Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Family Makes Jokes About Niece's Fiance

DEAR HARRIETTE: My niece is getting married, and we had an engagement party for her. In the past few years, one side of the family has been pretty rude to her, including being rude to her fiance. They are conservative Republicans, which is fine. What isn’t cool is that they are totally anti-Mexican, and my niece’s fiance is of Mexican heritage. They have made off-color jokes around him, and it’s unacceptable. They were on their best behavior at the engagement party, but that was unusual for them. My niece doesn’t want to include them in the wedding activities. I think they should talk it out. They are family, after all. I’m afraid that if they don’t deal with it, there will be a divide in the family that nobody will be able to fix. -- Family Drama

DEAR FAMILY DRAMA: Your family is not the first to have challenges around welcoming others into the fold, especially when the others are of a different heritage or religion. This issue goes back to the beginning of time. Still, you should not give up. If there is a way for the two families who represent your niece and her fiance to come together in a respectful, loving manner, that is the best way to start a life together. A marriage is bigger than two people; it represents two families. Do your best to encourage your niece to work with her fiance to build a bridge between the families. Even if they never become close, it is wise to consider how to come to a meeting of the minds and a place of respect -- for the future of the entire family, including any potential children.