DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to my co-worker’s wedding.
I have a great relationship with him, and I support him 100%. We work well together and have developed a friendship over the years. I feel like I am very accepting of him the way he is, even though he is different from me.
The problem is that my co-worker will be entering a same-sex marriage, and homosexuality goes against my beliefs as a Christian.
I don’t want to betray my religion and beliefs by attending a wedding like this, but I am sure my relationship with my co-worker would be forever changed by my absence from it. What should I do?
DEAR DEVOUT CHRISTIAN: You have beliefs that conflict with your co-worker’s that are making you uncomfortable about attending his wedding. For that reason, you should not go.
But you do not need to make a big deal about it, including the urge to tell him why you cannot attend. It is not unusual for some parties who are invited to a wedding to be unable to attend. People have scheduling challenges. Unless you make it a big deal, it shouldn’t turn into one.
I recommend that you return the reply card expressing your regrets. Tell your co-worker that you will not be able to attend, and leave it at that.
Do not talk to your co-worker or others about your beliefs regarding his marriage. Yes, your beliefs are important to you, but you should not judge this couple or point out your religious views. Their choices are their business. Being compassionate and accepting of others who are different from you is, to my understanding, a tenet of Christianity — and other world religions, for that matter.
While you may not want to be a witness to his wedding vows, you should do your best to be accepting of him for who he is.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine borrowed my paint sprayer about a month ago. My paint sprayer was very expensive — about $300 — and I’ve only used it once.
About two weeks later, he told me his wife filed for a divorce. How do I delicately ask for my property back in this situation? Should I ask him or his wife? I am not sure who has it now.
Need It Back
DEAR NEED IT BACK: Your friend borrowed your paint sprayer. He is the one responsible for giving it back to you. Ask him right away to return it. That transaction should be simple and straightforward.
The impending divorce is a completely different matter. Be a good listener on this point. Do your best not to take sides. Ask your friend how he is doing and if he needs anything.
Do not pass judgment on what’s going on between the two of them. Divorces can be messy, and friends often take sides. If you were friendly with both of them, do your best to stay neutral. Also, stay out of the details to the best of your ability. This truly is their business, not yours.
Your paint sprayer, on the other hand, is totally your business. Get it back before they start divvying things up and it gets lost in the shuffle.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.