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Can She Marry Them? and
A Little Bucket of Sunshine
Dear Mrs. Web,
My daughter would like to have her grandmother perform her marriage ceremony. We live in Missouri. Is this possible? Her grandmother is a certified lay speaker in our Methodist church.
I am not sure this is possible. Have you talked to your minister or denominational conference or synod (Do Methodists have synods or is it just Lutherans? What is a synod anyway?)
I have always been under the impression that the people in religious ministry are the only ones who can marry, aside from a legal entity such as a judge, a justice of the peace, and in a pinch, a ship captain. Perhaps Grandmother can obtain her JP license and marry them, but it would not be a religious ceremony. Alternatively, perhaps your minister could work with Grandmother to include her in the ceremony in a pivotal way.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have recently asked my future sister-in-law to be one of my bridesmaids. Right after she accepted she told me she was going to have to give me the real "scoop" on life since she is 10 years older than I am. She started telling me that life was really hard and cruel, and that although I may be happy now, I won't always be happy. She talked about how all her friendís marriages have failed and insinuated that mine would as well.
She said that she wanted to spend a day with me and "explain" about how horrible relationships can be. She said she has so much experience and I know absolutely nothing about "real" life.
I have no idea how to tell her that I don't want to listen to this negative perspective. I want her to be supportive of my marriage instead of trying to make me nervous. How do I deal with her tactfully?
Isnít she a little bucket of sunshine? Whenever someone tells me that they really understand life and try to impart their wisdom to me, I duck and cover. There is a limit to the pain and suffering I can endure.
She sounds like a bitter, unhappy woman. I would kindly duck her invitations to get together; a bride can always find another appointment. If she presses you, tell her kindly and gently that you just are not ready to hear her perspective yet. That it would mar your wedding joy and she certainly wouldnít want to do that, would she?
If she continues to press you about it, she is being boorish. Give her a kind but firm no thank you and change the subject. Talk about the wedding, the dresses, or those cute reception favors you chose. Best wedding wishes for a peace and grace filled marriage!
Crude on the Net,
The "L" Word, and
I am Destroying My Marriage
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have a cousin, an educated and professional man, who writes "fanfic" -- fiction based on movie and television characters. His work is tasteless and offensive, but this is his hobby and he thinks itís great. I never know what to say when he asks my opinion of his stories. What should I say?
He posts these essentially pornographic stories under his own name on the net. I think this is foolish and potentially harmful, for you never know who will see it, perhaps a professional associate, or client.
I am afraid he will be insulted if I tell him this but I do think this behavior is damaging. What should I do?
If you are close, and want to keep the relationship intact, you would not want to directly criticize his work. That would be tantamount to telling a new mother she has an ugly baby. Instead, I would use all those handy words that donít say much: interesting, consistent, amazing, making a point, new perspectiveÖ
If you donít care to read these pieces anymore, tell him you will get to it as soon as you are able. Make kind excuses. If he confronts you about this first, tell him as friend that you really donít have the ability to judge his work.
People who are caught up in the common culture, especially film and television viewers, actually seem to have a very different moral center than others, in my opinion. They tend to think real world values are similar to the hyper-sexual, anything-goes values provided by scriptwriters to make money. These caught-up individuals sometimes donít really understand that they are actually offensive to many people. They think they are edgy and cool. I find their work tiresome and predictable.
Tell him your concern for his professional future. When you put something out on the web, it lives forever. Files and links are copied and moved constantly. This is work that his children and grandchildren will find under his name, not to mention any professional associates who plug his name into a capable search engine, Remember, search engines are improving daily.
Think of it!
Dear Mrs. Web advice forever!!
Dear Mrs Web,
I am engaged to a man who cannot use the word love. It is beginning to really bother me. He doesnít use with his own family and wonít even sign a card to me saying "Love, John." He assures me that he does have these feeling for me. I know I should feel more secure. I have tried to accept this but it is becoming more difficult.
