I now pro­nounce you un­grate­ful

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

I am the pas­tor of a beau­ti­ful church in a small ur­ban com­mu­nity. Be­cause we have a beau­ti­ful sanc­tu­ary — and also be­cause many min­is­ters will not con­duct wed­dings for non­mem­bers in this area — we get a lot of re­quests to have wed­dings in our church. Be­cause I think it’s im­por­tant for ev­ery hu­man be­ing to know a min­is­ter to whom they can turn in the case of an emer­gency, I am will­ing to do these wed­dings and have never charged a fee for do­ing so.

At one time, the cou­ples I mar­ried re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated this ef­fort and sent thank-you cards, small gifts or cash hon­o­rar­i­ums. How­ever, the most re­cent four cou­ples I mar­ried did not even bother to send a thankyou note. These are peo­ple who spend $15,000 on a wed­ding and ap­par­ently don’t think the min­is­ter’s time is worth com­pen­sa­tion or ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

Please, An­nie, for the sake of min­is­ters through­out the coun­try, would you re­mind your read­ers that churches do not pay their pas­tors ex­tra for wed­dings and that it is con­sid­ered good man­ners to make some ef­fort to com­pen­sate a min­is­ter for the time he or she puts into a wed­ding (eight to 12 hours, by my cal­cu­la­tion). In the mean­time, un­for­tu­nately, my pol­icy now in­cludes a manda­tory fee to cover my time. Bless­ings to you! — Unap­pre­ci­ated Pas­tor

It’s un­for­tu­nate when a few bad ap­ples spoil the bar­rel. I agree with you; it was rude of those cou­ples not to give a do­na­tion or even send a thank-you note. You were kind enough to vol­un­teer your time and give them a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with a pas­tor.

The fee sounds like a rea­son­able so­lu­tion, and as long as you keep it rel­a­tively small, it shouldn’t dis­cour­age peo­ple from get­ting mar­ried at your church.

Whether or not ev­ery cou­ple fully ap­pre­ci­ates you, rest as­sured that you are ap­pre­ci­ated; I’m grate­ful there are peo­ple like you do­ing good work in the world.

My hus­band and I met at a casino in Las Ve­gas. I was on a bach­e­lorette trip for my best friend, and he was on a bach­e­lor trip for his brother. We were sit­ting with all our friends at the black­jack ta­ble, and we both kept get­ting black­jack. It was awe­some. It turned out we both lived in San Fran­cisco, so it just felt like com­plete fate. And it was!

For our fifth an­niver­sary, we went to Ve­gas to cel­e­brate where we met, gam­bled the night away and had fun. Our 10th year is com­ing up, and he is ask­ing me to go again. But over the past five years, he has been gam­bling on­line a great deal. He has ac­tu­ally been hid­ing part of his in­come from me and gets very de­fen­sive when I ask him where the money is go­ing. I’ve stopped ask­ing be­cause it just causes fights, and I’ve started pre­tend­ing I don’t know what he’s do­ing.

I am be­gin­ning to think that he has a prob­lem, and Ve­gas is not where I want to go to cel­e­brate our 10th an­niver­sary, as I don’t want to en­cour­age any of this type of be­hav­ior. What should I do for our an­niver­sary? — Mar­ried to a High

Roller

It’s time to take off that poker face and have a real con­ver­sa­tion with your hus­band about his gam­bling. This is a very se­ri­ous ad­dic­tion and needs to be treated as such.

The non­profit Gam­blers Anonymous pro­vides sup­port for com­pul­sive gam­blers who wish to stop. The best an­niver­sary gift for both of you would be his at­tend­ing one of the group’s meet­ings.

His road to re­cov­ery may be rough and me­an­der­ing. Look after your­self so that his ad­dic­tion doesn’t de­stroy your psy­che, too. Gam-Anon Fam­ily Groups, for the loved ones of com­pul­sive gam­blers, holds meet­ings ev­ery day. Please at­tend one.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators. com.

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