DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Karl" for nearly two years. We are discussing marriage. The problem is, I can't stand his family. They are rude, unkempt, lazy and opinionated. Karl's family blames me for helping him to overcome his poor social skills and unhealthy lifestyle. Karl has lost a lot of weight since we started dating. He now wears clean clothes and has had his teeth fixed.
I have always wanted a lavish outdoor wedding and reception, but I don't want to invite Karl's family. I am afraid they will ruin it. I think it might be better to have a small civil ceremony. Karl disagrees, and it's causing a rift in our relationship. Please help. -- BEWILDERED IN OHIO
DEAR BEWILDERED: Before your wedding plans go further, you and Karl have some important issues to iron out. For better or worse, those rude, unkempt, lazy, opinionated people are his family. Do you expect him to divorce them in order to marry you? If the answer is yes, tell him now. If the answer no, accept that Karl comes with some heavy baggage that will be difficult to handle, unless a way is found for you to accept his family the way they are. Remember, too, that his parents will be YOUR children's grandparents. So look again before you leap.