While I'm away, readers give the advice.
What comes after the wedding is what really matters
D.: On the rush to marriage: I can't help thinking that people who really care which party proposes and is proposed to are often a long way from being ready to marry. I have seen enough pomp and circumstance to believe that anniversaries are vastly more worthy of celebration than weddings. Tying the knot means almost nothing compared to making it work for decades.
If families want to gather for the sake of gathering, I'm all for it. I just don't like it when people in serious relationships face outside pressure to marry.
Calling off wedding at 11th hour may result in stronger marriage
Seattle Mom: On the beauty of being left at the altar: Calling off a wedding at the last minute in some ways is more likely to result in a long, happy marriage. It means the person has faced that she has fears; has acted on her realization before the "large wedding," which would make acting on her feelings much more devastating for all involved; and wants to see if her issues can be resolved. Realize how hard this is to do.
If the couple then seeks help, at least two positive outcomes are possible: They will realize there are obstacles that are too big to ignore, whether they are hers, his or theirs together. Or, they will speak openly to each other about their feelings, share their fears, explore what needs to be changed or discussed, and learn to trust each other on a much deeper level, and the wedding will happen when they are ready.
A marriage founded in this kind of openness and trust is much more likely to be "long and happy" than one that begins with one person conflicted and unhappy and not brave enough to say so.
Answer to tough question may present itself if framed correctly
C.: On marrying young: I really struggled with that "Will I regret getting married so young?" thing. Until, by the grace of God, I flipped the question around, and asked myself: "Will I regret it if I don't marry him?"
That answer was very loud and clear.
Forty-two years later, I still like him best.
I do advise those who marry young, however, to put off kids for a few years. It isn't fair to the kids when you look at them and regularly think, "If it weren't for you, I could have done X with my life."
Another way to ask about an ex
B.K.: On asking dates, "Why did you get divorced?" Early on, I prefer, "What do you value about your ex-wife/husband?" It brings on positive reflection and allows me insight into whether we have shared values.
If line is crossed, end it quickly
JBT: On figuring out what you want from a relationship, and sticking to it: Early in a relationship, both parties want to make it work and will do any number of things to please. Like new employees at work, they look good for a while, but slowly their true traits show up.
Once the line you've drawn in a relationship has been crossed, breaking it off quickly — as much as it hurts, and as annoying as it is to get back on the dating merry-go-round — is phenomenally better than driving it farther down the road into a much larger wreck.
You can be called rude, callous and cold, but not wrong. I've been there.