You have a guy with a problem with the "L" word. Ultimately, you have to decide ultimately whether you can live with someone who cannot express this emotion verbally. In your shoes, I would need to see a lot of non-verbal expression of love to make up for it.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have been married for two months now. We were married in a hurry to avoid immigration problems. I do love him and I am sure he loves me. We have communications problems though.
Since we have been married, I've lost all my patience to support our communication problems. His English has improved these past two years and he does want to take classes but for some reason, I think it will be to difficult for him. He doesnít have a college degree and I do.
He loves me very much and wants to make me happy, but all I do is nag and give him a hard time. Everything was fine until we got married. I don't know why but I feel so overwhelmed and want to escape. I feel like I lost myself and trapped.
I guess I donít know much about marriage. My dad was a mentally ill alcoholic and my mom never protected me from him. I really never had parents. Now that I am married I don't know how to act and I feel lost.
Sometimes, I feel like that I am becoming my father. I say cruel and insensitive things to my husband, I insult him and ignore his feelings. I just want to leave so I don't hurt him anymore. It is like I am trying to get him to hit me.
He treats me like a queen. I used to feel so lucky that I had met him but now, I want to destroy us. How can I stop?
You had a tough childhood and lousy models for parents. When we get into new situations and donít know how to act, we behave just the way we were taught. Therefore, you are becoming a rage-full, cruel person. That is not who you are in your heart.
It is time to stop and get help. Sometimes people with rocky childhoods have a tough first year of marriage. The commitment of marriage opens people up to their core and the best, and sometimes the worst, comes out. That is why marriage is so powerful. It holds us up to the worldís most powerful mirror. We don't always like what we see.
You need to find people in your area who are committed to marriage and healing. A well-recommended marriage and family therapist and maybe even some individual work as you learn to face and conquer your past. Tell your beloved that you love him and that this is not about him; it is about your past. Ask for his strong arm for support as you both weather this together. I know someone close to me who went through the same things, and the marriage not only survived, but also thrived. They are a wonderful couple and have a lovely family now.
Fearful at Six,
Where are the Girls?? and
Why Did He Choose Her?
Dear Mrs. Web,
My daughter is 6 years-old and seems preoccupied with death. She talks about death and cemeteries. She is concerned about an afterlife. For the first time in her life, become somewhat fearful. What should I do?
Each one of my children went through this sort of stage between 5 and 8. I think it is a time when children are finally grasping that immutable fact that when you die, youíre dead. Before then children believed that death was a sleep and the body would wake up. Now, for the first time, they are looking death in the eye. Itís scary.
Our family faith provides us with answers about an afterlife, which has been a comfort to the children (and to me!). Atheistic and agnostic friends have reported similar occurrences in their families and also tell me their children have an interest in religious services. I recommend parents take them to services and help them find comfort and strength to face the largest existential question we all face as humans: Whatís next.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I go to an all-boyís school and cannot drive. I know girls who are friends but have no romantic girlfriend. I lack confidence to ask out the girls I am attracted to and when I go out, I donít say much because I donít want to sound stupid. How do I gain the confidence and where can I meet girls?
Go where the girls are, various churches have youth groups, find the most vibrant group, and join it. Hint: usually the best youth groups are in the larger churches.
If you have a number of girls who are your friends, there is your ready pool of girlfriends. Your are comfortable with these girls. We live in a time where there is a difference between a love interest and a friend. However, a love interest that is not a good friend is a waste of time and energy. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your friends.
I want to take this letter to another level. Why do you want a girlfriend? You are under sixteen. What are you going to do with one? Getting involved in a relationship at this time in your life is a bit fruitless. Although it may be a momentary pleasure, the reality is that this time in life you are preparing for your future. You donít need the distraction. You cannot consummate a relationship without a risk of pregnancy. You are too young to successfully be a husband and father. So, why are you going there?
