the book, again thanks so much for writing such an amazing book, it is beyond brilliance. Very nicely written and simple to follow, right on target and everything you said makes so much sense and is so true.


 

Buy the book!

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

Click here to buy the print version!

Click here to buy the e-book!

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, CNN.com, The London Free Press, TheBump.com, etc. She leads a support group for daughters-in-law right here.


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