Shirley and I have been married for a bit more than 28 years, and together a bit more than 30. We both admit that it wasn't always peaches and cream, but our marriage has always been one of mutual respect for one another. We still have plenty of laughs and still weather the occasional hardship, but we're still in love. And little did I know that one element of our relationship has been a contributing factor to our longevity warding off that little thing called divorce. What is it? The answer: A good relationship with the in-laws.

Of course it was a bit sketchy at the start. When Shirley first introduced me to her mom and dad, I got the skeptical, 'hairy eyeball.' Who can blame them! She brought home a half Native American who already had been married once with a couple of kids in tow.

Yep, it was a bit nerve wracking for all of us, but my blue-collar roots and ability to turn wrenches, handle a chainsaw, dig in the dirt, and just work hard without complaint appealed to her farming parents. In no time at all we got along great.

Moral of the story: If you want your marriage to last, and although it's not always easy, be sure to build and maintain a relationship with your in-laws. I love mine.

Here's the story that explains it a bit more...