Dealing with Sibling In Laws and Extended Family

Dollar Photo - Family Reunion“How can a Christian who is married, deal graciously with siblings and sibling in laws, who are causing problems in their marriage?”

That is the question we’d like to pose to you.

We receive quite a few letters each year from those who are married who are running into difficulties in dealing with sibling in laws, and sisters and brothers. Sometimes these siblings are too vocal or mean-spirited in what they say and do. They can be vindictive in how they act towards the spouse of their sibling and cause trouble.

Others stay to visit too long so the spouse feels imposed upon and worn out.

Other siblings expect financial support from their older male sibling and expect him to physically help them repeatedly at the sacrifice of his own family.

There are various situations that can come in to play. But in each case the one spouse is “at odds” with the other spouse because of the bond that siblings have had with each other through the years.

To help you with this issue, we found a few online articles that may give you some insight. We encourage you to pray and glean through the information —applying what you can use and disregarding the rest. Please click onto the links provided below to read.

Posted on the web site of the ministry of


From “He said, ‘She wouldn’t let me be myself.’ She said ‘He didn’t fit in with my family.'”:

IN LAW CONFLICT: He Said … She Said

From the ministry of Focus on the Family here is some advice to consider when you spend time together in family gatherings and holiday situations:


— ALSO —


And here’s a New Life Ministries Youtube video you might find helpful. It deals with this subject where Dr Steve Arterburn, Dr Jill Hubbard, and Rev. Milan Yerkovich answer the question, “How do we handle a controlling sister in law who thinks she’s mom”:

Above all, keep in mind what is written in 1 Peter 3:8-17:

All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

We want to know what wise and godly (Biblically-based) advice you would give to those who are dealing with sibling in laws and/or extended family who are causing problems in their marriage. If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents

Join the Discussion

Please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.

We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


125 responses to “Dealing with Sibling In Laws and Extended Family

  1. My marriage was broken by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. They have poisoned my husband’s mind and he’s now asking for a divorce. He left our marital home and left our 1 1/2 year old daughter then. It has been 6 years and he has been going out with many women and alcohol abuse and heaven knows what else. My sister-in-law is now happily married with a kid and lives near to her mother’s house. While me and my daughter live with my mother with no financial support from my husband. His sister and mother control him to the extreme but still he can’t realize it.

  2. Why can’t in-laws mind their own business? I’m in the same situation with Ruth. My husband’s family loves to keep secrets, always “don’t tell your wife.” They use the word borrow money for them to shop & go on a tour or vacation when in fact they never pay. We both work & in fact I was the one who helped my husband get back on his feet when we got married. He was so broke because he has to keep up with the demands of his mother & siblings. Now that we’re in financial crisis & we have mortgage to pay, instead of paying us back, his mom was the first one to laugh at us & his brother who brags about that he’s the most successful among them & of course still owes money to us demands my husband to be responsible for his 2 children & always demanding that it’s my husbands obligation to take care of his nephews.

    Well, we have 2 kids too. Collection agencies calling us about their mom not paying the jewelry that she purchased. Now my husband is becoming broke again, always irritable & he’s taking it out against me & my kids. I could help him out if I want to but his priority is his real family as they always remind him “blood is thicker than water.” He’s been completely manipulated. I’m not this kind of person but I have to be selfish at this point to protect my children & their future. Why are these people are so greedy? They have good jobs, they & their spouses are working; they take home more money than we do. Why is it that it’s my fault that I’m financially responsible? Why?!

  3. I have had a very rough summer. Not nearly as rough as most of the peoples’situations in the comment section…but more than I ever expected from my ‘Christian’ (lol) sisters…one of whom is an ordained minster. After doing some ‘googling’…I am starting to believe that there is a whole lot of pain caused by family members as they all progress to later years in the life of parents. I believe the church is missing it on a huge part of hurting individuals…or ostracized parts of the family…I believe the church will never be unified until we address the abuse of power and control within families. There should be elder boards comprised of both women and men where bullied, controlled people can go when they don’t have the funds or don’t want to hire an attorney (in light of the scriptural suggestion to not go to court against a brother).