Dear Amy: What can be done about my boyfriend’s overly religious mother, who repeatedly invites us to attend her church? Her very small congregation (15 to 25 people) is looking to expand.
The pastor has tasked every church member with contacting family, friends and neighbors as a way to garner new congregants. Now we both receive phone calls and mailers from her about church events, tent revivals, etc.
Both of us have said that we’re not interested. We are both agnostic, and I am from a nonreligious family. The last time this subject came up, I told her that if I ever felt the need to go to church, the first place would be my grandparents’ church. Any thoughts?
Amy says: I have a suggestion: Never walk into a used car lot alone, because you are unwittingly ripe for the plucking.
The mistake you seem to have made was to actually dangle the prospect of church. When you said, “If I ever felt the need to go to church,” what she heard was, “I’m thinking about it!”
You should say to her, one time: “It worries me that you keep asking me to attend your church. I respect that you are religious and love your church. But I’m not a Christian. I don’t go to church, so I hope you’ll stop asking.”
Not part of wedding party
Dear Amy: I’m very close with my immediate family. In fact, I set my brother up with his fiancée, an old friend of mine I’d known for years.
I’m over-the-moon excited for their wedding, but my happiness was dampened when it was revealed that I was the only member of the groom’s family with no involvement in the wedding. There were no tensions or arguments. Every member of the bridal party is much different from me in appearance. Specifically, I would have been the stereotypical “fat bridesmaid.”
I used to be extremely fit, but after an injury and resulting surgeries, I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight. I’ve been perfectly healthy since and am working to get back to a healthy weight.
Should I bring this up to my brother or future sister-in-law? We used to talk often, but ever since I was excluded from the festivities, it’s been radio silence.
Amy says: Your brother and his fiancée have the right to include — and exclude — anyone from their wedding ceremony. You in turn have the right to react to it, and I think you should.
Here is a polite (albeit passive) way of calling them on it: “Hi, this is embarrassing to bring up, but I can’t help but notice that I am the only family member not to have any role in your wedding ceremony. I’m worried that I might have done something to offend or upset you. I introduced you two, and I’m very happy about your future. I hope you both feel you can be honest with me.”
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