DEAR ABBY: My husband and I just found out that his daughter and her boyfriend duped everyone -- including us -- with a formal, traditional wedding ceremony, but the "marriage" is not legal. They had no intention of being legally wed, but felt that because they are having a baby, they were entitled to a formal wedding.
We paid a large amount of money to attend this wedding, Abby, including gifts and a bridal shower. When confronted, they showed no remorse for their deception. In fact, they are extremely arrogant about it. They say it's their personal business and consider themselves "married in the eyes of God."
I am furious over this scam, which affects more than 100 family members and friends. Please advise. -- DECEIVED IN ARIZONA
DEAR DECEIVED: Usually when couples are married in a "formal, traditional" wedding ceremony, the clergyperson or other officiant asks the couple -- and their witnesses -- to sign a marriage certificate. How could this not have happened?
"Marriages in the eyes of God" usually involve special circumstances such as seniors who are in danger of losing pension benefits if they marry in a civil ceremony. I don't blame you for being furious at the deception, which was nothing more than a gift grab. And, embarrassing as it may be, you should inform the others who were also "taken" -- better they hear it from you than think you were part of the deception.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I share a joint checking account with both checks and debit cards. When she makes purchases or writes checks, she doesn't record her purchases in the check ledger that we keep at the home computer.
I am the one who does the family finances, and if I don't check the activity online daily, it comes as a big surprise to me when her checks are cashed by the payee, sometimes weeks later.
When I confront her about recording her purchases, she turns it around and gets mad at me. It's extremely frustrating. I'm trying hard to avoid bounced checks and insufficient funds fees, but I can't do it alone. I need her help, and she won't listen. How can I get her to cooperate? – FRUSTRATED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Your wife's behavior is childish and irresponsible. If she can't remember to enter her checks into her check register or your ledger, then she should save her receipts and give them to you on a regular basis.
It is well-known that arguments about money and finances frequently cause marriages to fail. If your wife won't listen to you, perhaps she will listen to a marriage counselor and/or financial adviser. And if that doesn't do the trick, close the joint account and have her open one of her own so she can experience firsthand the pain of paying penalty fees.
DEAR ABBY: My husband has a very special skill that is creating a problem with our friends. He can repair almost any electronic device and has done so for our friends on numerous occasions. However, it has reached the point that now they expect him to fix their devices and offer no thanks -- monetary or otherwise. How can we get the point across that his time is valuable and should be respected as such? -- HANDYMAN'S WIFE, NEWPORT, ORE.
DEAR HANDYMAN'S WIFE: Your husband should tell these people -- with a smile -- that he does not have the time to fix the item and that it should be taken to a professional repair shop or to the store from which it was purchased.
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