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Discourage spouse from mentioning ‘her’ in bedroom

Judith Martin, United Feature Syndicate

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been dating a man for 2 1/2 years. His wife passed away 6 1/2 years ago. I knew both of them for 30 years.

He continues to refer to his deceased wife as “my wife.” He brings her up in every situation to tell a story of what happened in his past. I had to ask him to stop bringing her name up in the bedroom.

I love this man. Is that normal ? Does he bring her up because at one time we were friends? He knows that it bothers me.

GENTLE READER: Why he does this, Miss Manners cannot say. Probably habit, but possibly a warning that the position of wife is not open. But she can tell you how to make him stop.

“You know, dear,” you can interject the next time, “it seems disrespectful to poor Catherine Ann for you and me to talk about her here in the bedroom.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I were already engaged when we found out I was pregnant last year. We had a quickly planned wedding that was very nice but had very little to do with us. It was mostly a way of keeping the peace with our rather conservative families.

Because of the short notice of our wedding, many of our closest friends who live all over the country were unable to attend. My husband and I would very much like to celebrate with these people.

We aren’t sure what we should do. We considered having an anniversary party, but celebrating two years seems rather premature. Should we have a “second” wedding reception that gives enough notice to our friends who have to travel? Is it too late for that? We want absolutely no gifts, just a chance to acknowledge our marriage with our friends. Thoughts?

GENTLE READER: It is the thoughts that such a party would arouse in your guests with which you should be concerned. A party honoring yourselves but removed in time from its cause is bound to suggest that you are trolling for wedding presents.

It is not that Miss Manners disapproves of your gathering your friends; only of your naming it as an occasion it is not. Throw as gala a party as you like, and during it, you and your husband can toast your guests by saying that you would have wished to celebrate your wedding with them, but are even happier to do so while you are living happily ever after.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We have built our dream home and now are in the process of furnishing it. To my utter exasperation and incredulity, my husband says that he doesn’t want any tables (side or center) in the family room, as he wants free range to horseplay with the children.

The room is quite large (so space is not an issue), we are well within our budget (so his opposition is not financial), and I have suggested wood tables as opposed to glass ones if safety is his concern.

He still refuses. I am upset because I feel it is inappropriate to entertain guests and ask them to put their glasses, cups and plates on the floor, but my husband seems to see nothing wrong with this.

Am I being fussy? Is it commonplace to have no tables in the family room? This seemingly innocuous matter is turning into a contentious issue between us.

GENTLE READER: This is not the home furnishings department, but if Miss Manners can save a marriage, she feels she should.

Put out folding tables when you expect guests.

Readers may write to Miss Manners at MissManners@, or via postal mail at United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016.
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