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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I was so upset by the letter from the mother who will miss out if she skips her daughter's wedding that I'm writing to you for the first time ever.

Many years ago I was in a similar situation, so opposed to my daughter's forthcoming marriage that I canceled the ceremony AFTER the invitations had been mailed. Shortly after, they told me they were going to get married with or without my support.

I remained adamantly opposed until my dear wife asked me if I wanted to lose my daughter. When I exclaimed, "Of course not!" she said, "Well, you will if you keep on like this." Thank God I took my sweetheart's advice and escorted my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. My daughter and I have always remained very close.

To that mother who is judging her daughter by the moral standards that she grew up with 30 to 40 years ago, "Judge not lest ye yourself be judged," and "Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone." Mother: You don't have to approve of your daughter's conduct, but don't lose her through rejection. -- TOM WATTLE, ARCATA, CALIF.

DEAR MR. WATTLE: Thank you for your heartfelt letter. I have received a blizzard of letters from readers arguing both sides of the question. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: What century is this woman living in? She should realize that her daughter is apparently old enough to make a decision to live with a man prior to jumping into a marriage that may not work out. I lived with my husband for 4 1/2 years before our wedding day. We have been married for 13 1/2 years and look forward to many more.

I'd also like to tell this woman who was concerned about the "strict" Catholic Church not addressing this subject my feelings: We were married in a Catholic church in my hometown but had to attend pre-Cana classes with a priest in the area where we live. This man had the gall to tell us that our marriage wouldn't last two years. This just goes to show that priests (and the Catholic Church) don't know everything.

If this woman continues with her negative attitude, she will alienate her daughter and future son-in-law. She should swallow her pride, trust her daughter to make the right decisions, and enjoy what should be a happy time for all.

Keep up the good work, Abby. Your column makes my day! -- MARYANNE WALTON, DOVER, DEL.

DEAR ABBY: "Disapproving Mother" said that her daughter's behavior reflected a lack of morals in young people and her daughter doesn't respect or care what she thinks. I disagree!

The daughter and her fiance obviously care very much what her parents think if the fiance went so far as to ask the parents for the daughter's hand in marriage.

I say the daughter would be better off without a whining and controlling mother passing judgment on her, especially on her wedding day. The only thing that really matters is that the bride and groom are very much in love. If the mother is too wrapped up in her moral code of behavior to care if her daughter is happy, then she has forfeited her rights as a mother. -- UNDER 40 IN GAINESVILLE, FLA.

DEAR ABBY: For the "Disapproving Mother" who is Catholic: Christ said, "Go and sin no more" to the whore who was caught in the act.

The Lord's Prayer says, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us."

Christ told Peter to forgive 70 times 7.

This "Disapproving Mother" must take her hurt and worry to the cross and leave them there. That is what her strict Catholic Church would tell her to do. -- ROCHELLE VANDENBURG

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