Dear Ann Cannon • My husband’s brother and his wife are evangelical Christians, who believe, among other things, that homosexuality is a sin, goes against God’s word, etc. Our gay daughter got married this summer, and the uncle and his wife were invited. They declined to attend, saying they did not/could not condone a gay relationship and marriage.
This brother and his wife are now planning a visit (brother visits maybe once a year when business brings him this way; his wife has not visited for 20 years). We are conflicted about whether to see them, citing their decision to refuse to attend our daughter’s wedding. Our daughter’s view is that we should not go out of our way to spend time with them, but she does not mind if we see them when they are here. Her view: “They chose not to be a part of the biggest day in my life, so I choose not to be a part of their lives.” But she understands that we can and should be civil to each other when life dictates that we spend time together.
Should we spend time with them? Just have a brief visit? Refuse to see them? Tell them why we refuse to see them? Our inclination is to spend a little time with them and explain why we are not spending more time, basically quoting our daughter.
— My Daughter’s Mother
Dear Mom • It sounds like you and your husband aren’t particularly close to this brother’s family. But still. It had to be hurtful, perhaps even infuriating when they declined to attend their niece’s wedding. Personally, I don’t understand why someone would make this decision, religious principles or not. And speaking of religion, your daughter’s measured response actually feels more Christian than theirs does.
You’ve already created a list of viable options for yourself here. It sounds, however, like you’re most inclined to follow your daughter’s lead, so I would go ahead and do that. Here’s wishing you and yours the best.
Dear Ann Cannon • I love my husband, but he doesn’t share my interest in reading. Suggestions for a reluctant adult reader?
Dear Bookworm • Your question reminds me of an experience my parents had. My dad loved to golf and because my mother loved my dad, she once made an effort to love golf, too. Only she didn’t. AT ALL. And when she finally gave up golf, both of my parents heaved seismic sighs of relief that could be felt all over the valley.
This is just my way of saying that as much as we would like our significant others to share our passions, things don’t always work out that way. HOWEVER, I am happy to recommend a few titles that the guys in my life have liked. “I Am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes is one. It’s a gritty, intense thriller that gave me more than a few insights into what’s happening in the Middle East today. I’d also recommend the Sheriff Longmire series by Craig Johnson. They’re good mysteries with an excellent western setting. The Memory Man series by David Baldacci, which features a detective with a savant-like ability to remember everything he’s seen, may also be a good choice. So are the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child and anything by Harlan Coban or Michael Connelly.
Some non-fiction titles your husband might like include “The Tiger” by John Vaillant, which is one of my favorite books ever because who can refuse a story about a big old man-eating cat? “The Devil in the White City,” the true story of a serial killer operating in the shadows of the Chicago World’s Fair, is awesome, as is about anything author Erik Larson has written. “The Emerald Mile” by Kevin Fedarko tells the story of an epic ride through a flooded Grand Canyon, while “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah about the comedian’s South African childhood may be just the ticket.
I also tossed this question out on Facebook and received dozens of excellent recommendations. Feel free to visit my personal Facebook page and see if you can find a title to your liking there.
Finally, think about listening to audiobooks when you’re on the road together. As far as I’m concerned, listening counts as reading.