I read a lot of secular advice columnists. It can be more helpful than you know for the job I do.
Apologists rarely get questions asking us about the hypostatic union of Christ or Aquinas's five ways of arguing for the existence of God. We mainly get the personal questions, and weddings are a major source of questions. Usually, can I go to such-and-such wedding, but we also get others about interpersonal relationships (e.g., "Should we invite a same-sex couple?" "My son is insisting on having a drum circle at the rehearsal dinner, can we do it?" "How do we tell the non-Catholics they can't receive Communion?")
In short, I read the advice columnists because I get ideas on how to respond to these questions tactfully and with due consideration for the emotional undercurrents involved in personal questions.
But if there is one thing that drives me crazy, it is the nearly universal assumption these days in such advice columns—and in the comment boxes attached to such columns—that the wedding is all about the couple. That couples planning to marry get to do whatever the hell they want to do, and that everyone else's responsibility (even close family members) is to suck it up and endure.
The straw that broke my back this time was the comments in response to a question to the etiquette columnist, Miss Manners. A mother was upset because her youngest daughter, who is getting married, invited the father of her two elder siblings and his wife without consulting with her mother. There's bad blood between the mother, her ex, and his wife (and justifiable reasons given for the bad blood), no apparent stepparenting relationship between the bride and her mother's ex, and no real reason offered for inviting the couple. The mother was reasonably upset, in my opinion, with her daughter's choice to invite these people with no consideration given for her feelings.
Now, you can reasonably argue that an invitation, once given, can't be rescinded without grave reason. You can argue that the mother is going to have to find a way to be polite to these people at the wedding for her daughter's sake. What burned my toast was all the people arguing in the comment box that the daughter had every right to invite these people, despite knowing her mother's feelings, because "It's her day and therefore her choice!" At least one commenter repeated another common refrain that the mother "needs to get over herself."
Bah! Humbug! Weddings are supposed to be family occasions, and the feelings of close family members ought to be considered important. If a bridal couple cannot be considerate and unselfish enough to be reasonably mindful of the feelings of intimate family members, how the hell are they supposed to be able to have a successful marriage when marriage requires huge amounts of consideration and unselfishness toward one's spouse?
(Image: Bride and mother, Pixabay.)