When planning a wedding there is bound to be some drama. Feelings will be hurt, words that were said cannot be unsaid, and friendships are tested. I just had no idea that this time around the pain would be largely mine.
A dear friend of mine is married to a man whose behavior at events (and in any social setting really) has been inappropriate to say the least. He is not an ideal wedding guest. For this and a variety of other reasons, my fiance did not want this man to attend our wedding. I cannot say that I blame him, nor did my feelings truly differ. The question then became what was I to do about it?
There was no longer an issue of this man attending. Even if I had longed for him to be there, my fiance did not want that. That’s really what it comes down to: do I choose the feelings of a friend or the feelings of my fiance? If I didn’t put the feelings of my fiance first then there wouldn’t really be any point in us getting married. We have compromised to make this wedding as small as possible while still including a vast array of friends and family, I could not begrudge him this request, especially since in my heart I felt the same way.
So what to do about it? Here were my options:
1. Not invite the couple
2. Talk to my friend and explain
I would love to be the kind of person who could just not invite them. I would love to take the path of least resistance, the path of passive aggression. But it’s not in my nature to do that.
I know first hand that passive aggression is just as, if not more, hurtful that confrontation. The questions of why? the confusion, the wounded feelings are not something I wanted to impart to my friend. This woman has been a dear dear friend to me and has supported me through exceptionally tough times. My decision regarding her spouse’s attendance had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him. The least I could do was tell her that.
I was thus left with the only option left: confrontation.
I feel like many people assume confrontation means fighting or yelling, when in reality it’s just a straightforward expression of feelings and thoughts. There will most likely be hurt feelings but both sides will have been honest. I worried then about the words I would choose. I worried that I would fatally wound our friendship. I worried that I might never get a chance to speak another word to this woman who I loved so very much. Just the thought of hurting my friend made my stomach turn and my heart beat faster. I knew the risks I was taking by confronting her about the issue and I still had no choice but to go ahead.
After we had dinner one night I explained my position, emphasizing as much as possible my love and respect for my friend, my desire to keep our friendship alive, my hope that she would still attend but coupled with my understanding that she might choose not to do so.
I guess that what a big part of this came down to: I wanted to give her the choice. She could attend or not attend. She could maintain our friendship or not. She could choose to stand my her husband just as I was choosing to stand by my fiance.
Nothing about that conversation felt good. My heart ached, my body rebelled and tears involuntarily welled in my eyes. It broke my heart to break hers.
Since that day I have questioned and requestioned my actions. I have been attacked by friends who sought to defend our friend. I have felt abandoned by other in the wake of one of the toughest moral decisions I’ve had to make. And even though I have played and replayed and examined ever possible angle, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently.
It comes down to a question of kindness. Was it kinder for me to be honest? Would it have been kinder to exclude the couple all together? Should I truly have been kinder to my fiance than my friend?
As always when I am faced by these types of decisions, I ask my self what would Christ have me do? What is the Christian thing to do in this situation?
I’ve been struggling to come up with an answer. I have prayed and reflected. I have discussed it with my fiance and my therapist. I have borne the ache in my chest that I have lost my friend and I truly don’t know what the Christian thing to do was. I loved as best I could and caused pain as little as possible. That will have to be enough for now.