Question: I recently got engaged to my best friend.
We are facing a difficult decision for the holidays and in the future. We live in D.C., and every Christmas, we have gone to the West Coast to celebrate with his family. He rarely sees them, so I've gladly gone. This year, my mom told me how she felt about my not spending the last four Christmases with them. I promised I'd be here this year.
The problem is, not having my fiancé with me on Christmas would be awful. He's torn, he's never missed a Christmas with his family, but he also doesn't want to be without me.
I've stressed my side (that we should be a team, and I deserve to have a Christmas with my family), and his family has stressed theirs. He hasn't made up his mind yet.
Also, we are relocating to California in the next year or so. We will remain there forever, and I'm positive he and his family will change their outlook on the situation if I ask to go to see my family every year.
Am I right to feel as though my fiancé should make this sacrifice?
Answer: "Who's right?" is not the question you want to be asking. Instead, I suggest: "What serves us both here, with Christmas and in general, this year and from now on?"
The right answer will be personal and mutual, which is what all answers are that serve a marriage - and the people in it.
I don't think it serves you or your fiancé to keep treating yourselves primarily as your parents' children.
You are adults, and you are centers of your own family now. Your moms and dads no longer have jurisdiction. "Never missed a Christmas morning with his family," I'm sorry, just doesn't cross the marital placenta.
So start planning accordingly. If you want to see your parents, then see them - on mutually agreeable dates, holiday or non-.
"Your" here refers to you and your fiancé collectively, which is something else to get straight; if I read your letter correctly, you promised yourself to Mom without huddling with Fiancé. That's another precedent not to be setting.
I realize this is an extended way of saying, "Grow-up time!," but an unwelcome "what" tends to go over better with a spoonful of "why."
E-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax.