Q. I was raised in a strict, religious household that more often than not bordered on being abusive. Over the years, I was able to make peace with these family members, but I still remain cautious and guarded where my children are concerned.
Our son recently became engaged and will be marrying a sweet young woman. The problem is not the impending wedding but what might erupt during the ceremony. The difficult family members have made it clear that they object to the religious upbringing of our son's fiancee, and therefore do not approve of the wedding. (Of course, they would not miss this day for anything in the world.)
I would like for these family members to bear witness to this union and enjoy this celebration, but I simply will not tolerate them lousing up the children's wedding over religious differences ... and I am sure they will devise a way to do just that.
So I wonder: Is there any protocol for dragging someone from a church when they start to make horses' rear ends of themselves?
Needing To Be Firm in Texas
A. There being no "protocol" for dragging people from a church service, I have another suggestion. I think people who have announced that they object to the religious upbringing of the bride and do not approve of the upcoming marriage should not be present.
In this instance, I think your difficult history with them makes this easier than it might otherwise be.
Assuming they are not flat-out head cases, invite them to the reception. Should they make an issue of not being invited to the ceremony, simply say you wanted to spare them, seeing as how they disapprove of the marriage. Over and out.
Q. I have a crazy sister-in-law who creates plenty of drama at family gatherings. Since we want to be able to see her kids, we've managed to have a reasonably civil relationship with her and her husband. I suspect she may not even know that I think she's nuts.
Right now, my husband and I are expecting a baby, and my only other sister-in-law has offered to have a baby shower. Here's my question: Am I obligated to invite the crazy sister-in-law, knowing that if she comes, there's an 80 percent chance she will make a scene or cause unnecessary drama? I would almost rather beg off the shower and make up some excuse for not having it.
Of course, if I don't invite her and she finds out about it, there will be even more drama. I've just gone through a stressful time in my life and would prefer to avoid situations that bring more anxiety. The idea of having her at the shower (which will mostly consist of my friends and my side of the family) has already put a damper on the day.
Ironically, if it were anyone else hosting the shower, there would be no chance of my crazy sister-in-law finding out about it. The shower is still at a very tentative planning stage, so should I just make up some reason for not having it?
No Name Here, Please
A. It is too dicey to have one s-i-l and not the other (no matter what the cuckoo quotient). You would have an enemy forever -- and a barmy one at that. Therefore, I suggest having one of your rellies act as the hostess. This actually makes sense, since you say the guests will be mostly your friends and family. My hunch is your "good" s-i-l will understand perfectly.
2007, Margo Howard