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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem and need your advice. My husband wants me to lie to his parents, and I would feel uncomfortable in this lie. He says this "white" lie is necessary if we are to maintain a harmonious relationship with them. We don't see them often, so perpetuating the lie would not be too difficult, but I feel guilty about it just the same, and I wonder if the web of deceit we are weaving will entangle us one day.

We have been attending a church that is not the same faith as my in-laws. If they knew it, they would be very hurt -- especially since they want their grandchildren to grow up in their faith.

Both churches are Christian churches, and there are more similarities than differences. Because of these similarities, I think my in-laws would get over our attending this church if they knew; my husband disagrees.

I like this church, especially the programs for our children. My husband, however, feels a loyalty to the religion in which he was raised. Because of this ambiguity, he does not want to tell his parents because they might believe he has abandoned his faith, which would not be entirely true.

Abby, do you think it would be OK to tell a lie if it prevents hurt feelings and friction within the family? My husband thinks so. -- ANYTOWN, U.S.A.

DEAR ANYTOWN: You and your husband are adults and should not feel it is necessary to lie to his parents for any reason. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" (Sir Walter Scott)

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I recently bought a house together. We share all the cooking and cleaning. Prior to "us," he was living with a girl for 10 years, and I was married for 15 years.

His former girlfriend was completely domestic, and I'm totally the opposite. I'm a successful small-business owner with a very busy schedule.

Recently he asked me to hem a pair of his work pants. I said that I'd have my seamstress do it, but it would cost $5. He refused to pay for it, saying his former girlfriend would be more than happy to do it for nothing.

I am furious! I'd rather pay $100 than allow her to think she's taking care of my man's needs. He refuses to fight over this and is ordering a new pair of pants. What should I do? -- SUZIE IN CANADA

DEAR SUZIE: When the new pants arrive, if they solve the problem -- give him a hug. However, if they don't solve the problem, don't needle him. Since sewing is not one of your many talents, when the new pants arrive, quietly take them to your seamstress. Five dollars is a small price to pay to let sleeping dogs lie.

DEAR ABBY: I hope "A True Friend" reconsiders trying to help her friend who wears heavy makeup by telling her about it "for her own good."

I have an attractive, intelligent friend who also wears very heavy makeup. I had often wondered why she didn't realize that the shade was too dark and was applied a little too thick, but thank God, I was never so bold as to mention it to her.

One afternoon I went to her home unannounced, and she came to the door without makeup. Much to my surprise, she had a bright-red port-wine birthmark that covered half her face.

Abby, instead of suggesting that they go together for a professional makeup to learn the "latest tricks," your suggestion to accept her for the inner qualities that make her special would have been sufficient ... and is darn good advice for all of us. -- A TRUE FRIEND, TOO

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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