Hi, Carolyn: I am getting married to a wonderful man. He is thinking of taking my last name. We both come from traditional backgrounds so this seems like a big deal to the world. Not to us as much.

Over the years he's grown much closer to my family than I've grown to his. He is distanced from his family, but not totally alienated, for a variety of reasons. My last name is not going to be carried on, so that's part of our thinking.

If he takes my name, how do we share this news without getting into the reasons? We are also worried his parents will be so offended. The reasons all feel really personal.

— Family Name

Family Name: They are! You’re choosing your name over his because you both like your family better.

Hard to get more personal than that.

Not that that's a bad thing. You're free to feel and act as you choose. Maybe your family has treated you both better; behavior has consequences and all.

But that goes both ways — your behavior (name choice) will have consequences too. The firmer your grip on these possibilities, the better:

· It is personal. Though his family doesn’t have to hear that specifically, which I’ll get to in a second, they’ll draw their own conclusion that he prefers your family.

· And, it is going to offend them. You don’t know that, but count on it anyway because all the dry kindling is there just waiting for a spark.

· And, you may upset your own family, even in attempting a high compliment. They’re traditional, too, you say, so nontraditional naming might chafe.

Again, these are to prepare you, not discourage you. Do what you think is right. Just do so with eyes open to the possible costs.

The answer to your question about sharing “without getting into all the reasons” is actually the easy part of this whole thing: You never owe people an accounting of your private thoughts. “This is what works for us.” Done and done. Intrusive questions aren't invoices. My warmest congratulations to you both.

Dear Carolyn: I was recently at a large indoor gathering with my husband’s family. A couple of days before we arrived, my husband received word that his unvaccinated sister would be attending also. We fell into a disagreement about asking her to mask up, and he refused to ask her about her status or to request that she avoid our family, even though we are vaccinated.

I have strong feelings about vaccine refusal, so I dropped out of a family dinner and there are bad feelings between all of us now. I feel her vaccine fear is unreasonable and selfish and my husband’s refusal to address it with her was wrong. Am I the jerk here?

— Anonymous

Anonymous: Facts support you and you made a decision of conscience. And no matter how sure your sister-in-law was that she was doing the same, facts say otherwise.

No one had to like what you did, not even you. That's the benefit of informed, conscientious choice; it's public-opinion-proof.

So just live your life forward from here. Help time heal by declining all temptations to re-litigate your decisions or others’ — husband’s included — and let good sense speak for itself. (Assuming it’s audible above all the noise.)