Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My son is getting married this year. The invitations mention the bride's parents but not the groom's parents. We have always been very supportive parents to our son. When asked, our son said that's the way his fiancee said invitations were done. He said he doesn't want to upset her. Our future daughter-in-law is very close to her parents but doesn't have much to do with us. Our son visits us often. We have always been warm and welcoming to his fiancee. This is very upsetting to us. Any advice?


DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Strictly speaking, traditionally the parents who are "hosting" (i.e., paying for) the wedding are those whose names should be listed on the invitation. Some families "co-host" weddings, but these are parents who have come together in advance and have decided to share the cost and hosting duties.

I hope you will find ways to assume a role in this wedding. Parents of the groom often host and pay for the rehearsal dinner, for instance. There might be other ways you can be helpful, and you should contact your future daughter-in-law and her parents to see how you can help. This will not only help you to get to know them better, but will cement your role in their lives as a couple -- and as supportive and involved parents.

Your son (and his future bride) could -- and should -- handle this awkwardness better and should make an effort to include you. Your son should be brave enough to stand up to his bride -- even at the risk of upsetting her -- to make sure you and your husband are involved.

Weddings are incredibly stressful events; planning a wedding will test the couple in important ways. Navigating these challenges is actually very good practice for the challenges they will face in the future.

DEAR AMY: The letter from "Not Revolted" about urinating in the sink sparked an interesting discussion with my husband. We determined that Not Revolted had made a few assumptions that required questioning, and he's unfortunately not the only one making these assumptions. The first was that because the mess was not specifically germ-laden, it was OK to go ahead and make a mess someplace. Urine may be sterile, but it is hardly colorless or odorless. Nor is it benign. Urine is by definition a waste product. The second assumption was that somebody else was going to clean up after him. Common courtesy would dictate that a person making a mess of any kind should clean up after himself. It is inconsiderate to leave the room in a state unfit for the next user. And then there is the assumption that standing up to urinate is some form of sacred law of manhood that must never be violated. There is absolutely no reason a man cannot urinate sitting down. My husband took to sitting down years ago so that he would not make splashing noises. Not Revolted needs to stop rationalizing inconsiderate behaviors and start thinking of others. As my husband put it very succinctly, "He needs to sit down and shut up."

Offended by Not Revolted

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DEAR OFFENDED: Scores of readers have responded to this topic -- and many men have informed me that they are happy to sit. Shutting up is another issue.

DEAR AMY: I was surprised that your thoughtful reply to "In the Doldrums" did not include exploring meaningful volunteer opportunities that abound in any community. I was in a similar position several years ago and now spend four mornings a week at a local preschool. My sister became a CASA advocate in her city. These activities have become central to our senses of purpose and identity. I also started a pottery class and am now well ensconced in the local pottery community, even selling pieces to local shops. There are many ways to get out of a rut, besides a part-time job.

Been There, Solved That

DEAR BEEN THERE: "In the Doldrums" reported that she already volunteered, but I completely agree with you -- meaningful volunteer work is a game changer, for the volunteer and the cause you are helping.