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A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents
by Jenna D. Barry

Jenna D. Barry, a wife of 14 years, has personally experienced the despair that comes from having an unsupportive partner. Her book suggests specific things to say and do to gain your husbandapostrophes loyalty and unite as a couple to deal with difficult in-laws. A Wifeapostrophes Guide to In-laws has over 40 cartoons, two fun chapters written just for Hubby, and worksheets to help the two of you reach loving compromises about common problem issues. Jenna offers hilarious, heartfelt advice about how to have a great marriage even if your in-laws arenapostrophet so great. Hereapostrophes an excerpt from her book.


They say married couples usually fight about these 3 things: sex, money, and in-laws. I’m fortunate enough to be married to someone who basically shares my viewpoint on sex (we both like it) and money (we both like to spend it). But when it comes to in-laws, we had approximately 3.7 million arguments in the first five years of marriage alone.

You may be quick to blame your in-laws for your marriage problems, but in reality the biggest part of the problem isn’t really them, 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.

A Wife’s Guide to In-laws is written from the perspective of a wife with difficult in-laws and a husband whose loyalties are divided. However, I realize that (1) not all in-laws are difficult, (2) not all husbands are disloyal, (3) sometimes it’s the wife, not the husband, who has trouble transferring loyalty, and (4) sometimes it’s the wife’s parents, not the husband’s parents, who are difficult.

You don’t need to read this book if…

  • you have wonderful in-laws
  • you have a loyal husband who makes your needs a priority (even if it upsets his parents)

You do need to read this book if…

  • you have self-centered, manipulative in-laws
  • your husband frequently makes his parents’ needs a priority over yours
  • your main goal is to have a fantastic relationship with your husband

Although the goal of this book is not to help you have a terrific relationship with your in-laws, your relationship with them will likely improve automatically once your husband makes you his #1 priority.

Chapter 7: Stop Making That Face or It Will Get Stuck That Way: Exposing your husband’s false beliefs

According to some guy on the Internet, the 2nd Law of Gun Safety is: Never Point a Gun at Something You’re Not Prepared to Destroy! In the past you have probably directed your anger toward your husband and his parents whenever they behaved like jerks. But that hasn’t done you any good, has it? That’s because you’re wasting your energy on yelling at your hubby and criticizing his folks when it would be better to focus on destroying the false beliefs causing the problems. This chapter will (1) teach you which false beliefs contribute to your husband’s specific behaviors and (2) suggest things you can say/do so your husband will begin to question them. The next time your husband behaves in a way that makes you want to rip your entire wedding finger off, ask yourself what is causing him to behave that way. Once your husband is free from his prison of warped thinking, he will begin to transform from a guilt-ridden parent-pleaser into a confident, independent adult. It’s impossible for me to list all of the false beliefs that contribute to your husband’s behavior, but here are seven major ones:

  1. My parents are superior to me even though I am an adult.
  2. It’s my parents’ duty to judge me and give me advice.
  3. My parents’ needs are more important than my own.
  4. It is important that I maintain just as close a relationship with my parents now as I did when I was young.
  5. It’s my responsibility to keep my parents happy.
  6. I should continue to place my loyalty with my parents even though I’m married now.
  7. It’s better to pretend everything is fine, rather than rock the boat.

Now, let’s take a look at these false beliefs one at a time.

False belief #1: My parents are superior to me even though I am an adult.

If your husband believes that to be true, then his behavior will probably be like this:

  • He rarely, if ever, considers the possibility that his parents might be flawed in their thinking or behavior.
  • He assumes he is wrong whenever he thinks differently than his parents do.
  • He tells you that you’re wrong whenever you disagree with his folks.
  • He believes you are rude, selfish, and/or disrespectful whenever his parents say you are rude, selfish, and/or disrespectful.
  • If you and his parents describe a situation differently, he believes their version because to do otherwise would be calling his “perfectapostrophe parents liars. He accuses you of exaggerating, overreacting, and/or imagining things.
  • He does everything they ask him to do because he thinks it would be disobedient to do otherwise.

True belief #1: My parents are not superior to me; we are all equal adults.

Once your husband believes this to be true, then his behavior will start to look this way instead:

  • He will admit to himself that his parents aren’t right about everything all the time, and that their behavior isn’t always perfect.
  • He won’t assume you’re wrong when you and his parents disagree about something.
  • He will form his own opinions about you instead of believing his parents when they say you are rude, selfish, and/or disrespectful.
  • He will consider your version of events when you describe a situation instead of assuming that his parents’ perception is 100% accurate. He won’t accuse you of exaggerating, overreacting, and/or imagining things.
  • He won’t feel the need to obey his parents.

Here are some things you can SAY to help your husband replace his false beliefs with the truth:

  • “I know you’ve always looked up to your parents. I’ve always looked up to mine, too. But the truth is that sometimes parents are wrong, Honey. They have flaws just like everyone else.apostrophe
  • “Do you do everything your parents ask you to do because you think you have to obey them? You aren’t a child anymore… you’re an adult. You don’t have to obey them any more than they have to obey you.apostrophe
  • “Honey, why do you feel it is disrespectful for me to disagree with your parents?apostrophe
  • “Just because your parents don’t think the same way you do doesn’t mean you are wrong. There’s no reason to be ashamed of your opinion, so stand by it. Your parents aren’t right about everything just because they are your parents. You’re an adult too, and your opinions are just as valid as theirs.apostrophe

Here are some things you can DO to help your husband replace his false beliefs with the truth:

  • Set an example by not bossing him around or belittling his opinions.
  • Set an example by making sure you don’t always assume your own parents’ opinions are superior to yours and/or his.
  • Encourage him to read the chapter entitled “Illegal Crackapostrophe because it will address his false beliefs in a way he can relate.

From A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry. Copyright 2008 by Jenna D. Barry. Published by Lulu, Inc. Available at