Which In-Laws Should You Live Closest To?

This was a big hump to get over when my wife and I were engaged and getting married.  And I’m sure this discussion has caused a lot of heartburn for other couples as well—new relationships or old reliables.  Although you are not extrinsically valuing one set of in-laws over the other (or one spouse’s career over the other), intrinsically it tends to feel that way during the heat of battle… I mean… discussion.  But maybe this decision can get easier!

A few years ago, National Institutes of Health performed a 26-year longitudinal study that showed when a husband reported having a close relationship with his wife’s parents, the couple’s risk of divorce decreased by 20%.  Conversely, when a wife reported having a close relationship with her husband’s parents, the couple’s risk of divorce increased by 20%.

I’m not a marriage expert by any means, but if I wanted to statistically safeguard a friend’s marriage, I would automatically tell him to submit and figure out a way to live near his wife’s parents.  There is a lot of benefit from a husband modeling what humbleness and submission looks like.

This will not solve all your marriage problems (you’ll have plenty).  But maybe it will help a little.

Do you agree? Should you live near your wife’s parents as a rule of thumb?


  1. Wow, those numbers are crazy but I am not worried. Josh and I live a stone’s throw away from his parents, right next door. And I was the one who had to talk him into taking the leap so no argument there. I love his parents and we have family dinner every Sunday. I actually hope when my parents decide to retire that they will move out here as well. With my sister in Maryland, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be taking care of my parents as they age. I want them close and one day I hope my kids will want me close as well.

    • Kala, it seems to me that a weekly or bi-weekly family dinner is a great way to keep that nucleus strong. We have weekly dinners (where I usually cook) with the main parts of our family, and it is a huge boost for the tightness of us. I was entertaining medical school in california, but a huge factor is actually my family. Why would I leave such a strong support system?

      And speaking more to this: Part of the reason a lot of my relationships have failed is the inability of me to connect with a person’s family. I would bet that connectivity to your significant other’s family has a lot to do in where you stay. I am also sure monetary reasons are involved too.

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