This month, Bristol Palin, the daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, announced her engagement to her son’s father, Levi Johnston. However, Johnston is facing a long road ahead with his future in-laws after making accusations about them over the past year and engaging in some questionable public behavior.
Johnston is not the only future son-in-law who needs to work to smooth over in-law relations, according to studies conducted by the National Marriage Project. Researchers report that married couples with more support from their in-laws tend to encounter less conflict in their marriages. Disagreements between spouses and in-laws usually arise when parents have difficulty letting go of their grown children. Unrealistic expectations from in-laws can also fuel arguments, particularly between wives and mothers-in-law.
For those suffering from in-law induced distress, there are dozens of online venting forums and Facebook groups available for spouses to complain and seek solace among fellow sons and daughters in-law. However, most marriage experts suggest that a spouse who dislikes his or her in-laws should address any problems with them directly.