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Ms. Magnolia

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, My husband is not particularly good at sending cards and gifts to his parents on special days. He doesn’t remember important occasions in time to get gifts sent, even if I remind him.

In my parents’ marriage, my mom was responsible for sending all family cards and gifts for her family and my father’s. Our marriage is more modern, and I don’t plan to do that for his family.

My husband said that he would take that responsibility for his family, but he doesn’t. I feel bad when an important occasion in his parents’ lives goes by and they receive no acknowledgement from us. I feel that they expect me to do it. How do I let my in-laws know I love them but that their son is the one who is letting them down? JR

Dear JR, You will not endear yourself to your in-laws by blaming their son. If you are sending things to your own family anyway, you should be able to handle both sides of the family. In this day of technology, sending texts or emails takes only a few minutes, even though sending cards is better.

It sounds as if you just want to make some sort of statement about your independence from the marriage. True loving relationships involve sharing responsibilities, not drawing the line about such minor tasks. Your husband must also have designated chores that you don’t want to do.

Or perhaps you and your husband should write out a contract with job descriptions outlining your duties.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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