Causing Confusion, Wedding Invite Mixes Guidance With Gall

By Wendy Belzberg

Published September 19, 2003, issue of September 19, 2003.

My wife and I received the following wedding invitation from a family member: The wonderful couple is not registered and would prefer cash in lieu of gifts. Must we comply?

— Confused by cash-only chutzpah

Your confusion is understandable; the invitation is too vague. How are you to know without further clarification what your money will buy? Will a larger check guarantee seats closer to the chupah? Will there be naming opportunities? Is this your only chance to give to the bride and bridegroom, or will there be pledge cards available at the ceremony?

You already know the answer to your unstated question: tacky, tacky. Perhaps you hope that the bride and groom — and all betrothed couples considering the same idea — will read this column. The request is in the poorest taste — no points even for candor. Having vented and had your instincts confirmed, send off a modest check and enjoy the wedding. You may want to look again at the invitation and make sure it doesn’t say BYOB in fine print.

* * *

My children, ages 9 and 11, are old enough to follow the Rosh Hashana service, but they have a hard time sitting still. They fidget, giggle and interrupt my concentration by asking how much longer the service will last. I am considering having a “family service” at home and foregoing synagogue all together. I think this will make for a more meaningful holiday for us all.

— Time for self-service?

If your children are like any other children their ages and would prefer to be at home in casual clothing with the freedom to roam as they please, you are obligated to teach them the importance of the holiday and of celebrating with the community. Children who attend Friday night or Saturday services on a regular basis know exactly how to behave in synagogue. If you went with your children to synagogue more frequently — not less — they would soon get accustomed to synagogue behavior.

But perhaps I am being too harsh. When your children are fidgety in school and can’t sit still, what then? If your answer is home schooling, I am willing to reconsider my advice.

* * *

My marriage has not been good for some time. Recently when I was using my husband’s cell phone and scrolled through his phone log, I discovered that the same number kept coming up. When I dialed the number, a woman answered. I think my husband may be having an affair, but I don’t want to confide in my friends or family and risk ruining their opinion of him in case I am wrong. Should I try to track down the person at the other end of the phone number?

Calling out for the truth

Have you been watching too much television? There are people — husbands and wives — who could lie to you outright and deny the charges even if they are true. If you suspect your husband is capable of this, your marriage has passed well beyond the point of “not being good.” If not, why not just ask him?

The infidelity issue is crucial. But it is second to the trust issue. You can hire a private investigator with an expertise in matters matrimonial if you need to know for your own sake and sanity whose number your husband is dialing. Make sure to hire such a person through a law firm and not through the yellow pages. (I, too, watch television.) No matter what you find out, however, your marriage is in dire need of attention. It is time to get some counseling.

Write to “Ask Wendy” at 954 Lexington Avenue #189, New York, N.Y. 10021 or at wendy@forward.com.



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