While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On curfews for adult children:
I also have a daughter in college and we faced this question when she returned home for breaks. My daughter and I have come to an arrangement that she will text me at 2 a.m. if she is still out and let me know where she is and what her plans are — sleep over with friends, come home soon or watch another movie. She is also free to call me anytime for a ride — no lectures — if the alternative is getting in a car with kids who have been drinking. I have gotten out of bed at 4 a.m. to pick her up. She knows that I trust her and my top priority is to keep her safe. Some of our best talks have been in the car late at night or having a late-night snack together before she goes to sleep.
Sleeping Pretty Well
On choosing to cohabitate:
I am a professional Christian theologian/pastor-type connected to a mainline denomination. My ears always perk up when someone is claiming to speak for God, completely sure of "God's will."
Parents sometimes (often) do not know when it is time to cease trying to control adult children. And these children need to decide if they are willing to continue to be controlled by their elders, period.
And if God's opinion, blessing or not, is truly important to anyone involved here, it is important to remember that God loves a sinner and understands the actions and motivations of this kind of "sin," especially if it is the choice of a person of faith, one who is routinely in conversation with God. People need to do what will make them happy as long as they can live with their own decisions and their understanding of God's requirements of them.
As a parent of adult children, I can relate to the desires of "well-intentioned" parents and grandparents. But they need to remember and trust that, if they trained up their children well in the first place, they have no cause to worry how they will turn out. Having once stated their position quite clearly, perhaps the relatives should keep their voices out of their children's business until they're asked for their advice. Then they need to remember that children don't have to follow that advice.
On choosing cohabitation, continued:
Absolutely. Wish I had done it this way — my "wife" turned out to be a nightmare that, frankly, would have certainly surfaced in the first year. Biggest mistake of my life and a lesson I really didn't need.
On stating a ring preference without mentioning marriage:
If the couple ever watch TV together, all the woman needs to do is wait until an advertisement for diamonds comes on, and then say, "I can't believe any woman would be happy with such an expensive piece of jewelry. There are so many better uses for that kind of money." She doesn't have to mention engagement rings specifically, or say anything about the boyfriend's purchases.