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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: For the two years I've been married to "John," I have known his parents wished he had married someone other than me. They have never accepted me or tried to get to know me as a daughter-in-law. Family is important to me. All I ever hoped was that they'd give me half a chance.

I've told John how I feel. He has yet to stand up for me. What upsets me is his mom and dad are nice to my face and in John's presence, but when he isn't around they ignore me. It's like I'm invisible.

My husband is in the military. During the past year he has been away on active duty, his parents have never once invited me to spend a holiday or any other time with them. I am always the one to reach out. John is due home next month, and I know my in-laws will try to "make nice" with me for his benefit -– but it's all fake.

If they truly wanted to get to know me, they would have tried while I was alone. (I live less than a mile from them.) I am sad, hurt and angry about the way I've been treated in my husband's absence. I love him more than anything, but my biggest fear is that when we're reunited, my feelings toward his folks will have a spillover effect on our marriage. What can be done, Abby? -- MISERABLE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW IN NORFOLK, VA.

DEAR MISERABLE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: When your husband returns, impress upon him the fact that his parents never called or invited you to join them in his absence. It's a shame to have to put him in the middle, but these are his parents and if they'll listen to anybody, it's most likely him.

In the meantime, develop other emotional resources with other military families. When a loved one goes on active duty, it's not unusual that those left behind are on an emotional roller-coaster. Other wives (and husbands) can appreciate how you feel. Perhaps you can support each other.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Harvey," and I became engaged over the holidays. We are beginning to plan our wedding. Harvey was raised Jewish. I was raised Catholic. We envisioned a ceremony with both a priest and a rabbi.

However, Harvey's parents have informed us that they will not attend if a priest is present. One solution might be to be married by a justice of the peace, but my parents want a "man of God" to preside.

Harvey and I are willing to do whatever it takes to please our parents, but we are having a difficult time reaching a compromise. Also, my parents are paying for the entire wedding, so I'm not sure if that gives them more "say" in the matter or not. Please help. -- MARRIAGE BOUND AND IN A BIND

DEAR MARRIAGE BOUND: Before you and Harvey make any more plans, it might be helpful for both sets of parents to get together socially. If there is no "meeting of the minds," I urge you and your fiance to get premarital counseling –- preferably from a nondenominational counselor. The problems you have encountered with Harvey's parents are just the beginning. You and he must come to a clear understanding now about how your children will be raised. If it's anything other than Jewish, I see major family problems and conflicts ahead for you because of his parents' stance.

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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