Christian Relationship Help: Six Things Toxic In-Laws Do That Damage Your Marriage
Article by Karla Downing
Are you looking for Christian relationship help regarding your in-laws? This article will identify six things toxic in-laws do and why each of them is undermining to the union God wants you to have in your marriage relationship. God intended you to leave your families and be united to each other (Genesis 2:24). These are the six things that toxic in-laws do that are destructive to your marriage:
Use money or offers of assistance to control or bribe you. When “help” has strings attached, it isn’t honest. God wants our motives to be clear. When help is offered it should be offered honestly rather than with hidden motives. You and your spouse need to make decisions independently of the pressure from parents. This will especially cause problems when you can see the ulterior motive and your spouse doesn’t.Get in between you and your spouse by making your spouse choose you or them. This is an especially damaging maneuver because your spouse will be conflicted over who to choose and is in a no-win dilemma. If losing the favor of the parents is uncomfortable and unfamiliar, it will be hard for your spouse to put you first. Your spouse will put pressure on you to understand the lack of loyalty to you and will make excuses for choosing the parents. You will feel betrayed by your spouse and angry that you and your feelings aren’t important.Criticize you in front of your spouse or behind your back. Of course you want your in-laws to like you. Rejection and disapproval aren’t ever comfortable, but it has an extra “sting” when it is your in-laws, because you want your spouse to defend you and when it doesn’t happen, it makes you even more angry and reactive to the criticism. And if your spouse excuses the parents’ dislike of you by offering excuses for them or blaming your behavior as the cause, you will be even more upset.Are overly demanding of your time and/or your spouse’s time. It is important to spend time with your in- laws, but when it encroaches on your time with your spouse by becoming excessive or demanding, it will cause stress within the marriage. The marriage relationship needs to be prioritized and protected by appropriate boundaries on your time and space.Give too much advice and get mad when you don’t listen to it. Part of being a “couple” is having the freedom to live your lives like you believe you should. Separating from your parents requires you to decide which things you want to do the same as them and which you want to do differently. There is a time to learn from the wisdom of those that have experienced more of life than you, but if advice is given too often and with the expectation that you have to do what is suggested, it becomes unhealthy.Ignore you and not include you. It is painful to have your in-laws not like you or treat you respectfully, but it is even more painful if they ignore you or refuse to include you in invitations to family events. This puts your spouse in the awkward position of having to draw a line that demands you are included. If your in-laws give in, then it puts you in the position of going when you aren’t really wanted.
This Christian relationship help identifies six things toxic in-laws do and why each of them is undermining to the union God wants you to have in your marriage. The difficulty lies in figuring out how to react to these things without doing further damage to your marriage.
About the Author
If you need more practical tips and Biblical truths to help you change your relationships, get my FREE “15-Day Relationship Challenge” designed to give you back the power over your life.
Just click here: Free 15 Day Challenge
Karla Downing is an author, speaker, licensed marriage and family therapist, and Bible study teacher. Karla’s passion is to help people find freedom in Christ in the midst of their difficult relationships and circumstances through Biblical truths and practical tools.
Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.