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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a huge problem. My fiance and I have been together for three years and are being married in October. The problem is my soon-to-be mother-in-law. She is a great lady and we get along very well; however, she insists on accompanying us on our honeymoon! She keeps pushing the idea of making it a family trip.

My fiance told her the honeymoon is going to be just for us. He tried to tell her we all could go someplace together another time, but she got upset. She abruptly got off the phone with him, saying she was "only joking," but she'd work on me.

This is a nightmare. She's normally a pleasant and reasonable person whom I like a lot. That's why I don't understand why she can't see this is a huge intrusion.

Please help. I don't want to have to change my honeymoon destination to someplace she may not want to go. –- BRIDE-TO-BE IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: It's not a matter of finding a destination where your future mother-in-law doesn't want to go. This "great lady" seems to have control issues or a serious case of separation anxiety. She's dead set on going wherever her son goes. She could benefit from counseling.

Although I have printed letters in the past from couples who included extended family on their honeymoon –- and a good time was had by all –- unless all parties are equally enthusiastic, it is extremely presumptuous for an in-law to continue to harp on it once the suggestion has been rejected.

Unless you want your marriage to turn into a family affair, you and your fiance must stand your ground.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is expecting a child soon and plans to use our surname because her husband's name is foreign and could be interpreted to mean something naughty in English. She wants to spare her child the embarrassment of being teased when she gets to school.

There is an uproar over this among the grandparents. Our son-in-law says it's OK with him. Is this now an accepted practice, or is it something new? –- DESPERATE GRANDMA

DEAR GRANDMA: It's something relatively new. It started when women began hyphenating their names and adding them to their husband's. Some husbands also began hyphenating their names to coincide with the wife's.

As your letter proves, there is more than one answer to the question, "What's in a name?" –- pride, tradition, social standing, money or misery, depending on what the name is.

DEAR ABBY: Recently a reader asked if a fifth anniversary was too soon to renew wedding vows. You told her to go for it. I agree with you.

I have a collection of ladies' magazines from the 1930s and '40s. During those uncertain times, it was fashionable to celebrate 50th anniversaries, but they included 50 months, 50 weeks –- or even 50 days!

Bring on the cake and punch! In these uncertain times, any celebration of love, commitment, family, faith, joy or happiness should not be missed! – GAIL A. THOMPSON, LIBERTY MO.

P.S. We were married 30 years last November.

DEAR GAIL: I agree. Belated happy anniversary to you and your lucky husband.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO MY READERS: Thanks to you, writing this column is a love-in every day of the year!

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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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