Ask Amy: Marrying couple seeks serving help

Dear Amy: ‘Tis the season for wedding advice, I guess.

My partner and I are planning a very small affair on a low budget.

We recently recruited my future mother-in-law to help with last-minute planning (we were doing it all ourselves).

The caterer is delivering dinner to our venue in the form of buffet-style trays.

My plan was to have everyone serve themselves.

My fiancé’s mother, citing concerns about Covid, strongly feels that we should have someone standing behind the food to serve people.

In principle, I agree with her concerns, as well as that of apportioning food fairly.

The problem is that we can’t afford to hire staffing.

Our guest list is 25 people, with half of those being our immediate family.

A few loved ones have volunteered to help with whatever we need, but I don’t want to assign anyone the task of feeding everyone else.

If I thought my future mother-in-law was wrong, I would simply tell her.

Instead, I see a good idea with no clear way to execute it.

What do you think we should do?

– Stressed by Stupid Little Details

Dear Stressed: I agree with your future mother-in-law that it is a good idea to have someone on the other side of the buffet line, helping to serve and perhaps removing the serving dishes and putting out the cake afterward.

I’m not sure how having help fits into the concerns about Covid, but overall, having even one extra pair of hands would be extremely useful.

Furthermore, you could probably hire a helper for two hours for $50.

Your caterer might have recommendations, and if you receive a reasonable quote, perhaps your mother-in-law would help pay for this.

It sounds as if you have a helpful and hands-on family and friend group. You could also accept their help – perhaps in shifts. This is a communal celebration meal, and for many people, helping to serve would be an honor.

My last suggestion might seem odd, but perhaps you and your new spouse should serve your guests, yourselves.

This might be a nice symbolic gesture, where the first “official” act of your life together as a married couple would be to serve those people who have gathered to celebrate your marriage.

I hope you will be able to relax, laugh and genuinely feel joyful during your wedding and reception.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for a long time. We have two grown children.

I have always thought we were “meant to be.” We have lots of mutual interests; we laugh, we talk when there is a problem, and we don’t keep secrets.

A few days ago, I came back quickly from an errand. I went to tell him I was home, and found him looking at porn on his computer.

I was shocked at what he was watching, and extremely hurt. It felt like he was being unfaithful – sexually and mentally.

I asked him why he was looking at it and he said he didn’t know.

I said I would talk to him when he knew the answer. He said nothing for three days.

Finally, I talked and was crying and told him how terribly hurt I was. He said he wouldn’t do it anymore. I asked how long he had been doing this, and he said for a few years.

I’ve tried to forgive. I need help to let this go, but I haven’t been able to.

How can I resolve this?

– Devastated

Dear Devastated: The reason your husband kept this a secret is because he knew how you would react, and he didn’t want to cope with your emotions and feelings of betrayal. I strongly suspect that he loves and values you, and he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

To grossly generalize, I don’t think men see viewing porn as a betrayal of their partners, because for them it isn’t necessarily personal – it’s sexual. Your husband chose to remain silent rather than describe his feelings and impulses.

I hope you can approach this without panicking in order to give him latitude to talk about this aspect of his life.

Dear Amy: Count me with all of the people who don’t like your advice to allow unmarried adults to sleep together in your house.

Our values do not allow for this, and our children know it. They wouldn’t even insult us by asking.

– Old-Fashioned

Dear Old-Fashioned: The question you are referring to (“Pondering Papa in the Pacific Northwest”) reflected two parents who disagreed about this.