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A gift of jewelry, with strings attached

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

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Carolyn Hax

Friday, August 11, 2017

Q My wife and I have an anniversary coming up. It’s the second marriage for both of us and has been a blessing. I’d like to give my her a nice piece of jewelry to mark the event.

But here’s the situation. Her daughter, as a teenager, resented her mom’s marriage to me. For several years it was brutal. We have managed a reconciliation of sorts, now that she is 20-something, but I’ll never be part of her “inner circle.” I’m fine with this. It allows for an amiable family setting.

But I have five adult children of my own and 12 grandkids. Because of these separate pasts, we have kept our “assets” separate.

So, finally: Would it be unacceptable for me to request that my wife agree to bequeath a fine piece of jewelry to one of my progeny rather than to her daughter? The daughter will already come into an expensive engagement ring and a considerable amount of less-expensive stuff. I confess that seeing more precious jewelry go to this daughter dampens my ardor for honoring my wife.

Do I not understand the true meaning of giving? — Request

A Seems you understand it quite well — which is why you’re looking for a loophole.

Alas, the answer is no, it’s not acceptable to hand your wife a gift on the condition that she keep it from her not-as-awful-as-she-used-to-be-but-still-rather-difficult daughter because then it’s not really a gift. Not with strings attached.

Maybe you’d like to treat your wife to a romantic vacation for your anniversary? Then the laws of physics are in your favor: She can’t both take the trip and will it to her daughter. A woman who already has a “considerable amount” of jewelry might agree, too, that experiences make excellent gifts.

 

Q At a recent wedding, I found out about a new trend: The bride asks that guests post none of their photos of the event online, only the couple will choose which photos to post. Guests are instructed to send all photos to them directly for choosing.

I’m of two minds. I fully support a couple who asks that no photos be taken during the ceremony. However, I’ve never heard anyone say the entire event is off-limits to cameras. So it’s OK for me to take photos of the reception, but not to post online? It sounds a bit bridezilla to me, too controlling.

But perhaps I am missing something and this is not only reasonable but to be encouraged? — I’ll Just Leave My Camera at Home, I Guess ...

A I see no reason for a special rule or request pertaining to wedding photos (though I’ll no doubt hear some starting ... now). The existing boundaries of good social-media citizenship will suffice: Don’t post any pictures without the permission of the people in them, or pictures of creative output or private spaces that are plainly a host’s prerogative to display — their home, invitations, decorations, etc.

So, a photo of bride or groom? Get his or her OK or don’t post. A selfie with friends at the wedding? Get their OK or don’t post.

Translation: Best practices only need apply. If couples need explicit embargos to get that across, then it’s hard to say whether they or guests are the ones crossing the line.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

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