Dear Dr. Wallace:

Please answer this question in your column. My future marriage depends on it. My fiance is Catholic, and I am Protestant. We are both 20 and plan to get married in four months, but our parents are encouraging us not to because of our religious differences.

We love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. It just so happens that he wants to remain a Catholic and I want to remain a Baptist. Is it wrong for us to marry? And can it be a successful marriage? I never really worried about this until our families started chirping about it. It seems like a pretty minor thing to us, but are we being naive here?

— Different Faiths,

via email

Different Faiths: When a couple has differing faiths, an extra burden is added to the marriage, but by no means does this mean the union is “wrong” and can’t be successful. Many people of differing faiths have long and wonderful marriages, and most will attest to thinking things through well in advance.

Make sure all the possible conflicts that could arise are discussed and mutually agreed upon before your marriage. For example, will the children be reared Catholic or Protestant? Should the children attend private or public school? What about a parochial school?

Discuss things together in person with both a priest and a minister and take their messages seriously. I suggest that you both locate and talk with couples who have successful marriages and different religions. Find out how similar and successful people in your shoes made their decisions and enlist them to give you their suggestions. When it comes to marriage, love is prime, and when strong and true, it overcomes everything else.

Dear Dr. Wallace: I’m a quiet girl who is planning to attend college in the fall, and I’m concerned about all the alcohol and drugs that seem to be so readily available on university campuses. I had a long talk with my high school counselor about this, and she assured me that most college students are not involved with drugs or alcohol.

But my sister’s girlfriend said that at her college, there are fraternity parties every weekend and most of the kids get stoned, drunk or high on drugs of various kinds. She rattled off the names of several substances they often take, many that I have never even heard of. Now I’m really worried about going to college because I just want to get an excellent education that will help me find a good job upon graduating. And, yes, I would like to meet a nice guy, too, but not a wild, drunk one in a toga outfit. Do you think it’s true that most of the students at today’s colleges are a little (or a lot) out of control every weekend? I’m not sure I will fit in at the university I have been accepted to, and I’m pretty worried. Help!

— Not My Scene,

via email

Not My Scene: It’s true that some college students experiment with alcohol and drugs from time to time. It doesn’t mean that they are stoned every weekend, and I certainly don’t believe that number is considered most or over 50 percent.

There are many intelligent, serious students who are both alcohol and drug free on our campuses all across the country. Plan to attend college and remain the very same person you are today. I trust you will enjoy the challenges of higher education and make many new like-minded friends of both genders who feel just the same way you do.

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