Experts say one of the most complicated and stressful relationships is the one between a wife and her mother-in-law. So, ladies: To help keep the peace, here are some things you should never say to your mother-in-law, according to psychotherapist Dr. Deanna Brann, and her book Reluctantly Related:

  • First, never say: “I didn’t ask for your opinion.” Our expert says it’s normal for in-laws to give unsolicited advice, especially when it comes to their grandkids. But saying “I didn’t ask for your opinion” makes you sound defensive, and will make them defensive, too. Instead, Dr. Brann says assume your mother in-law’s intentions are good, and say “thank you,” then do your own thing anyway. 

  • The 2nd thing to never say to your mother-in law: “Why didn’t you teach your son (blank)?” Like asking why she never taught your husband how to be respectful. Dr. Brann says the problem with blaming your mother-in-law for your husband’s shortcomings is that it prevents your husband from taking responsibility for his own actions. So, whatever issues you have with your husband, they should stay between you and your husband.

  • Also, never say this to your mother-in-law: “We’re too busy to see you.” Dr. Brann says when a parent hears the words “too busy,” it makes them feel like they’re being “cut out” of their children’s lives. It also creates unrealistic expectations, because they’re going to think the moment you’re not busy, you’ll be over right away. Instead, talk to your husband, and come up with a realistic schedule for when you can visit your in-laws.

  • One more thing to never say to your mother-in-law: “It’s better if your son talks to you.” Our expert says it’s one thing if there’s a private issue that your husband needs to deal with, but he should never do all the talking for both of you. Otherwise, your in-laws are going to think you’re avoiding them, and your husband will resent you for always putting him in the middle. Bottom line: The reality of being married is that you’re part of a new family, and sooner or later, you need to learn how to talk to your in-laws.