As adults, you get to set your own agenda

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • I recently got engaged to my best friend, and we couldn't be happier. However, we are facing a difficult decision for the holidays this year and in the future. We live in D.C., and every Christmas, we have gone back to the West Coast to celebrate with his family. He rarely sees his family, so I've gladly accompanied him. This year, my mom finally put her foot down and told me how she felt about my not spending the past four Christmases with my side of the family. I completely agree, and I promised I'd be here this year. The problem is, not having my fiance with me on Christmas would be awful. He's extremely torn, he's never missed a Christmas morning with his family, but he also doesn't want to be without me. He hasn't made up his mind yet. One additional note, we are relocating to California in the next year or so, and starting a family. We will remain in California forever, and I'm positive he and his family will change their outlook on the whole Christmas situation if I ask to go to my house every year because I never see my family. Am I right to feel as though my fiance should make this sacrifice this year?

Blue Christmas

Dear Blue Christmas • "Who's right?" is not the question you want to be asking as you stand on the brink of "forever." 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, by extension. Regardless, I'm butting in. I don't think it serves you or your fiance, for Christmas or any other important event, for this year or in perpetuity, to keep treating yourselves primarily as your parents' children. You are adults and as such you are centers of your own families now . So start thinking and 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 fiance collectively, which is something else to get straight; if I read your letter correctly, you promised yourself to Mom without first huddling with Fiance. That's another precedent not to be setting.

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