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

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

  1. How to pray for my spouse to see the truth. We have been married for a decade now. We both work but my husband feels that he is responsible for his family. His family uses us and constantly are asking for money and use money irresponsibly. My husband and I pay the bills and try to save. Every time we have some saving for something my husband uses it for his family. I work hard and feel like me and my children are constantly being robbed; we don’t get the opportunity to do the things we should be doing. Whenever I try to talk to my husband he gets angry or agrees but doesn’t change things. How do I pray about this???

  2. Hi Ruth, I’m having exactly the same issue as you; that’s why I’m on here. Although not married for a decade but been married for 5 1/2 yrs now. My inlaws are grown up adults and none of them want to work but keep asking and asking not caring if we have a family or not. Besides, there are 5 siblings which age range is between 26-43. We’re barely making it through and we’re in huge credit card debt, yet my husband doesn’t understand this. Lets pray for each other for God to open our husband’s eyes completely. I’ve decided to focus solely on God and not let them steal my joy and ask God to make a way for us. I don’t know what else to do.

    1. Hi Ruth and Isabell. Hope you are well. I’m dealing with the very same issue and can’t help to always think of how selfish the actions of the inlaws are to not even consider the effect of their actions on another’s marriage. I’m feeling very discouraged. It would just be nice to hear how things are going on your side. I do pray but I feel very helpless and hopeless. I know God will never leave us nor forsake us but I can’t help but feeling sorry for myself as I feel very alone. My spouse just always chooses his family’s side and makes me feel like I have no say in our marriage. Or am I the selfish one???

  3. My fiancé and I are getting married in 2 months after 6 years of dating. His sister and I have not gotten along since the start. During our relationship, she has consistently tried to drive a wedge between my fiancé and I. During our relationship, my fiancé and I have dealt with infidelity. My fiancé had an outside relationship while dating me and a child was born. I chose to forgive him and move on, but his sister used that to his advantage to try and get rid of me. There have been numerous instances where she has caused an issue. She voiced her negative opinion several times, even telling my fiancé to leave me.

    She has never supported our relationship, so I have kept my distance. Now that we’re engaged, she is attempting to play the victim by asking if I have a problem with her in front of her family. She in essence confronted me. I personally, have no reason to continue to engage with her bc of how she has treated me. I have forgiven her but I choose not to let her continue her abuse. I want to reassure my soon to be husband that things will get easier but I doubt they will. What can I do?

  4. I have 3 vindictive sister in laws and his mother, that wants to break up my marriage. They talk behind my back to my husband and he has done this too! His mother has done the same thing, now the other sister is doing it too! They are taking over all of his things that are mine and his!!! Help me!!

  5. I felt weak, until I read the above passage. For only God knows I’m saddened by evil, as it surrounds me and gets the best of me when I feel weak. Yes I have sinned by meeting evil with evil, but I’m tired now. I’ve tried everything; I’ve exhausted what I thought to be extreme tolerance until I read the above passage I will take with me the next time evil appears in front of me trying to hurt me again and again. I will not waste time trying to understand it. I will take time to read the above passage it makes sense to me. I encourage all who are having a hard time with a family member to take the above passage and keep it close. There is a calming within it. Thank you for posting it.