My family and friends and I have a long-running joke about the close relationship my husband and parents share. I tell people that my parents secretly like my husband more than me. For instance, my mom calls me every time my husband e-mails her ("Oh, I just received the sweetest note from Ike! He is just sooo wonderful!"), and if there were ever a dispute between the two of us, I am quite sure my parents would choose his side. Not only do my parents believe he is an absolute prince, they love him like their own son.

Of course, these jokes are mostly tongue-in-cheek. I know that my parents love us equally, and am delighted that they adore my husband. It is a gift when your parents are so close to your spouse, and it is a gift I do not take for granted.

Not every in-law relationship is that natural and easy. The whole concept of joining families in marriage can be downright awkward. When my brother first married his wife, I did not know her well and we are very different, so it was funny to have a "sister" with whom I had little relational history. Likewise, I had almost no relationship with my husband's sister when we married. At the time, she was living on the other side of the country, so the transition probably felt clumsy to her as well.

Marriages produce new family members who may not feel like family at all. I was reminded of this awkward dynamic upon learning of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries's divorce. The media circus has been preoccupied with the reasons for their divorce, but I was more interested in the Kardashian family's response. Like any good family, each member came forward to express their full support of Kim. They were behind Kim and her decisions "unconditionally."

What I didn't hear from any of the Kardashian ...

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