Dear Asha,
I am having some major problems. I am about to get married to the love of my life. Fortunately for me the love of my life is also my old childhood friend. We have known each other since we were toddlers and have literally grown up living down the street from one another. Of course, since I respect all of my elders, I have grown accustomed to calling my future husband’s parents “Auntie” and “Uncle”. Now that we are getting married, what should I call them? Should I continue to call them “Auntie” and “Uncle”, at the risk of confusing people around me – not to mention our future children?                       Should I switch to calling them Mom and Dad (I call my parents Mommy and Daddy)?                       Help!! My wedding is only one month away!!

Respectfully yours,   
– Doting Daughter in Law

Dear Doting Daughter in Law,
First off, congratulations on your future marriage! If this is your only major problem with your upcoming wedding and life, then you have been blessed ten times over. Nonetheless, I can imagine your confusion. What you call your future in-laws remain a very personal thing. But here is some insight, the term “Auntie” and “Uncle” are respectful and cannot be seen as negative. However, many parents (especially Indian parents, but you did not state whether you are Indian or not), feel an automatic closeness once their son-in-law or daughter-in-law call them more affectionate terms such as “Mom” or “Dad”. I have also heard of people calling their mother-in-law their “Mil”, but I am not a big proponent of that. Of course, you have to go with what feels right. But if and when calling them Mom and Dad feels comfortable then I would encourage you to say it loud and clear. It will make your in-laws feel good and will hopefully pull your new family even closer.
Good luck,

– Asha

Dear Asha,
Is it necessary to be from the same background for a marriage to work?
– Confused

Dear Confused:
The first thing to understand is that marriage is a complex institution and that there are no guarantees.  First and foremost, a marriage should be based on compatibility, trust, mutual respect, and affection. For any marriage to work, these elements are required. After examining whether these things are there, should we proceed to ponder the question of differences in backgrounds. It is certainly true that being from the same background can eliminate many problems such as religious differences or parental compatibility. Being from different backgrounds means that both parties may have to compromise more on such issues. However, compromise is an important element for ANY marriage to survive, and therefore simply being from different backgrounds does not doom a marriage by any means, as long as both people are willing to accept the challenges of blending cultures, religions, ways of life, and families. A good marriage is ultimately based on the two people and their willingness to make it work, rather than outside differences. So being from the same background is by no means a necessity. It depends mostly on your own personal preferences. Best of luck.

– Asha

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