Dear Amy:

I hope you can help with a question about my future in-laws. My fiancee's family is very Catholic, and I was born and raised Hindu. Because of this we are having two wedding ceremonies, one in Las Vegas and the other in my family temple in my home town.

My fiancee has no problem with going through the Hindu wedding ceremony because it is so very important to me, but most of her family is refusing to even show up for it, not to mention take part in any of the ceremony. Her mom cites doctrinal issues with the ceremony (it is not taking place in a Catholic Church and I am not Catholic).

I've tried everything I can think of to persuade them to make the trip, but my future mother-in-law will not budge, and neither will my fiancee's aunts and uncles, grandparents, brothers or father.

It saddens me greatly that these people who I do care about hold me in such low esteem that they would do this. I feel that my family and I are being figuratively spat upon by them because they feel a sense of moral superiority. Please Amy, if you can, tell me if there is some way I can get through to them.

Worried Groom

Unfortunately, you might not be able to get through to your in-laws. Perhaps your fiancee can -- if she is furious and disappointed in them, she should let them know.

I'm not aware of any doctrinal issues preventing Catholics from attending a wedding ceremony in a Hindu temple. Even though their church doesn't recognize this marriage, this family should. If they could find a way to witness this important ritual, they would learn so much about the world and its faith practices. (Hinduism is one of the world's oldest religions, with an estimated 750 million followers.)

You and your fiancee will find this easier to face if you seek spiritual guidance from your faith communities. Every marrying couple should seek premarital counseling, but in your case, where a mixed marriage is causing so much tension in her family, you'll both benefit from the counsel and support of clergy.

I have heard from so many couples that have made their mixed-religious marriages work. The key seems to be respect for each other's faith. If you show this respect for each other, you'll be setting an example that her family would be wise to follow.

Dear Amy:

I am the mother of three children ages 21, 17 and 15.

My husband and I have a checking account and most of our funds are at the bank. I like to keep about $50 in an envelope at home for gas and miscellaneous expenses.

Lately, I have a little thief among my kids. I recently had $48.30 in an envelope and I specifically told all three of the children not to touch this particular envelope because it was change for another purpose. However, one of them has taken out the two twenties and recently $5 and $2 more, leaving the envelope with just $1.30.

I have asked all three together and separately who might have taken this money without asking if they took it. No one will come clean. What is the best approach to get someone to admit that they are stealing? I feel I should get over it, but I'm just frustrated that I can't even trust my own children.

Frustrated in Carol Stream

Because of the advanced ages of your kids, you don't have a "little thief." You have an almost full-grown thief, who knows that stealing is wrong but did it anyway. (Your husband could be the culprit; make sure that you ask him as well.) The answer isn't to ask your children one by one who might have taken the money, but to ask each one specifically if he or she took the money.

Expect denials. Then you can explain how this makes you feel. Tell them that it is disrespectful and wrong and that you are very disappointed. Ask them if they need the money for something specific. Then tell them that if they need money, you will help them to find a job so that they won't have to steal from the household's petty cash.

And stop telling them where your cash is; for now you should assume that they can't handle the temptation.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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