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Mom overly critical of daughter's beau

DEAR AMY: My 24-year-old college-graduate daughter has been dating a young man, "Reggie," for three years. He is still finding his way, as are most millennials at that age. He is starting graduate school in the fall to get a master of fine arts, hoping to be a writer, but he is willing to teach until he achieves writing success. They are talking about marriage, which bothers my wife immensely because she sees Reggie as lazy, directionless and not good enough for her only daughter. I try to be a peacemaker, trying to point out his good qualities to her while trying to advise him and my daughter on how to prove the wife wrong by demonstrating these qualities. This constantly puts me between my wife and my daughter. I imagine group counseling is needed, but they'll be living a 10-hour drive away, so that won't happen. Should I suggest counseling to my wife so she can learn to accept Reggie for who he is? How can I help calm the family strife?

-- Caught in the Middle Colorado

DEAR CAUGHT: Based on your narrative, "Reggie" is guilty of the following: Being accepted into a (presumably competitive) MFA program with a plan to teach to support himself; having the ambition to become a writer (oh, the horror); and loving your daughter enough to consider marriage.

If she loves this young man and they have a balanced relationship, then I suggest that your wife is the only one who needs an attitude adjustment: If she doesn't like this guy, then she doesn't have to marry him. You need to step out of the middle and say to her, "I trust our daughter's judgment and will embrace the person she chooses. Beyond that, I am not going to mediate between you. If you can't learn to tolerate him and they do get married, then you are going to be very lonely." Cease all mediating. The other players in this drama need to do this work on their own.

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