DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has lost the desire to go to church. We recently moved to a new home and have yet to find a church that suits us. The issue is that no one is making an effort to find a good option around us. I've explained my concerns before, but no one listens to me or is willing to help look for a new congregation. I am starting to believe that our lack of attendance is causing some spiritual instability within our home. How can I convince my family to take this more seriously? -- Go to Church
DEAR GO TO CHURCH: Since you are most concerned about establishing a new church home, why don’t you take the lead? Start by talking to your former pastor, and ask him or her for recommendations. Your pastor may know churches in your new neighborhood or may have connections to the community that may be of value to you. Go online and look up churches in your denomination that are nearby, then take a drive by to see them. Spend the next month or so attending different church services to see what feels like a good fit. Always invite your family members to join you, but don’t push. Once you find the one that you like most -- or even two from which to choose -- invite your family to join you to help make the decision. It may take a while for everyone to re-engage, but this process will get you to a decision.
Know that moving in and of itself can be stressful. Whatever spiritual instability you may be experiencing could be a result of that. Stay strong and keep your eyes open so that you notice what’s going on with your family. Schedule weekly check-ins with them to see how the adjustment is unfolding for them.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been hanging out with a person of interest casually for six months. We agreed that we should start off slow and take time to get to know each other better. He often tells me about other partners he has dated, and he sometimes gets too specific for my liking. I try not to get frustrated because we are not in a relationship, but I often find it inappropriate being that we both clearly have feelings for each other. When I bring this to his attention, he argues, saying that he feels comfortable telling me everything about himself, being that I am now his friend. I am unsure how to feel about this. How should I move forward with this friendship? -- More Than Friends
DEAR MORE THAN FRIENDS: The danger of taking things too slowly in relationships is that you can slip into the “friend” label and get stuck there. If you like this man as more than a friend, now is the time to be crystal clear about that. This includes telling him what you want from the relationship. Among your stated desires should be that you don’t want to hear about other women because you like him. You would like for the two of you to try being exclusive and taking your relationship seriously.
If you don’t state exactly what you want, you don’t create the opportunity to get it. If he doesn’t agree, you will have to decide if you can accept just being his friend. At least you will know.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)