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Hax: On marriage and playing favorites

Wed., Dec. 29, 2010

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On nursing a marriage through scary times:

Two-plus years ago, tongue cancer knocked me down. Turned me from 155 pounds, fairly muscular and extremely active, into a 130-pound weakling, unable to eat and certainly (what with no hair and red radiation scars on neck and chin) into a very undesirable person – let alone lover.

For one year, my very attractive wife rubbed cream onto my neck, helped feed me and drove this shell of once-was, everywhere.

Still, we both kept the compliments coming, the encouragement strong and the jokes coming as to what would happen if ever I could stay awake long enough, and as to just how exhausted I would be if ever that time once again appeared.

Today, at 143 pounds and climbing, I can stay awake, and, while things may never be the way they once were, we are doing just fine, thank you.

The point being, when change in the form of The Love Destroyer charges in, then is when all the wonderful things that formed your bond need to be brought to the front and held up high above your head so that their light can keep you focused on all that was, and will again be, wonderful. Worked for us. – Happy in the North State

On the grandma who plays favorites (and rejects constructive criticism):

True challenge! One tactic I use is to redirect the potential for fault to myself, and recruit the target person to help me with my potential for fault. I ask Grandma to help me improve my own parenting by coaching me in absolute fairness with my children: Buy for one, buy the same for the other; play with one, play with the other; praise one, praise the other. Help and coach me, Grandma, with comments out of earshot, and with your own skillful modeling.

Usually, Grandma does not dismiss this strong compliment as insincere, but that risk does exist. – S.D.

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