Nearly everyone in Atlanta has seen portrayals of horrible in-laws on television and film: from meddlesome mothers to intimidating fathers, a considerable amount of jokes revolve around movie in-laws. It seems, however, that real in-laws can be just as irksome.

Though it may seem odd that when women are closer to their in-laws there is a 20 percent higher risk of divorce, a 26-year study has shown this to be the case. Interestingly enough, when men are close with their in-laws, there is a 20 percent smaller risk that the couple will end up in divorce court.

The idea is that if a man has connected with his in-laws, it will send a signal to the wife that he really cares about her and the relationship. The lead researcher implied that women may not think men will help support their wives’ parents unless they are truly invested in their wives.

This can mean, however, that when a husband tries to develop a close relationship with his wife’s family and is rebuffed, there may be a higher chance of divorce. If media’s portrayals of fathers who are so overly protective of their daughters that they can never warm up to their son-in-laws, no matter how long they have been married, are true, it could be lead to a relatively short marriage.

The study also says that the closer a woman is to her in-laws, the more likely she is to think that they are meddlesome and passing judgment on her success as a mother and wife.

Not all marital disputes end in divorce, but if someone is unhappy in his or her marriage, divorce may be an option to start anew.

Source: The Huffington Post, “In-Laws And Marriage Study: Son-In-Law Key To Lasting Marriage,” Nov. 27, 2012