- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hi Ms. Vicki,

I ‘ve been reading your advice for about six months. Now I need your advice because I am getting married in September and would like for my father to walk me down the aisle and give me away. He refuses because I am marrying someone of a different race.

I have dreamed of this day since I was a little girl. I’ve always wanted to have a fairy-tale wedding.

I never had a personal relationship with my father, and he never provided support for me in any shape, form or fashion. He recently surfaced again and contacted me and my siblings. I feel I owe him respect because he is my father, that’s why I’m inviting him.

My mother is mad at me and wonders why I am inviting him at all. To be honest, I think she is just upset because she still carries a flaming torch for my father after all of these years. Please help me.

— Wedding Madness

Dear Madness,

I think this is an issue where you probably will get more advice from other readers responding to your question than from me. While I value having respect for parents, I’m not sure why you would put yourself through the torture of wanting your father to walk you down the aisle and give you away when, by your report, you never had a relationship with him and vice versa.

Now he comes along when you are too old to require child support and has the audacity to voice his disapproval of whom you are marrying. I’m at a complete loss as to why you would let him interfere in this manner.

I don’t know how old you are, but since you’re old enough to get married, then please take what I’m about to say as an adult: Leave the fairy tales for the books, it will take much more than a fairy-tale dream to keep a marriage together.

Weddings and marriages are two different things. One requires a coordinator or planner and people to come out and serve as witnesses and enjoy the ceremony. A marriage takes two people committed to each other and their relationship. You also need to learn right now that you won’t have your family’s approval in every decision you make. However, making your own decisions and learning from them is what being an adult is all about.

All due respect to your father, but I hope you can find some other loving male figure you have had in your life to walk you down the aisle and give you away. Let’s hope your wedding madness will not lead to marriage madness.

Reader responses:

All I can say is, ladies did you ever see the poems, the T-shirts and the signs that read: “The hardest job in the Army is being an Army wife”? We all need to support our husbands 150 percent and know that he’s doing a job that deserves honor. We stand alone behind the men and wait for them to return. Just like them, we fight to make every day a good one; so ladies don’t depend on anyone but you. We are all strong women or we wouldn’t have chosen to be Army wives. So with that, I want to say thank you to all the soldiers who fight for us and to all the wives for sucking it up and moving on. And Ms. Vicki, please keep doing a good job — we love your column!

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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