Communication professor researching in-law relationships
The Wall Street Journal
By Elizabeth Bernstein
Jim Brown knew he was in trouble before his mother finished asking the question. "Am I a better cook than your wife?" she asked, calmly stirring a pot on the stove in her kitchen.
With his wife, Joy, standing next to him, Mr. Brown stammered and stuttered. He prayed—"for a trap door to appear," he says. Finally, he did the only thing he could think to do: Tell the truth. "I said that my wife is a better cook," the 50-year-old owner of a Duncanville, Texas, auto-repair shop says.
The fallout? "Biblical," he says. "There was wailing. Gnashing of teeth." Even his wife got mad—telling him that he had been insensitive to his mother.

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