5 Ways Your Mother In Law Can Damage Your Marriage — Even if She Doesn’t Want to

Mitzi Bockmann
8 min readMay 11, 2022

When I got engaged, I remember so well when a friend of mine told me that there are many ways that your mother in law can damage your marriage– even if she doesn’t want to.

I remember thinking ‘Yeah, sure, but that won’t happen to us.’ Boy, was I wrong.

Mother in laws are not inherently evil and have developed a bad rep. But I know that my mother in law did play a role in the health of my marriage and I wish I had known then what I know now!

Here are 5 ways your mother in law can damage your marriage and some things that you can do to stop that from happening.

#1 — She knows how she wants things.

I know that when I was growing up, my mother wanted things a certain way.

Christmas eve involved a party, Christmas carols, one present and midnight mass. We never turned the heat on until after Thanksgiving. Birthday parties were for immediate family. No one was required to eat anything on their plate. That was just how things were. And, as a result, that is how I was when I went into my marriage.

And, over the course of my ex-husband’s life, his mother did things her way and her way didn’t match mine. And that definitely caused some friction in our marriage.

My ex-husband didn’t care how we did Christmas or birthday parties or when we turned the heat on — he would go along with whatever. Unfortunately, often, his mother’s ‘whatever’ and mine were quite different. And, of course, I wanted to do things my way, my mother’s way. And my mother in law wasn’t always happy about that.

What did my ex do? He tried to keep his head down and stay out of the conflict. As a result, my mother in law and I struggled in a big way over the first few years of my marriage. Did that poison my relationship with my husband? Definitely.

As the years went on, I learned to adapt. I learned to pick and choose what I wanted to do ‘my way’ and let her have some wins on that one too. It worked to keep the peace between us but my marriage was definitely damaged by the conflict that was present in the years before we worked things out.

Mitzi Bockmann

I’m a certified NYC based Life and Love Coach who works with people to help them find, and keep, happiness and love.