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Good marriage takes work

Tue., Jan. 20, 2009

Dear Annie: My husband, “Joe,” and I have been having minor problems recently, and I finally got him to open up about what is bothering him. Big mistake! He told me he wants a divorce.

I was completely blindsided. I asked him why he would want to leave me and the only thing he could say was that we have nothing in common except our daughter. Annie, is that a real reason to want a divorce?

Joe said he doesn’t like the person I am. I told him that was his problem, to which he agreed. He then added that he has stuck around this long only because he couldn’t afford to move out.

I know I haven’t been the greatest wife. I’m not a very good cook, I hate to clean and I’d prefer to spend Saturday in my jammies reading a good book. Apparently all of this makes Joe unhappy. But I love this man, and I tell him often. I have accepted him for who he is, even when he irritates me, so shouldn’t he learn to accept me the way I am? How am I going to survive this? – Dumped and Dumbfounded

Dear Dumped: Most men don’t leave their wives because of the cooking and housekeeping. Do you communicate? How is your sex life? A good marriage takes effort and requires that each partner wishes to make the other happy. It sounds as if you two are living parallel lives with little interaction and no interest in creating a supportive relationship. Ask Joe to go with you for counseling so both of you can learn how to make your marriage better before you give up. Do it for your daughter.

Dear Annie: Is there a rule about how much to give a couple as a monetary gift at their wedding? I’m getting married soon and I understand attendees shouldn’t be expected to give more than they can afford. But as couples are getting married later in life, they are also cleaning out their own savings in order to have a nice celebration. Times are tough for us, too. Parents don’t always foot the bill, and even with the best budgeting bride a nice reception easily runs at $50 per plate.

I was recently at a wedding where two guests gave the couple $25 each. This seems like an insult rather than a gift. – Broke Bride-to-Be

Dear Bride: Oh, dear. You have confused “guest” with “customer.” The wedding you choose to give, no matter the cost, is up to you. Your guests are not selecting the liquor, food and music. You are inviting them because you want their company at your celebration – not so they will reimburse you for your expenses. Those attending a wedding should give an appropriate gift of their choosing, and you should entertain them in a manner you can afford. Yes. Really.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar write for Creators Syndicate.

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