DEAR ABBY: We have a problem -- our pastor. He uses the pulpit to criticize, put people down and offers no compassion. A person can only take so much.
The problem is, if you say anything to him, you can bet the next sermon will be about what you discussed. How can I talk to him without making him angry? -- ALL FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
DEAR A.F. AND B.: Your pastor's behavior gives new meaning to the term "bully pulpit." Rather than approach him yourself, you and others who feel as you do should take your complaint to the governing board of your church. And if that doesn't fix the problem, you should seriously consider finding another "flock" to join because it appears your shepherd has lost his way.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Claude" for eight months. We are planning a trip in the fall to visit his family's chateau in France. Claude has long legs and refuses to travel in coach because it's uncomfortable, so he will buy a business-class ticket for himself and a coach ticket for me.
While I'm grateful Claude is paying for my ticket, I feel that since we're a couple, we should travel together. I don't want to be upgraded to business class necessarily, but I'd like him to sit in coach with me. When I brought this up, he refused and is now calling me "ungrateful."
My feelings are hurt, and Claude can't understand why I am upset. My friends and family think he is acting rude and selfish. I can't help but agree. Do I have a right to be upset? I am so uncomfortable with this arrangement that I'm considering not even going. -- NOT UNGRATEFUL IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR NOT UNGRATEFUL: San Diego to France is a long flight. It's a long time to expect a tall person to fold up like a praying mantis just so you won't be sitting alone in a coach seat on your way to an all-expense-paid vacation. Claude has good reason for wanting to sit in business class. So be a sport and offer to pay for an upgrade to business class and sit with him. I agree that you shouldn't be seated "10 paces behind him," and this way you would both be comfortable.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband, "Ken," proposed three years ago, he had a steady job with an income twice as high as mine. He was laid off before our wedding, but we went ahead with the marriage. After our wedding, Ken was unemployed for another year before finally finding a minimum wage job. After one year at that job, he was fired. He has since found another minimum wage position.
I am a young teacher. We live in an expensive part of the country. We struggle every day to pay for groceries, gas and other essentials. I wasn't raised to expect many frills in life and I am frugal, but there are certain things I always assumed I would have -- a house of my own, children, a savings account. If I stay with Ken, I don't believe these things will ever be within my reach.
In all other ways, Ken is a wonderful man and I love him with all my heart. But is there ever a time when love isn't all you need? -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN ASHEVILLE, N.C.
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: You and Ken have hit a rough patch early in your marriage, but millions of Americans are even worse off -- out of work and have given up trying to find any.
When you married Ken you promised each other "for richer or poorer." This recession won't last forever and, in the meantime, you have a wonderful man you love with all your heart. Whether that's enough or not, only you can answer. But if you trade in this model, there are no 100 percent guarantees that the next one will be able to give you all you need, either. You may find that in order to get all you need, you'll have to do it on your own.