DEAR Abby: I just read the letter from "Don't Want to Be His Daughter-in-Law" and had to respond.
My husband is a wonderful, kind, caring, responsible man. However his father is crude, rude, and has made sexual advances to me.
From my personal experience, you CAN have a good, strong marriage, even if your father-in-law is horrid. Our solution was to invite our friends to our wedding and ignore my future father-in-law's guest list, serve no alcohol at the reception, treat him kindly without letting him walk all over us, and after the wedding -- we moved! We now live two hours away. Most important, her fiance must stand up for her, back her up, and not be cowed by his father. -- HAPPY WIFE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HAPPY WIFE: Thank you for some excellent suggestions. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: That bride-to-be and her fiance should get premarital counseling to work out how to cope with his family. He may also have some problems down the road being a good husband and father, since he did not have a good role model. Counseling and some good self-help books about being the child of an alcoholic will also help. Also, they should attend Al-Anon meetings and learn how to say no to the alcoholic when it comes to their lives.
And last but not least, I recommend she stop calling them "drunks." They are "alcoholics" suffering from a terrible disease that often has its roots in genetics. -- KATHARINE IN FREDERICKSBURG, VA.
DEAR KATHARINE: I won't quarrel with you on that one. And your idea of premarital counseling is a good one. Another helpful resource might be ACA -- Adult Children of Alcoholics. (It is also in the phone book.)
DEAR ABBY: I am 23 and will be married next September. Usually the father of the bride walks her down the aisle, but I want my father's brother to be the one to do the honors.
When I mentioned it to my father's wife, she told me he'd be very upset if I asked my uncle and not him. However, there's a reason why I want to ask my uncle. Many years ago, he lost his wife and two little girls in a tragic accident. I feel that asking him to walk me down the aisle would make him feel that although his daughters are gone, he can still have that moment every father dreams of when he brings a daughter into this world.
I view it this way: My father still has his daughter to see and talk to whenever he wants; my uncle doesn't. What do you think of my idea? I have many months to plan this, and I want my father's help as well. -- UNDECIDED IN VERMONT
DEAR UNDECIDED: You have a heart of gold and are well-intentioned. However, as much as you might wish to, you cannot change history. Your father should walk you down the aisle. If you want your uncle to be a part of your wedding, please consider another role for him. Perhaps he could be part of the wedding party, or do a reading during the service. That way there will be no ill feelings on the part of anyone on this happy occasion.
CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: Have a Merry Christmas, but please keep in mind: If you're drinking, don't drive; if you're driving, don't drink.
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