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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife's Choice of Dinner Date Is Hard for Man to Swallow

DEAR ABBY: My husband's sister is being married in a few months. The wedding is in her hometown, which is more than 1,400 miles from where we live. My husband and I have three small children.

Taking our entire family and staying for three or four days will cost almost $3,000. Two of the children would not be able to attend the ceremony without causing a disruption, due to naps, feeding, etc. In spite of the financial burden and the fact that it will be a difficult trip for the children, the bride-to-be is demanding that all of us be there.

Abby, are we obligated to make this trip, or would it be acceptable for only my husband to attend? If he goes alone, he will have time with his sister and the rest of the family, whom he does not get to see very often. We want to do the right thing, but the reality is that taking our family of five would be difficult and stressful for everyone. -- ANXIOUS IN OHIO

DEAR ANXIOUS: Your husband needs to assert himself and talk some sense into his sister. While it is wonderful that she would like to have all of you at her wedding, an invitation is a request -- not a summons. If being there with the children would be stressful financially, logistically and emotionally, you are right to stay home.