Last summer, our family gathered from across the country for a reunion - considerable expense for some, but a great success. Then, my sister announced that her daughter was getting married in the Caribbean this winter. Although I’ll need to stay home with our children, my husband’s going.
Recently, several of us learned that the couple already married in a civil ceremony, so the bride could obtain a work visa in her husband’s country. My sister’s proceeding as though nothing’s different.
I feel that many guests are travelling under false pretenses: No one’s going to a “destination wedding.” I can’t imagine how the couple will handle the ceremony.
My husband’s paid for his ticket. I don’t blame him for attending, but resent that we won’t be able to afford our family trip together later this winter.
Is the couple obliged to tell everyone how things stand, or should those in the know play along?
There’s a lot more judgment from you about this than caring about family.
Clearly, your sister and the couple still want a celebratory event with as many relatives around them as possible. And those who are attending are looking forward to a warm destination as well as a happy event.
If your attitude is so resentful, you and hubby should re-think whether his going alone is fair to your immediate family by preventing other plans.
How the couple handle the ceremony is their business – it’ll undoubtedly have elements that were missing in their civil marriage. The important element will be the witnessing and welcoming of this new union by close family members who enjoy each other’s company and maintain a close bond.
I urge you to do nothing to interfere with that feeling.
My father physically and verbally abused my mother and I, taking out his financial difficulties on us. A wealthy relative died, and the abuse ceased.
I’m now married with a child. My parents are in denial, and act as if nothing transpired prior to our “achieving wealth.” They insist on taking my wife and I, and my son on a family vacation.
I’m too ashamed to talk about my family history to my wife for fear that she’ll hate my parents. She’s excited about going on this vacation. My parents have also showered her with token affections.
However, the painful truth about what my mother and I endured makes it hard for me to smile during family gatherings, while my wife can’t understand why I’m chronically unhappy, especially when family’s around.
- Depressed Abuse Victim
It’s harmful to your marriage – and to yourself – to keep your wife in the dark about your chronic unhappy moods. You not only get no support from her, you leave her (and your son, too) feeling shut out and confused by your reactions.
It may even make her become an ally of your seeming-generous parents (since she doesn’t know your unhappy past), which could cause you to push her away even further.
You MUST reveal the history before even considering going on this vacation you feel so anxious about. You were not the cause of the abuse, and your embarrassed silence is counter-productive, leaving you still bearing pain silently.
Sharing personal stories brings greater intimacy and trust into marriage.
I recommend that you then seek individual counselling about the abuse. A therapist who’s experienced with abuse issues will help you decide how to deal with your parents’ denial, and your ongoing relationship with them
My daughter’s 13; I’ve heard that her best friend is meeting up with boys, possibly drinking, lying, and sneaking out. Her grades are plunging. She and my daughter have been drifting apart, and “new friends” are pulling the girl toward a different road.
I’m on friendly terms with her divorced mom who doesn’t see what’s going on. She works a lot to provide for her children. But if I talk to her, our girls’ friendship will be destroyed.
- Worried Mom
You have a responsibility as an adult to help this girl get on a safer track. Approach the mother gently saying you’ve heard some rumours that she’d want to check out for herself; if the stories aren’t true, someone’s trying to harm the girl’s reputation.
Do NOT mention the mother’s working hours, or cast blame on other friends unless you have facts. Offer continued support, such as helping find solutions.
Tip of the day:
Don’t let resentments that can be avoided build into a family rift; instead, change your plans.