6 Mother-In-Law Books To Save Your Relationship Before it Goes Downhill

Published by Slanted Bookshelf Team on

Congratulations! Your child has gotten married, making you a mother-in-law. But what do you do now? You have a new child(son or daughter-in-law) and that comes with new responsibilities and new questions. How should you act around them? What topics of conversation are appropriate? How often should you visit? All of these are important questions. Fortunately, some experts in the field of marriage and family dynamics have some answers for us in a handful of great mother-in-law books.

mother-in-law books
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By taking some time to read about how to be a good mother-in-law, you can avoid a lot of mistakes that mothers-in-law make, which give the role a bad reputation. Taking a few weeks to read an instructional book before or after the wedding can save you years of doubt and mistakes. The good news is, you are here, and you want to learn! By taking the first step in wanting to learn more, you have already made a positive impact in your relationship with your child and his/her spouse.

mother in law and daughter in law sharing food
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The Mother-in-Law Books List

We have compiled a list of the top six books which we think are the best for mothers-in-law to read. Many people who have read these books wish they read them years earlier in the beginning of their relationship as a mother-in-law. Whether you are new to the game, or have been an in-law for decades, there are pearls of wisdom for you here. Let’s take a look at these Mother-in-Law Books.


  1. The Mother-in-Law’s Manual 
  2. The Mother-in-Law Dance
  3. The Twelve Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law
  4. Related By Chance, Family By Choice
  5. Reluctantly Related
  6. Mothers-in-Law vs. Daughters-in-Law : Let There Be Peace

Read on for short descriptions of each book.


Mother and Daughter in Law holding hands
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The Mother-in-Law’s Manual : Proven Strategies for Creating and Maintaining Healthy Relationships With Married Children
By Susan Abel Lieberman, Ph.D.
This manual is the perfect gift for every new (and old) mother-in-law. It is the top selling book on Amazon for mothers-in-law. Dr. Abel writes about the all too common situation where a mother suddenly realizes that her son doesn’t need her anymore, and when they talk it is not like they used to. He has a new woman in his life. The author discusses some of the common myths and explains how you could create a new relationship with your son. Her advice is to frame his marriage as a positive thing for your family.

Lieberman is very honest in what daughters-in-law typically think of their husband’s mother – without exception they want them to butt out of their lives. She addresses this brutal truth and provides a positive path forward. Dr. Susan Abel Lieberman is funny, smart and insightful. This book is full of sensible tips on how to approach sticky situations.


The Mother-in-Law Dance : Can Two Women Love the Same Man and Still Get Along?
By Annie Chapman
Most mother-in-laws want to embrace their daughter-in-laws, but feel that nothing they do seems to bring them closer. Coming from two different backgrounds, these two often have a lot to work through. This is a great book on how to mend the relationship before it becomes broken. Chapman offers new ways of looking at your relationship to overcome the resentment which may build up. She offers a religious perspective that involves calling God into your life for help. 


The Twelve Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law
By Haywood Smith
Haywood Smith is a two-time New York Times bestselling author. She writes to amuse as well as to inform. The Twelve Sacred Traditions is a great gift for a friend whose son is getting married. It is sprinkled with anecdotes, cartoons, and quotes to make it a fun and easy read. This short book is all about remembering to behave as respectfully as possible when you are a mother-in-law. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Nobody gets any brownie points for loving people who are easy to love. Difficult people are God’s sandpaper. They’ll rub those rough edges off you and let you prove your faith.”


Related By Chance, Family By Choice : Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships
By Deb DeArmond
Related By Chance, Family By Choice is unique in that it is based on relationship research. Real-life family stories are taken from extensive studies. Deb DeArmond is adept at weaving her own stories into this research, making it not only an educational read, but an engaging one. She explains why mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships have been notoriously portrayed as “minefields” of heartache, competition and regret.

Thankfully, she presents a fresh, positive, biblically-based approach to a subject that is fundamental to harmony in families. DeArmond understands that It’s hard to let your son go, and has felt that sinking feeling of knowing he is now her husband. She leads with an emphasis on empathy, and provides ways to initiate a conversation, while still knowing where your boundaries should be.


Reluctantly Related : Secrets to Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law
By Deanna Brann
Reluctantly Related is also unique in that it contains a diagnostic test to see if you exhibit any negative patterns of behaviors. The book details four types of mothers-in-law, four types of daughters-in-law, and 3 types of sons. You will definitely recognize which one of these characters exists in your new family. Brann has a humorous take on things, and gives her characters amusing names (Doubting Donna, Weird Wendy). This is a very easy read. Brann provides good common-sense actionable items without having to dive into psychology or science.


Mothers-in-Law vs. Daughters-in-Law : Let There Be Peace
By Elisabeth Graham
Our last book in the list has a strong spiritual focus to solving relationship issues. Graham provides real experiences from both the mother-in-law side as well as the daughter-in-law side. She does this expertly by using her perspective in dealing with her mother-in-law to make her a better mother-in-law! This will help you in both areas. Consider this an excellent bridal shower gift to both wife to be and mother-in-law to be. If your daughter can read this while she is engaged or early in her marriage, it can prevent issues before they ever arise.


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You Can Do It!

That is our comprehensive list of top resources for mothers-in-law to read. I hope you found something useful here. Any investment into your relationship with an in-law is a good investment. When your son or daughter marries, two families will come together, and there will be bumps along the way. Just by being here, I know that you care, and you are taking active steps to make your family relationships stronger! Happy reading! Let me know which book(s) you liked!


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