Ask A Bride And Groom's Self-Penned Wedding VowsAdvice • marriage • ISSUE 46•27 ISSUE 39•02 • Jan 22, 2003 Dear Self-Penned Wedding Vows,Two weeks ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of four years, whom I'll call "Cal." I really have no interest in keeping in contact with him, but during our relationship I became very close with his mother. Since the breakup, I've spoken to her on the phone four times, and she recently sent me a birthday card. I miss her and would like to visit her, but I don't know if maintaining a friendship with the parent of an ex is appropriate. What should I do?—Unsure In Upper DarbyDear Unsure,Shauna, I cannot believe that you are marrying me. But it is true—Jesus brought you to me. You are the single most amazing thing that has ever happened in my life, and I now stand here today out of a desire to spend the rest of it with you. Shauna, you are the most beautiful woman in the world. I have no other eyes for anyone else, and I never will again. Though we have only known each other for less than eight months, I am ready to soar into matrimony with you. I know you have already consented to be my wife because you are here in this marriage chapel today, but I now ask you regardless: Please, Shauna, please be my wife.Dear Self-Penned Wedding Vows,My sister Jessica recently underwent a dramatic weight loss, shedding almost 90 pounds on a liquid diet. As someone who has also battled her weight, I was very inspired by her. Yet Jessica is very critical of my more conservative weight-loss methods. I don't feel her radical approach would work for me, and I'm getting upset by her constant criticism. How do I tell her to butt out and let me do it my way?—Overweight In Overland ParkDear Overland Park,Kris, you are my palomino stallion. You are truly like a stallion in that you are broad and strong, and you carry me to heights of love I have never before even dreamt of. Kris, thank you so much for being such an important part of my life. I will love you forever. In addition, you are a groom, and grooms take care of horses, and to me that is no coincidence. I do not believe in coincidence. This was truly meant to happen.Dear Self-Penned Wedding Vows,Just read "Without Wesley" and was moved to tears. Losing a cherished pet is like losing a family member. I'll never forget the day we had to put our 17-year-old cat Sugar to sleep. It took a long time to get over her loss, but in time the healing came, and I even acquired an adorable tortoiseshell kitten named Missy. I'm not saying you should get another chihuahua immediately after Wesley's passing, but I hope you can forgive your mother for her insensitivity, because holding a grudge will only prolong your pain. Be secure in the knowledge that Wesley was an important part of your life, and nothing your mother says can diminish that. And, yes, time does heal all wounds.—Missy's Mom In MonmouthDear Monmouth,Shauna, it is strange to think that if we were not working at the food court at the same time, we probably never would have met, since I lived in Boydston and you lived in Maynard. So this only goes to show that a higher power brought us together. Shauna, I promise to protect and cherish you forever, and to look after little Kyle, too. Even though he is your son with another man, I feel as if he is my own flesh and blood. Shauna, do you believe in angels? I do, because I am looking an angel square in the eye right now.Dear Self-Penned Wedding Vows,How does one politely broach the topic of body odor in the workplace—especially when the offending party is your boss? If I'm in the same room with him, my eyes begin to smart and I have to excuse myself, yet because he's my boss, I don't feel comfortable saying anything. What should I do?—Watery Eyes In WaterburyDear Watery Eyes,Kris, you are the sweetest, most caring man I have met in all of my 21 years. This marriage is going to be strong like a rock, and it is going to last. We may not have a lot of money, but we are so good for each other, it is not even funny. When I get crazy, you don't even bat an eye. You are the first guy I've been with who can handle me and my difficult aspects. I so appreciate that, and it so makes me want to be a better person. Kris, I will be good to you and treat you right.Dear Self-Penned Wedding Vows,When my son Ralph graduated from college and moved to another city, his father and I agreed to pay his rent for the first six months or until he got a permanent job, whichever came first. However, I recently learned that Ralph's longtime girlfriend Vicki moved in with him. While I can't prevent them from living together out of wedlock, I resent the notion of Vicki living free on our generosity. So last week, I informed Ralph that we are cutting him off early. Lately, though, I'm having second thoughts. Do you think I was too harsh?—Feeling Guilty In GuilfordDear Guilty,Shauna, I am now going to read a poem that I wrote especially for this very special ceremony: "I don't have to dream anymore / My dreams have come true / Because I have my Shauna / I am so grateful to the Lord / Please accept this ring / And watch the bird of our marriage take flight / For now and ever after / Amen."Kris and Shauna are a recently married couple whose syndicated advice column, Ask A Bride And Groom's Self-Penned Wedding Vows, appears in more than 250 newspapers nationwide.