Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I decided on a wedding date that was convenient and would have great romantic meaning. The wedding is abroad and we traveled to make arrangements. We reserved the church, reception venue, musicians, photographer, almost everything!
My older sister has been trying for over a year now to get pregnant, and she is undergoing medical treatment. She said she was almost sure she was pregnant (it turned out she wasn't), and asked us to change the date. I didn't even think much when I said no because we had already paid deposits and I like the date.
She is very upset and she thinks I am wrong and selfish. I think the same about her request. She gave me a big wedding gift (so I can help pay for the wedding) so I think she thinks I must change the date.
We have always been very close, but this is creating a really deep crack in our relationship. How can we move past this?
When your sister thought she had a long-hoped-for due date that conflicted with your wedding date, your response - to the very person who apparently made your wedding-abroad-on-a-date-of-great-romantic-meaning possible - was "Tough." In so many words.
Would it even have been possible to change your date to accommodate your sister? Maybe not; maybe the change fees would have been so prohibitive that "Tough" was the only practical answer.
However, for a sister who gave generously, the loving response would have been, "I so want you there. Let me make some calls." Even if checking it out produced the same outcome, the act of checking would have told your sister you had your priorities straight. As in: family; gratitude for gift; (lots and lots of other stuff); romantic wedding date.
Now, maybe what you thought you were saying was something strictly pragmatic, that you already knew the cost of changing was prohibitive - but how else do fights start except for such gaps in perception?
Please recognize, and admit to your sister, that you were too quick to dismiss the idea of rescheduling the wedding.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.