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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been divorced for three years. My ex-husband and I remain on good terms. Our 13-year-old son lives with me.

I was wondering, Abby, if it is appropriate to display a wedding picture of my ex and me in the living room. -- JANICE IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR JANICE: If looking at the wedding picture gives you and your son pleasure and brings back memories of the "good times," there's certainly no harm in displaying it. However, if and when you begin a serious relationship, I'd recommend putting it away -- or giving it to your son for his room.

My instincts tell me you still have romantic feelings for your ex. If he feels the same way, get joint professional counseling and see what develops. It is not unheard of for people to remarry.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are planning a small, intimate wedding in September. He's one of three children. One of his sisters is planning an October wedding. His other sister is being married next month.

His parents have asked us to put our wedding plans on "hold" until both of his sisters are married because 1) they are older, 2) they were engaged first, and 3) three weddings in one year is a lot for one family to handle. Incidentally, Abby, we do not live together and we're paying for our own wedding.

We do not want to wait until 2001 to marry. Are we selfish to want our wedding the way we want it? I'd appreciate your perspective. -- UNCERTAIN IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR UNCERTAIN: Since you're planning and paying for your own wedding, and the groom's family has limited participation in most weddings, I see no reason to postpone the happy event. To put a positive spin on it, your future in-laws will probably refer to the year 2000 as "The Year of the Weddings" in their family.

DEAR ABBY: Please print "Ten Commandments for a Mother-in-Law." They have been a guiding light for me for years. Actually, the title should probably be "Ten Commandments for ALL In-Laws." -- GRATEFUL MOTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR GRATEFUL: You could be right. They contain much wisdom. Read on:


Thou shalt love, honor and respect the new couple.

Thou shalt allow them complete independence.

Thou shalt speak only kindly and loyally about them.

Thou shalt not find fault.

Thou shalt not visit them too frequently, and never enter their home without knocking.

Thou shalt not expect them to visit you too often.

Thou shalt not give advice unless requested.

Thou shalt not mention how much you look forward to grandchildren.

Thou shalt respect their taste in home decorating, though it differs from your own.

Thou shalt petition daily the Heavenly Father, in whose love they abide, for their happiness.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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