Dealing with Sibling In Laws and Extended Family

Dollar Photo - Family Reunion“How can married Christians, deal graciously with problematic siblings and sibling in laws?”

That is the question we’d like to address.

Each year, we receive quite a few emails, sent to us from those who are married. Many of them are encountering difficulties in dealing with sibling in laws. The same is true of those with interfering sisters and brothers. Most of these siblings are very demanding, and mean-spirited. They can also 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. They expect him to physically help them repeatedly at the sacrifice of his own family.

Spouse VS. In Law Siblings

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


According to an article posted on, “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 —


Video Regarding Dealing With Siblings

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”:

Scriptural Reminder

When you have to deal in-law and sibling issues, bear in mind what is written to us in the Bible in 1 Peter 3:8-17:

All of you are to be like-minded, sympathetic, love one another, and 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 welcome any wise, Biblically based advice you could give to help those who are having marital problems because of sibling in laws or extended family members. If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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

  1. Any advice given would be greatly appreciated. I have been married for a little over three years now and my husband absolutely loathes my nephew who is 8 and has issues with my brother. I am incredibly close with my family and this is breaking my heart. The reason he feels this way is because my nephew can be rude and my brother does not punish him or call him on it at all. For example, last night we were eating dinner and my husband saw my nephew unscrew the salt and pour it all over my steak with no apologies. My brother as well as myself did not see him unscrew it. In any case, my brother did not scold him or comment on the issue which infuriated my husband.

    My husband hates the fact that my brother does not have the manners that my husband does and is constantly reminding me how he will never like him even though my brother is respectful to him verbally. However when he stays the night he leaves the toilet seat up and doesn’t urinate sitting etc. My husband considers this rude. My husband and his parents are curious towards the both of them but really do not like them and this hurts my feelings. I wish they could accept my family and not be so hateful and opposed to them just because they are different people with different views on essentially everything.

    My brother has no idea my husband feels this way, but it’s getting worse and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep the peace. I don’t know what to do anymore. Please help any advice would be appreciated thanks.

  2. Help! Sister A married john Doe. Two children. Then divorced. Sister B then marries John Doe. Four children. It was a very rough time for our family. Sister B couldn’t live with the choice she made. Trying to please God and self. Our pastor would not marry them as he was wise and saw the impending heartbreaks. Sister B died of an overdose. It has been 20 years and the pain remains. Sister C lost her husband three years ago. She announced she is marrying the same John Doe. Please provide comment and scripture. This nightmare is more than I can handle. Thank you and bless you for your service to others.

    1. Find out if it’s a generational curse running in the family and break that curse. Listen to Derek Prince breaking curses on youtube. Be prayerful and trust God, I pray that God will see you through.

  3. Boy oh boy. I’m reading all these comments and I feel so hurt. I think that in-laws can put such a strain on marriage relationships. This is just so unfair for anybody to have to endure that type of in-law abuse. Personally, I believe that God is very displeased with those types of behaviors. Having said that, I’ve had my own issues with my husband’s older sister. She created such a stir between my husband and I last August two days before my birthday. It seemed like he didn’t even care that I was getting ready to celebrate my birthday. He felt that it was his obligation to protect his sister’s privacy and so he kept on lying to me about an issue with her for several days. The more I asked him, the more he denied. All along I knew he was lying. So I kept probing and letting him dig a deeper hole for himself.

    When I got to the highest point of my frustration and anger, I demanded that he use his phone to call his sister so I could straighten out the issue with both of them hearing what I had to say. Oh my gosh, when I asked him to call her it’s like all the life went out if his body cause he knew I was on to them and they were caught. I put the phone on speaker and I let that woman have it that day. I let my husband have it as well while I had her on the phone confronting him.

    Since that day neither of them have pulled that type of stunt. In fact she is even afraid to call my home while I’m there. I’ve seen text messages of her asking my husband if I am home just before she calls. My husband knows that I don’t tolerate any nonsense – not from him or his family. And Missy, she knows to respect me. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down and just stop everyone who tries to overstep the boundaries you’ve set for your marriage. By the way that includes the husband or wife who attempts to trivialize those boundaries as well.

