DEAR ABBY: Thank you for your response to my "Angry Aunt in Akron," who complained because I haven't written thank-you notes for the wedding gifts my husband and I received from his family. (I was prompt in acknowledging those we received from mine.) This was per the agreement we had made before the wedding.
When mine were finished, I nagged to no avail. A few months later, his parents confronted me. I explained our agreement to split the chore, but my mother-in-law thought otherwise. She continued to argue that my husband "always had trouble when it came to writing." Throughout school his parents corrected his mistakes and typed his papers before he turned them in. In other words, instead of teaching him, they "fixed" things for him -– and she blamed me for not doing the same.
Abby, I married a man, not a child. Marriage is a union, a joint venture between two people. You said it beautifully when you advised my aunt that "times have changed." They have! A woman's place isn't where it used to be, and a wife isn't a replacement for a mother. -- THANKFUL BRIDE IN MICHIGAN
DEAR THANKFUL BRIDE: I said times were CHANGING; I didn't say that the change was complete. While many people agreed with my reply, almost as many did not. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I disagree with you. Marriage is a partnership. While the groom is ill-mannered and negligent, I think the bride is being childish. If I waited for my wife of 33 years to do what some might consider "her job," our household would be a sorry state -– and I'm sure plenty of times she'd say the same about me. If more young people adopted our philosophy, perhaps there wouldn't be so many divorces. -- GARY IN GRANITE CITY, ILL
DEAR GARY: I agree that a successful marriage takes a lot of giving on both sides. What I disagree with is the stereotype that writing thank-you notes is automatically "woman's work."
DEAR ABBY: Your reply to "Angry Aunt" was correct. I'm 54. In recent years I have received many thank-you notes from the groom. I agree that with both husband and wife working, it's only fair that both write them. My son is being married in three months. I plan on showing him the letter from "Angry Aunt" and also my reply. -- HAPPY AUNT B. IN NEW ORLEANS
DEAR HAPPY AUNT B.: You'll be doing him and his bride a favor.
DEAR ABBY: I had the same problem. After weeks of watching my husband, "Roy," procrastinate, I realized that while they were "his" guests, we were one unit. People who thought poorly of him would also think poorly of "us."
Roy and I bring different strengths and weaknesses to our marriage, and perhaps my strength could help him with his weakness -– so I came up with a plan: Roy had expressed interest in visiting a new French cafe. I agreed to go, but only if we took blank thank-you cards that Roy would write while I caught up on other post-wedding work. We shared a delightful bottle of wine, and the thank-yous went out the next day.
That bride needs to be creative about getting her new husband to send the thank-yous out, because, like it or not, his procrastination makes them both look bad. -- CHICAGO NEWLYWED
DEAR NEWLYWED: C'est magnifique! Thanks for sharing your solution.
DEAR ABBY: After a recent wedding I attended, the bride wrote the notes to the groom's family and friends, and the groom wrote to the bride's. This made me feel more welcomed by the groom and let me know he wanted to communicate with his new bride's side of the family. A great way to incorporate into one family, don't you think? -- AMANDA IN BLOOMINGTON, IND.
DEAR AMANDA: I do. And excellent public relations.