Amy is supposed to be a bridesmaid in her little sister’s wedding. Her son is lined up to be the ring bearer.
And now Amy’s husband is scheduled to come home from a nine month deployment and start leave at that time. He could go to the family wedding, too.
Amy’s secret? She doesn’t really want to attend. Because this wedding is bringing up lots of unhappy feelings about family.
“Now my father is paying for a beach wedding for 100 guests with 2-3 days of lodging. I’m supposed to come and honor (my sister) when she has pushed many family members away with her hostile attitude and selfish ways.Now things that didn’t matter before (like the fact that Amy and her husband didn’t have a big wedding), matter now. She is starting to dread the idea of traveling out of state during the post-deployment period.
At first I was excited to come and support, I even wrote a thoughtful, loving speech.
However, the closer the wedding gets the more she doesn’t want any family members to help or even have a clue about the details of the wedding my father is paying for, including HIM!”
Go to the family wedding or send a nice note? How would you decide?I hear about this wedding issue from military spouses all the time. Why is that long distance weddings are so complicated for us?
Maybe it is because military families tend to live far away from their extended families so issues seem bigger, more unmanageable, more expensive.
Maybe deployments and moves always come at inconvenient times for big family events.
Maybe it is just that every wedding is crazy in its own way and brings out the crazy in everyone—military and civilian alike.
Me? I’m a big believer in the power of weddings and funerals to hold families together. I think attending a wedding tells the family (not just the bride and groom) that you are a card-carryin’ member of that family and that no matter how far away you live family matters to you.
I traveled back from Japan by myself with a preschooler and a baby to attend my brother’s wedding. The week after my husband’s deployment we drove out to a cousin’s wedding in Kentucky. We have driven half way across the country to attend funerals.
Attendance is part of the price of membership in my family’s clan. Yet, the longer I belong to the military community, the more I realize that not every family is like that.
Not every family cares if members attend events. Not every family deserves to have long distance members move heaven and earth to attend events.
Not every attendance results in feeling closer to family members. Sometimes the opposite is true.
How do you decide whether or not to attend a wedding or a funeral. And what factors do you think Amy needs to keep in mind?