Spiritually Speaking

QUESTION: For over a year, my fiancé and I have been planning our June 27, 2020 wedding. Both our families have been happily involved in helping us. Then along came COVID-19. Wedding planners at the venue told us that even though the shelter in place may be lifted by then, they’re canceling all events for at least three months or perhaps even more. I have my gown and we both have selected attendants. I guess the good thing in all of this is we haven’t sent out the invitations.

To complicate things even further, we just bought a house together and escrow is supposed to close around mid-June. Now my fiancé wants to go ahead and get married by our minister, move into the house and then have our church wedding later. I don’t want to do that and would rather wait for the “all clear” to have the wedding I’ve dreamed about since I was a young teen. To me, having a big wedding after we’re already married is just not the same.

Although we’ve seldom argued until now, this has been a major disagreement between us. Please help us resolve our disagreement.
~ Sad Bride-to-Be


Dear Sad Bride-to-Be,
First of all, calling yourself a Sad Bride-to-Be is an oxymoron. How can you be sad when you are about to embark on a new lifetime journey with your love? How can you not want to start that joyful journey with him as soon as possible? I read your letter and the first thing that came to my mind was the Martin Luther quote, “Even if I knew the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

So many couples over the centuries have been separated by war, culture, class and prejudice and still they fought to be married. You speak of wanting to wait for the “all clear” so that you can have your teenage dream wedding. Your fiancé has sensibly suggested that you get married and have the celebration later, especially considering that you have both purchased a home together.

Unfortunately you are very attached to the wedding you want, the way you have always wanted it, since you were a child. I invite you to think of the other real life possibilities that can also happen while you are waiting for your ‘Big Day”: You, or your fiancé or your wedding party could all become infected with this deadly virus … some of you may even die from it … what then? Do you put off the wedding again in hopes that the second resurgence of the virus will subside? The truth is no one can predict how long this virus will continue to be a deadly danger. We could also have an earthquake, a tsunami or another natural disaster that you weren’t planning on in your perfect wedding day scenario. Would all of these possibilities prevent you and your love from joining together in marriage? How superficial does it suddenly become, in these grave times of life and death, to hold on to your pre-conceived notions of what your “special day” was supposed to look like?

In the end, what does the style of your dress, the selection of hors d’oeuvres or the brand of champagne actually mean if there is no one left to enjoy it?

Marriage is supposed to be about love …. just love. The whole world is experiencing tragic disappointment right now because of the restrictions on social interactions imposed on our lives. Yesterday, I attended the “virtual” funeral of a dear family friend. No hugs, no shoulders to cry on, only a small square of video to look at. Was that fair? Was that the ideal memorial that she and her family had dreamed of? Consider the fact that people are living, and dying, without any celebrations, without a fancy dress, or even a band playing. No limousines, no honeymoons in Europe, and yet, we love. Still, we cling to each other in these dark times. We are now brought to our knees and can either look at this as an opportunity to learn the true meaning of life or use it as a way to postpone our future out of fear. You either want to marry your love or you don’t. You are either willing to put aside what you want it to look like, in your need for gratification, or you are not. If I were your fiancé, I would question your priorities and ask you what is more important: Your Big Party, or your lifetime commitment to love?

Rev. Karen Mitchell


Dear Sad Bride-to-Be,
The grief of postponing milestone celebrations – graduations, sweet 16 birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings – is abundant now. The sadness of hopes that fall short of our expectations can lead us to re-evaluate our priorities and re-imagine what matters most to us. As cliché as it sounds, often what remains in our memories is the people we were with, the stories we shared, the connections we made and sustained.

You and your fiancé are navigating this reality and having to come to terms not only with what is being lost but what is most valued. And, as it often happens in marriage, sometimes those values compete with others’ needs. We enter these lifelong relationships because, on some level, we recognize that sharing this life with someone (and sharing these values with them) makes us more than who we are alone.

You are right – a ceremony after you are already married is not the same. But nothing will be the same, even if you postpone the wedding. Each of you will lose something. The question I would propose you consider is: What might you gain? Could having two celebrations (private and public) tell the story of your love for one another and solidify your upcoming vows to be with one another no matter what comes your way?

The worst approach would be all-or-nothing where one of you wins and the other loses. Marriage is nothing if not compromise. I am certain that there would be a third way forward, one that acknowledges that this is not what you imagined but perhaps can still find ways to celebrate anyway. I would encourage you to use this moment of conflict and argument to find common values, each articulating the emotions you feel as solutions are offered. This moment could be the crucible in which your marriage is strengthened before it begins.

Pastor Kyle Sears


QUESTION: We have a “sticky wicket” on our hands. Our son John is 4 years old and our neighbors’ little boy, Timmy, is about the same age. When Timmy comes over to play with John, he ends up taking one of John’s toys home with him. Then John comes crying to me because Timmy took the toy. This has happened several times and finally I went next door to get some of the toys back. Timmy told his mother that John had given them to him. I asked John if that was true and he said he didn’t.

We get along great with these neighbors and even have barbecues together. The reason I hadn’t noticed before that Timmy was taking the toys is we have a gate between our properties and Timmy always goes home that way when his mother calls him. Perhaps I’m overlooking what could be a simple solution and maybe I’m too close to the problem.

Any helpful suggestions are welcome.
~Unsettled Mom


Dear Unsettled Mom,
My son was born in October, another boy cousin the following January, and another boy cousin in February. They played together often. We had a similar problem when one of the cousins took another cousin’s toy; it wasn’t like going next door to get it back – it was miles. What we finally decided doing, and the kids liked it better than playing with toys, was doing crafts with them. Each boy had his craft to take home. It was fun for us mothers because we often included thematic holiday crafts. We also had games for them and some we made up – who could toss a ball the furthest, etc. Use your imagination and you’ll enjoy the process as well. That was many years ago. My son and his cousins are now all adults with their own children.

What I’ve mentioned are activities that require supervision. In that case, limit playtime together and schedule time that works for both you and your neighbor.

Now there are many creative ideas available over the internet that were not available when our children were young. I’m including a website that I’m certain will be helpful for you and your neighbors.


Rev. Dr. Beverly G. Craig CSL – La Crescenta



Dear Unsettled Mom,
First of all, you need to tell Timmy as he is taking one of John’s toys out the door that “the toy lives here” in John’s house. Please note that you need to watch when Timmy leaves in order to stop him. If he gives up the toy willingly, you need to thank him and tell him the toy will be here the next time he comes over to play. If Timmy does not give up the toy willingly, then explain to him, “I bought this toy for John, and it needs to stay here.”

If Timmy continues to hold on to the toy, let him go on home with the toy. Then call Timmy’s mother and tell her that you tried to explain that that toy lives here in our house and, since he continued to hold on to it, could you both come over here and we’ll all talk about it together.

Hopefully, the outcome of this meeting will resolve the problem. If not, then the parents need to get together alone and resolve the problem. The parents need to set down appropriate rules with consequences for their children’s age.
Good luck!

The Rev. C. L. “Skip” Lindeman