Question: I am getting married this November; I'm 26 and my fiance is 27. My parents will take part in the wedding only if we get married in the Catholic church. I was raised Catholic but my fiance and I are planning to have a Methodist home.
My mother mentioned that my Methodist wedding would embarrass her and my father in front of their friends. They really didn't raise us Catholic, outside of Christmas and Easter in church. I guess the point I am trying to make is that my parents don't have many reasons other than how it looks to other people. My reason for changing religions is founded in the religions themselves. Who is right?- St. Paul, Minn.
Dr. Laura: This is not a question of right - either religion is "right" if you embrace it with honesty, dignity and a commitment to lead a moral and even holy life.
When grown-up children change religions, it is most often met by familial resistance, in part because it feels like a rejection of that family. In your case, I think your mother feels guilt for not having really had a Catholic home, for not being particularly observant, for being a Catholic in "name only."
Now, in realizing that you found that structure (lacking in her home), she is defensive because she likely feels that she has failed in parenting or in religious instruction. In other words, your choice is making her feel bad about herself, and she's resisting that feeling.
Please be true to your convictions. Without that, you'll not respect yourself, nor she you. Have more sensitive talks about your spiritual journey and allow her to face her own pain. Invite her to your Methodist wedding and to rejoice with you.
Question: My son is 18 and graduating from high school. In August, he should be starting a technical school. He still will be living at home. He wants my husband and me to end all curfews. We told him as soon as he graduates, we will end his curfew. I would like him, however, to let me know where he will be, if he will be coming home very late or not coming home at all.
We told him we could reinstate any curfews if his schoolwork suffers. My husband and I will be paying for his school. My husband and son feel I am being overprotective. I am dreading this. I love him so much. Am I acting over-protective?
- San Dimas, Calif.
Dr. Laura: Well, whether you are or not is not the point here. What you are stating is simply reasonable. Family members should always treat each other with the courtesy of letting each other know where they are, etc. Don't you and your husband do that with each other? He's not a boarder, he's a family member and the rules of courtesy apply.
Now, as to the curfew. Since you are investing in his education, he owes you certain "returns," i.e.: commitment and accomplishment. If he's unwilling to uphold his end of the bargain, you are no longer obligated to yours. Are not these lessons important ones for the rest of his life? Your husband may be feeling a "guy thing" with your son - envying his youthful freedom. Watch out for that - your son is still a growing child who needs direction.
Question: I recently separated from my husband and moved into an apartment with my old roommate. Her boyfriend is always there; he seems to be living there, really. I don't feel at home because of this. I have hinted to her that this bothers me, but nothing changes. Maybe I am really jealous of his getting all her attention, when I had planned on hanging out just like the old days when we were roommates before. I guess I just want to know the most delicate way of addressing this situation, or if I should just wait it out. I'm 25 years old.
- Miami, Fla.
Dr. Laura: Actually, I think you should get out. He is her roommate and you are the sucker paying half the rent.