Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Our son-in-law -- I'll call him Mack -- has become very antagonistic toward my husband and me recently. At first it was subtle, but it is getting worse. Mack and our daughter, "Gina," live about five hours away, so we do not see them often. It is very puzzling.

We have always adored Mack, but now it seems he does everything he can think of to annoy us. For instance, he now refuses to attend church with us when he and Gina visit our home. Numerous other little things also irritate me, and I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with him.

Frankly, Abby, it has reached the point where I no longer want to be around him or have him in my home.

Should I do anything about this, or let it alone? -- J.A. IN W.VA.

DEAR J.A.: It's important for in-laws to have at least a civil relationship with their children's spouses, so please try to get to the bottom of this change in your son-in-law's behavior.

Communication is usually the key to successful resolution of family problems. Call Mack and ask him to level with you about why he's treating you differently. What he says may hurt, but it can also give you a basis on which to begin mending the rift -- if there is one. If you can work this out, you will all be winners, especially if Mack and Gina have children in the future.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, you printed the job description for a best man. Will you please print a job description for the maid/matron of honor, or suggest a book that would explain her duties? -- MATRON OF HONOR

DEAR MATRON: My booklet titled "How to Have a Lovely Wedding" explains not only the duties of the best man, but also those of the other members of the wedding party, as well as countless details that need to be attended to in order to have a memorable wedding. However, since you asked, following are the duties of the maid/matron of honor:

"Usually the sister of the bride is chosen; or if she has no sister, then her closest friend.

"The groom's sister need not be maid or matron of honor unless she is the bride's close friend.

"She generally entertains for the bride before the wedding.

"She attends rehearsal, assists the bride in dressing for the ceremony, provides the 'something borrowed and something blue,' looks after the guests and clergyperson, and stands in the receiving line at the reception.

"During the ceremony, she will hold the bridegroom's ring (if it is a double-ring ceremony) and hand it to the bride at the proper time.

"She will also assist in arranging the bride's veil after the ceremony.

"Don't forget, she is essential as a witness."

DEAR ABBY: I just had to respond to "Mr. Forgettable." I, too, have one of those forgettable faces.

I can be standing three feet from people I have known for years, and they don't recognize me. So I have made it work for me. I am a private investigator in the Deep South. And when people find out that I am a P.I., they are so interested in what I do, they don't forget me anymore. -- HOPES TO STAY FORGETTABLE, GULFPORT, MISS.

DEAR HOPES: You are clever to have turned what some might consider a handicap into an asset. I'll wager you are very adept at your profession.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600