DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are trying to have kids. He was raised a Catholic but is now an agnostic. I am also an agnostic.

My deeply religious father-in-law insists that our future children be baptized Catholics. I oppose it because I think it should be a person's right to choose which belief, if any, to follow when they are ready. I also think it would be hypocritical to go through a godparent and vow baptism ceremony to raise our child in a certain way if we don't intend to do so.

My husband thinks it is best to baptize our future children to "keep the peace" because his father will never forgive us if we do not. I think it's our children, our lives, our ethics. Which of us is right? – OUT IN THE OPEN

DEAR OUT: You are, but I don't envy what's in front of you. If you stick to your father-in-law, it doesn't stop. You are expected to have a Catholic education – first communion, Catholic schools, church attendance "for the children" and all that that entails.

You and your husband should bite the ball, talk to his father before you get pregnant, and make it clear how you plan to raise your children. If you don't, parenting in ways you don't want can put a strain on your marriage. This should be your and your husband's decision, and nobody else's, and I do not recommend deviating from it.


DEAR ABBY: I've been married for four years and have lived in separate houses the entire time. Now my husband is finally moving in with me. Although I'm excited and it will bring both of us significant financial benefit, I have mixed feelings and very scared about it. He's a great man who treats me great. This is a second marriage for both of us. Any advice would be appreciated. – Make the jump in Florida

LOVE MANUFACTURING: Given the circumstances, your feelings are normal. This will be a big change for both of you. For this reason, it is important to talk about your feelings and expectations beforehand in order to reduce your stress levels. Being able to communicate honestly with one another is extremely important and will serve you well in the future. With this step you are opening a new chapter in your life and I wish you many years of happiness together.


DEAR ABBY: Five years ago when my wife and I were 35 years old, they agreed to be on a team with me and take part in some “adventure races”. It was great fun. We had team t-shirts, trained together and loved our results. It brought us closer and created a real sense of camaraderie, adventure, and mutual support in our marriage.

During a race, a bull broke into the race area and chased us. Shortly afterwards my wife left the team and unfortunately many of the fringe benefits also declined. She will no longer be on a team with me. What should I do? – Sunk in Georgia

DEAR BENCHED: Since this is an activity that you enjoy, you should keep going. Since your wife has decided to retire from adventure racing, consider recruiting another partner or finding some other activity that the two of you can enjoy together. (And that's not a cop.)


Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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