  4. What about the scenario where the sister-in-law is the supposed Christian and has completely cut her husband’s siblings out of their lives? My sister in law is supposed to be a good born-again Christian woman and she treats her husband’s brothers and sisters like dung on the bottom of her shoes. granted all of us are not born again Christians, but when we visit we do nothing to offend. As someone newly walking the path of Christianity, I am at a loss of what to do with my sister-in-law. I don’t find that her treatment of her husband’s family, including his mother, is very Christian at all. She has gone out of her way to prevent his family from seeing their children and talking to him.

    1. It’s important to note that her family is welcome to all their family events while my brother’s family is excluded. My brother does not know some of what she does. he assumes, probably because she lies, that we don’t come because we are unable, when in actuality we do not receive the invitation. None of us want to tell him that we actually didn’t get the invitation because they have a lot of children together. I miss my nieces and nephews but don’t feel welcome to visit with them.

  5. I am 30 female. I have one daughter. My husband, the only person who earns money for the whole family. My sister in law is divorced and younger brother in law is 23 years old and he is doing nothing. always at home and enjoying his life, I told my husband that his brother should be work somewhere…but he shout at me and said who u are and why u interfere..he is a kid and you dont worry about him, he is my brother…I was shocked and felt very bad and I thought I have no right to talk about his family even his brother always disrespect me at home all the time. he is misbehaving with me. But my husband didnt trust me, he trusts his family only and all the money he gave to his family. I want to ask you friends what can I do now? Why he didnt understand me, I am his wife not a servant who serves all the time. please tell me. I want to die

    1. I am a troubled woman, who has never been in love since being married. Firstly I thought I would be happily accepted with my in-law family. Soon after getting married text messages started to flock in requesting money and financial assistance. Trying to be a good daughter/sister in law, I did what I could. This was the first damage in our marriage. Secondly my husband always and still puts his family first. I don’t know why he married me then because if you love your wife you leave and cleave so you become one. This was not the case he continued to deal with family issues without me being involved. As though that was not disrespecting I continued to receive rather emotional financial demands.

      Being pregnant was the third hurt for me. I thought my husband and I would be excited together and spend money on our girl and make sure she had what was needed before her birth. But no, there was no excitement. All I was told was we will get it later or she won’t need that. My first child… I thought it hurt me so much that I wrote a message to my sister in law to explain. Fourth mistake if I had know I wouldn’t have. All I said was if possible can demands of home be put aside so we could get ready for our coming baby.

      As things progressed nothing changed despite having my own home there was no boundaries when it came to my inlaws. I feel it’s my husband’s duty to keep his home his home, that anything should be discussed between the two of us not between his family, but he has refused despite telling him how I feel.

      Fifth my sister in law, I tried to be close and create a relationship with her, texting, calling and inviting her to come over or we could go out, but no luck, excuse after excuse. I moved back here purely because my husband said she would support me with my baby but not even one day has she come to do so. She is only 45 min away and still if I don’t text she won’t.

      I kept on with hope till the day I walked in other bedroom and saw her going through my bank statements!!! How disrespectful can a person be. I lost trust in her because what else does she do behind the scenes? I however reminded myself I am a child of God and pretended it was a one off but to my shock she is older, been married, and should be helping and advising her brother how to be a good husband to me rather they continue to communicate via each other excluding me in their plans.

      They don’t know how much I know cause I can see the messages at times but what kind of woman arranges things with her brother in my home without my knowledge. How disrespectful can that be?? My husband should have set the boundaries and he chooses not to and as for my marriage it just stands on cliff about to fall off. This is only half the story the rest is so shocking that one would just wonder…

  6. (Mexico) first of all I’m sorry for my English it is not my native language but I will try to express myself as good as possible. I have been married less than a year but my husband and I have been together for 7 years. At the begging my siblings one man and two women didn’t like me at all I know it because of the way they behaved with me.

