Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

She’d Rather Skip the Church Services

DEAR NATALIE: I don't celebrate (a particular religious holiday), but my fiance's family invited me to their church services. Is it rude to say no? I don't have any desire to go to church, and I don't plan on it in the future after we are married. Any thoughts? -- NOT MY THING

DEAR NOT MY THING: I'm all for keeping the peace with the in-laws, but spirituality is a personal thing. Don't feel pressured to attend services with them, especially because you aren't going to be attending them in the future. Be very polite about it, and thank them for the invitation, but let them know that you do not attend church. But, because sugar helps the medicine go down, invite them to brunch after church and bring a pretty potted plant or some small gift for your mother-in-law as a symbol of good will moving forward. 

It's good to set boundaries early on rather than trying to backpedal in the future. It's interesting that they are unaware that you don't attend church, considering how far along you are in your relationship. Are they aware you won't likely be married in a church either? Better bring some smelling salts! I sense a faint coming on! 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)