May I recommend I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Josh Harris? You need to look at other perspectives about relationships.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I started sleeping with a guy who really liked me. I wasnít sure I liked him. However, over time, I became more interested in him but he seemed to lose interest in me and told me he want to end our relationship. He had been involved for four years in an abusive relationship with this girl who always used to hurt him
I love him and have told him and it really seemed to touch him. We began to start having a real relationship. He insists he is too messed up to have a relationship with me. He has even told his parents about me.
Suddenly he dropped me and started seeing the girl who used to beat him up and treat him badly. He has scars on his body from her beatings. He was even in therapy over this relationship. Why would he go back with a psycho like that? Why would he choose her over me?
My dear, you became involved with a very needy man who fell in love with you. Any little signal you gave him that you thought of him made him feel worthwhile and cared for, I suspect he has not been well-cared for in his life.
I do not know why he is back with his abusive girlfriend. Some people go back to what is familiar, and evidently being abused may be familiar to him. How sad.
I am not sure what you want to do with this situation. Do you want to continue a relationship which this broken young man? If you do, he will need many things including full commitment.
Sex may be a getting acquainted device for you but it is powerful stuff that changes hearts and lives. Frankly, everyone sounds a little bit out of control here. In your shoes I would pull back and find a less complicated love interest. See my Topics To Discuss Before Marriage to learn how to get to know someone well before giving your heart away!!
Committee Women Dinosaurs, Brotherly Roommate,
"The Lights are On But Nobody's Home!!"
Dear Mrs. Web,
I served on a search committee for a local, government- funded nonprofit. Four of the committee members were women who had decided before the committee even met, that the director position had to go to a woman. They ignored all male candidates and voted them all down without a second glance. It was very disheartening because we had some outstanding male candidates. Because these women voted as a block, we have filled the position with a qualified, but not outstanding, woman. Your opinion please.
There is nothing more tiresome than women who back a candidate because she has an "innie" instead of an "outie." That old fashioned thinking: " if it is a woman it must be good," is a leftover of the mindless woman-power days. This lockstep thinking really flourishes only in the brain-dead womenís studies programs, which have metastasized on some university campuses. Women who hold these views worship in the ancient 70ís cult of Womyn are Better.
Of course, women do not hold an aptitude monopoly for most work, except for the job categories of pregnant woman and mother. You are dealing with what Dear Mrs. Web calls the "dangly earrings crowd." They are inevitably over 45 years-old, consider Rosie OíDonnell a deep thinker, and havenít entertained a new idea since their social conscience hardened into radical left hard-shell in 1975.
Keep away from these retro, limited thinkers. Pack your organizations with young, clear thinking women who are not beholden to these dinosaur ideas.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My boyfriend and I are planning to get married someday. We have been living together for five years and have bought a condominium together. His brother moved in with us last year and there is no sign of him leaving. I have asked my boyfriend to ask his brother to move out but he refuses, saying that his brother has a home with him as long as he wants one. But it is my house, too! What can I do?
You and your beloved are playing house with plans for marriage. I did not hear about a ring or wedding date. His brother moved in. Your beloved seems to place your brother before you in priorities.
Well, his brother has more claims on him than you do. He is a relative, you are the woman he lives with and shares a business arrangement. You are asking for the privilege and exclusivity that comes with being a wife, but you are not a wife, you are a girlfriend and a roommate, both expendable relationships.
I think it is time for you two to sit down and clarify your plans and act upon them.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have a male friend I have known for a few years. We went to high school together. We have been friends for a long time but when he went to college, he never even said goodbye. I hadnít heard from him for over a year.
Occasionally, now, we meet for drinks and go make out. He was my first kiss. He never calls after we spend time together. He forgets to call me and I end up waiting for him. I am beginning to think I am wasting my time, except he makes me feel so good in all ways, and he makes me laugh. Am I being silly to pine after him? All my friends think so.
I agree with your friends. You are attracted to a man you have known as a "friend" for a few years and now, he is an occasional make-out partner. You "feel good" when you are with him. He, on the other hand, cannot remember you long enough to call. When you do get together he does like playing kissy-face, but you just donít hold his interest. In other words: the lights are on but nobodyís home; at least not for you. You are being used. Move on.