    My two sisters in law preferred their other’s brother’s girlfriend than me because she met them before. She was always compared with me even when they didn’t say it I felt it that way. Then something happened between this girl and my sisters in law and they became closer to me. My husband’s oldest sister became one of my best friends; she talked to me all the time etc.

    So because of that my brother in law started hating me more. He actually treated me different when my husband is near. My husband seems not to notice it and I have not told him anything because I know and he has shown me that he prefers his family before myself. Since we got married my relationship with my sisters in law has changed a lot he even treats me really bad in front of my parents in law and they pretend they are playing or jocking.

    They all are my age and I don’t understand why they behave like little children in front of my husband. When they come to my home they touch everything. They eat my food my husband buys them everything to make them happy. He is nice with me too. But I think he hasn’t understood that know I’m his family. My dad and brothers dont mess with any of us like my husband’s family. I Don’t know what to do. I really don’t want him to choose between his family and me because it’s wrong and of course I know he would choose them.

  7. I had to borrow from my mom because I was overpaid in severance and needed $2040 in a very short time. My mom lent the money to me and the agreement was for me to pay her back $50-$100 a month. She told my sister about it and now every time I see my mom she hounds me about the money because my sister feels I should have it paid back already. I just got the money about 9 months back and have already paid $940 back to my mom.

    The clincher was that on Friday my sister, her husband, and my nephew went to see Mom and my sister and her husband sat there bashing me that I hadn’t paid it all back yet and that they are going to sit down and talk to me about it.

    1.) They have overstepped their boundary in something that doesn’t concern them! 2.) To also add my nephew into it is totally wrong! 3.) I’m very hurt! I’m single with no one and on a fixed income! My sister has a husband, three children, and now a grandson! She has it all and now in she feels it’s right to downgrade and humiliate her sister because I needed some financial help!

  8. My husband has a nephew that doesn’t like me. I did like him until he started to seem as if he was undercover, holding some type if grudge against me for some reason, I don’t know. I never met him before, never did anything to him, or for him to dislike me. He visits all the time, even when it makes me uncomfortable. He calls back to back. It makes me believe his nephew is doing it on purpose.

    My husband knows it makes me uncomfortable. We’ve been arguing for the past 4 days about his visit but I’m just getting him tossed in my face like I’m no one. I feel as if I’m not being respected. When my family did come around in the past my husband didn’t like any of my family and asked me to tell them to stop visiting often, but they just stopped coming, period. I feel like he should do the same for us, and for peace.

  9. My brother and sister-in-law have cut all ties with certain family members over the SCOTUS gay marriage decision. They post articles on Facebook calling homosexuals pedophiles, try to engage family members in Facebook debates/arguments, and become disrespectful toward family friends at family events.

    It’s all very passive-aggressive, and when people who have been unfriended or treated disrespectfully try to repair the relationship, they have no specific reason for treating certain people is way, yet they post these prayers for God to continue to help them love like He loves. They are poisoning my nieces and nephews against family members who have done nothing except not share some of the same beliefs.

    My SIL’s own sister committed adultery no less than 10 times with about as many men, but that is apparently no big deal. Their self-righteous attitude is embarrassing. As a Christian, I’ve felt compelled to apologize to family members for my brother and SIL’s disrespect. No one will tell them to knock it off because we are sure they will keep the kids from us if we ask them to examine their own hearts and behavior before spewing hatred and judgement on everyone else.

    Family events are tense, and I see my parents and grandparents (all Christians with Bible-based values) being hurt by my brother and SIL’s self-righteous actions. I need advice. My prayer has been that God will calm my heart enough to ride the drama out, as my SIL is prone to start drama frequently.

  10. My husband of 27 years was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s three years ago. He has a sister who he was never close to, but he received a private letter from her today offering to help him write a will. She urged him to act quickly. We already have a will –when we die, everything goes to our children. When their parents died, they left everything to my husband. He signed it all over to his sister. While not consulted, I was totally fine with that. When it comes to our immediate family, however, I’m not okay with my sister-in-law’s meddling. It seems predatory and I need help in knowing how to deal with it.

  11. 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???

  12. 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???

  13. 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?

  14. 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!!

  15. 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.