Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2001

Religious ritual shouldn’t be forced on visiting in-laws

September 6, 2001


Dear Ann: My lovely daughter is married to a nice man. They have three children. Her husband, "John," is deeply religious. He has a ritual prayer session that he expects everyone to take part in, including guests and grandparents. If guests seem reluctant, John demands that they participate. He says those who don't join in are not showing respect for him and his home.

My husband and I feel very uncomfortable with this. We participated the first time John asked us to, but we don't want to do it again. I told John that he has every right to conduct this little ceremony while we are present, but he should leave us out of it. He became very angry and said we will not be welcome in his home unless we agree to participate.

Our grandchildren are important to us, Ann, and so is our daughter. We want to be part of their lives. Is it necessary for us to go along with our son-in-law's religious ritual? Feeling Pressured in Idaho

Dear Pressured: No one has the right to demand that others participate in religious rituals. If you are barred from your son-in-law's home because of your refusal to do this, invite the others to YOUR home, but by no means should you bend to your son-in-law's outrageous demands. P.S. Trying to reason with a religious fanatic is useless. Don't waste your time and energy.

Dear Ann: I have been friends with "Suzanne" for 25 years. She and her husband live in another state, and I visit them a few times a year and stay in their home. (I'm divorced, with grown children.)

I recently became acquainted with a man who lives in the same city as Suzanne. We met on the Internet and had spoken on the phone several times. I arranged to meet him for dinner the next time I was in town. Suzanne seemed delighted that I had a date. That evening, she had another couple over for dinner while I waited to be picked up. In front of all of us, Suzanne said, "Now, young lady, make sure you are home at a decent hour. Don't even think about staying out all night, or you will find your stuff on the front porch."

I assumed Suzanne was kidding and laughed it off. When I returned a few hours later, I asked her about the comment. She said, "I meant it. This is MY house, and while you are staying here, you will do as I say." I informed Suzanne that I was an adult and perfectly capable of handling my own love life. I told her if she put my stuff on the front porch, that would be the end of our friendship. She replied, "If that's the way you want it, fine with me."

Ann, I am not a slut. I do not sleep around. I have never given Suzanne any reason to make such an insulting statement, especially in front of complete strangers. I'm so angry I can't see straight. I resent being treated like a child and have no intention of staying at her house again. Am I overreacting? Adult in the Midwest

Dear Midwest Adult: Suzanne was wrong to question your morals in front of company and threaten to put your clothes on the front porch.

Can it be that Suzanne was envious because you had a date? It sounds as if the green-eyed monster may have taken over and clouded her judgment. Please give her the benefit of the doubt, and don't let one thoughtless remark ruin a 25-year friendship.

Gem of the Day: Murphy's Most Accurate Law: Anything you drop in the bathroom will land in the toilet.

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