Since the suggestions traditional advice columnists dole out about atheists are often cringe-worthy, it’s always nice to highlight someone who nailed it.
Robin DesCamp received a letter from a woman whose son and future daughter-in-law were planning a wedding. Just one problem:
… he announced there would be no mention of God during the ceremony and that rather than our family priest, he was having a friend conduct the wedding and that friend was ordained on the Internet! Apparently my son and his future wife are atheist, which came as a very disturbing surprise to me and his dad.
We are considering withdrawing our offer to pay for the reception if he does not compromise and use our priest for a traditional Catholic wedding. His fiancé’s parents don’t have very much money so I don’t think they can just pick up the tab, nor can my son, who is just beginning his career in insurance.
I don’t even understand the mindset that goes into a parent who wants to force a “traditional Catholic wedding” upon two people who clearly want nothing to do with Catholicism. (Why begin a marriage by lying at the altar?)Thankfully, DesCamp was thinking along those same lines:
… You are making a unilateral demand under threat of severe retaliation to have things your way and in direct opposition to how your son and his fiancé wish for things to be. That’s not “compromise,” that’s American foreign policy.
While I certainly understand your desire to celebrate your beliefs as part of this monumental occasion, I hasten you to think critically about who this day truly belongs to, how you are handling this conflict, and what unintended consequences might arise if you don’t change your attitude and approach.
Using money as a weapon in such a hostile way is ugly and could do a tremendous amount of damage to your relationship with your son and his future wife.
There’s far more advice where that came from — and she even suggests a way a compromise could be reached in a way that would incorporate religious ideas… if the couple agrees to it.
Either way, it’s an excellent response to a dilemma faced by many non-religious couples.
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