Should I Leave Him??
Dear Mrs. Web,
I recently have been involved with a military man. We found out that he is to be transferred for additional training. Then he will be stationed in Asia for two years.
We have been seeing each other daily and steadily. He will be leaving next week. We both said that we were optimistic about the direction of our relationship and its future. He has told me it would not be fair to ask me to wait for him. I don't really want anyone else. Do you see a future here?
When long-term work and school commitments separate a couple, they both need to come to an agreement about the extent of their own commitment to each other. People usually donít do this sort of thing lightly, because what we are really talking about here is marriage and forever. I think your young man might be saying that he is not ready to extend his personal commitment to you.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have been married to a great guy for 10 years. He is a hard worker and a good husband. We have a good life, a wonderful house, and most everything we could ever want. He travels extensively to provide us a good life.
However, he has a violent temper and over the years has physically and verbally abused me. These rages used to happen 3-4 times a year but lately now happen more frequently.
A few months ago, I fell in love with an attractive and sexy man several years younger than I am. We have been having an affair. During this time, my husbandís rages have increased. He does not know about the affair.
My husband and I recently separated due to one of his rages. I am now having trouble continuing with the separation. My lover thinks itís because of guilt over our affair. For various reasons, my lover and I do not have a future together, although we are deeply in love. My lover is appalled that I live with an abusive man and wants me to divorce him immediately.
I am afraid of losing my marriage and everything I have and ending up without my spouse or my lover. My lover says I should not base my decision on what I will give up but that I must concentrate on the abuse. I have stayed with my husband all these years because the time in-between these episodes are great, we rarely even fight.
My husband has now come to me and has told me he will go into counseling with me and learn how to change. He wants our marriage to continue and he says he will do whatever it takes. I just don't know what to do. Please help.
You have spent the last ten years with an abusive man. You have settled for this relationship and have felt that up until recently that the rest of the marriage was worth the abuse. You have no children.
You have been having an affair with a young man who offers you no future. You are in love; that means you have both let down your emotional boundaries with each other. Possibly, your husband has been sensing your affair and has been acting out more often and perhaps even more abusively.
You have separated from your husband but are unsure whether to continue the separation. You are fearful you are going to lose your marriage and all things you want from it. You have no future with the other man. Of the two, you seem to think the marriage offers you more in the long run.
You husband wants to go into counseling to heal your marriage.
In your shoes, I would negotiate with your spouse to stay separated and safe until you both are solidly in marriage counseling and he is in treatment for his abusiveness. The deal would be he has do all the treatment, even when he doesnít like it. It sounds like the communication skills in your marriage need a lot of work, as well as the anger management skills.
I donít know how violent or rage-full your husband is, but I would be very careful, because many rage-full spouses will stalk their loved one. Moreover, if you are with your affair-mate, your husband may lose complete control Ė death is a real possibility.
It is interesting that your husband is willing to seek treatment the minute you left. I have seen this before. An acting out spouse wonít change until the mate puts his or her foot down and says firmly: "No more!"
I certainly cannot evaluate whether you and your husband should try again. I cannot be the person to tell you to continue living with an abusive man. I think that is wrong. But I do know, that when their feet are held to the fire, some people can change their behaviors.
Your relationship with your husband may be dangerous. You will need other people to assess this for you, a therapist, or marriage counselor, for example.
I think you should both get the help you need. A woman who stays with an abuser has her own emotional issues. You should use the guidance of your marriage therapist to evaluate his anger management because you obviously have no boundaries about this matter, and being normal is normal to you. Your husband may slip at times and you will always need to leave if he gets verbally or physically abusive again. Grownups donít hit each other, and grownups donít put up with being hit.
I have known couples who have been able to get past their abuse, have learned new ways to be together, and essentially have grown to have outstanding marriages. It takes work - a lot of it - but it can be done. You are in my thoughts.
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