George James: Relationships – Battling In-Laws


solange-bey-jay-zBy George James, LMFT

Fighting with your in-law isn’t a new thing. It actually happens quite often. Recently we have seen and heard about the heated exchange in an elevator between Jay-Z and Solange. While this incident has brought a lot of attention and speculation to Jay-Z, Beyonce and Solange, it also highlights a complicated issue that many couples and families experience.

The Hope
Ideally, when couples get married or are involved in long-term relationships, there is a hope that everyone, including family on both sides, will get along. The truth is that it can already be challenging for the two people in the relationship to get along, much less their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and even close friends. Even with this, each member of the couple hopes that their partner will love and accept the qualities they love/admire in their family member(s). Some couples will try to orchestrate “meet-cutes” between their partner and family members hoping that they will hit it off. The goal for some is to have the best of both worlds (I love my partner and I love my family) and for others the goal is to keep the peace (I love everyone, especially when they don’t argue or put me in the middle).

The Fear
When the relationship with in-laws goes bad it can create a hostile environment for the couple and make family gatherings difficult. Couples with troubled in-law relationships argue often about related and unrelated issues, most of the time the heart of the argument is an attempt to protect their respective family members. Making decisions about going to family functions (like whose family should we go to for Thanksgiving) can be ticking time bombs. In addition, there are many issues that can create a battling in-laws situation. Some of these issues include loaning money or owing money to family members; thoughts about a cheating partner; having family members live with you or living with family members; or having unsolicited advice about how to live your life (what to do with your partner, how to raise your children or time spent or lack of time spent with family).

The Solution
Many couples go wrong when they allow the in-law struggles to pull them apart. The first way to work on this is to be a united front, a team. In-law issues pull couples apart because the attack on a family member feels like an attack on them. The best way to stay united is to remember that how you talk about your partner’s family feels personal to your partner. There are ways you can say what you are thinking or what you want to do differently with your in-laws without insulting them or belittling them. Some in-laws can be difficult, overwhelming or even a burden. As a couple, it is important to create boundaries and to let your respective families know your boundaries (for example, showing up unexpected is not accepted, family members speaking harshly to your partner is not ok, we will discuss if we ask for money or loan money before making the decision).

Having difficult relationships with your in-laws can negatively impact your relationship. It will not go away without you and your partner working on it. If the battles with your in-laws continue to happen or you have had these battles for a long time, it might be time to get some help. You do not have to do this on your own, but some action is needed to turn your battling in-law situation into the supportive couple & family life you’ve hoped for since the beginning of your relationship.

If you are currently in a relationship where you are having trouble with your in-laws and need some help resolving the conflict in your relationship, find a therapist and let him or her help you by being your neutral party.

George James is a Licensed Couple & Family Therapist
and CEO of George Talks, LLC,
Where Your Relationships Matter!

For more on this and other topics, please visit,

Twitter: @GeorgeTalksLLC
Email: [email protected]

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  1. 1st thing fire the bodyguards for allowing any type of physical contact… 2nd it’s undermining to have any family interfere in anyone’s marriage… 3rd An attack like this on a high profile couple can be vulnerable to future confrontation…

    • @Hiroader2

      Even the body guard was in a tough position because:
      #1. That’s Beyonce’s little sister / aka:Family bottomline.
      #2. What did you prefer the body guard to do to “BEYONCE’S (SISTER)”!!! Bounce her azz around like she’s a dude, put the deathly choke-hold on her, hit her with his big ole fist like he’s some fkn COWARDLY bully! He’s a man dude… he’d also get fired for that too…wink!
      At some point in this you guys need to stop acting like a bunch of weak-lings. Nobody has the right to judge this whole situation but the parties involved, and it should have never leaked to the press at all because its all personal family business.

      Nobody! and I mean “NOBODY” knows the real truth about what went do to cause that altercation for that young lady to stumble out of control the way she did, and actually its nobody’s business but the party involved. Something very very serious has gone down between Bey & Jay, Bey’s actions said a 1000 words, then she left with her sister too.

      • 1.Surely Solage wasn’t paying the personal security salary.. 2. If Jay Z would’ve been caught off guard and his reflex would’ve been put her head thru the elevator wall do you think the bodyguard would’ve done a better job (his job) separating/ restraining them? 2. Where do these people think a man’s strong if he let’s an adult woman physically attack him.. Is that what your suggesting? 3. Women are volunteering for combat duty what would you suggest then don’t shoot back? *The rule is keep your hands to yourself… WHAT EVER THE “REAL” TRUTH WAS, JAY Z DIDN’T LOSE HIS MIND AND START PUMMELING HER … what right did she? (That’s what the police matter consisted of)…

        • @Hiroader2…

          Then he should have called the police right? and please don’t forget he punched a young girl for less then what his sister-in-law did to him. No one called the police, and she had no body-guards to come to her defense at all. There are “LAWS” to sewing and reaping…don’t you think??? What you put out you get back, but when it comes back its always worst then what you did because its about the lessons in life. Humiliation breeds humility humbleness and respect. Jay-Z has sewn a lot of bad-seeds. Jay-z didn’t just hit her back because it was the right thing to do. Jay-z has a “FUTURE AGENDA”, that brother has politics under his sleeve (playing in the political field)… Watch what I tell you!!! I discerned and picked up on his spirit long time ago. He’s got a long way to go from selling drugs to get his career started and referring to all black-women as “BYTCHES” until his daughter Blue Ivy was born.

          Redbone can’t be brought by no man, I’m sold out to God, not RELIGION and all the other BS that goes along with it. I look to the ending results to every situation along with God’s (LAWS CONCERNING MAN)… I can’t do nothing less then what my creator has taught me, and my creator is not the [email protected] church…

      • Keep in mind >unless< Solange was * personally* offended by something Jay did to her person. Then Beyonce' shouldn't let a in-law *undermine* her marriage… If Jay was strong in showing physical restraint, He's weak in letting this in-law dictate his marriage in this way…

        • Brother no matter how you look at it: There are (LAWS TO SEWING & REAPING), you cannot by-pass those “LAWS” no matter how you wanna look at it. Understand this situation by the “LAWS of THE SPIRIT”….

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