Now, here is a touchy subject. Or not if you are one of those blessed with families who are determined to be supportive, encouraging, friendly and in strong hope of a well-nurtured union. I don’t even have them (anymore) having been divorced for over 30 years. It’s not so much a toss-up, in the cards, luck of the draw, or any of those other mild-mannered excuses. It’s hard work! My own parents wanted to be ‘good’ in-laws but still wanted to have their daughter. Suffice to say it’s not enough to abide by the old adage, “A son’s a son till he takes a wife but a daughter’s a daughter for the rest of her life”. We all need our parents, some more than others, in very different ways and for many reasons. And these change over the years as we ourselves change. (I nearly fell over when my ex-mother-in-law offered to and did pay for my son’s college tuition. I never saw that coming and am still grateful to her and have told her so.) Even so, the so-called extended family needs to understand that at times that extension does not include many dispensations or opportunities. Some traditions need to if not stop at least be tweaked a bit to allow for the traditions of the new couple and family. Grace must abound, and tongues ought to be held or tempers rise and occasionally flame into if not conflagrations certainly destruction. Yes, there is such a thing as creative destruction but that is commonly used in business, not a marriage. If love isn’t the central force and motivator in a family it becomes choked, starved, sterile. It can be restored and healing can take place but only when everyone is a player and takes part in the healing. There need to be ground rules, thought processes may need to be elaborated, understanding needs to be clarified.

And no one can do anyone else’s part. It is all for one, one for all.