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by Abigail Van Buren

Equal Partners in Marriage Define Their Love as True

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Happy to Be Ron's Girl" (yuck, yuck): I am dismayed that someone can call herself an old-fashioned girl yet shirk her moral responsibilities and be Ron's live-in honey instead of his wife. "Ron's Girl" has a warped definition of "true love" since they are not willing to make the commitment of marriage. Ron's got it made! He has all the benefits of lover, mommy, maid and slave without the hassle of commitment.

My husband and I are both working professionals, and we share household responsibilities. Just because I don't want to spend my life being my husband's maid doesn't mean I'm "lazy." We have an equal partnership, which my husband and I agree is the definition of "true love." Unlike "Ron's Girl," who didn't have enough courage to let you print her name, you may print mine. I stand behind my convictions. -- STACY L. VERDICK CASE, BLAINE, MINN.

DEAR STACY: Since I ran the letter from "Happy to Be Ron's Girl," I have been inundated with mail from irate readers who were morally offended at the thought of couples living together. Read on for a few samples:

DEAR ABBY: In response to "Happy to Be Ron's Girl" -- the woman who scolded contemporary women for not catering to or waiting on their men: I am a 38-year-old married career woman and the mother of two teen-agers. I possess some excellent old-fashioned morals, thanks to my parents who taught me love, respect, and a host of other decent things. Those two people would be the first ones to promote and endorse "equality" in the home.

We don't use that word, however. Rather, we stress responsibility and contribution by everyone. Our children are learning to be functioning members in the family. Our daughter mows the grass and our son does the dishes and is learning to cook. My husband will do whatever needs to be done. No matter what we do, we do it for all of us and, in the process, we have some GREAT family times or one-on-one with the kids.

I pity "Ron's Girl," who probably has never experienced the joy of coming home to clean dishes or supper prepared by a loving husband. "Many hands make light work," and we all end up with more time to do the things we enjoy. Finally, I have to wonder why he's only a live-in. I guess there's no need to buy a cow when he can get the milk for free. -- STEAMED UP IN NEBRASKA

DEAR ABBY: "Happy to Be Ron's Girl" boasted that she had good looks and brains and was happy to serve her man a good meal and show her love by doing his laundry. That's fine and dandy, and I applaud her for it. But she went on to brand women who "aspire to shirking domestic duties" as lazy.

Well, I'd like to add another thing: She's also smug and arrogant. How dare this supposedly "brainy" woman flaunt her holier-than-thou attitude and pass judgment on the rest of us who are domestically challenged! In my opinion, there are other ways of showing your love besides cooking and ironing clothes. For 12 years, I have been happily married to a loving, wonderful man who married me despite my well-known aversion to household chores and inability to follow a recipe.

To "Ron's Girl," I say: To each her own, sister. And if you're so great, how come he has not given you a wedding ring to "prove" HIS love?

Please don't use my real name. Just sign me ... INCENSED IN FLORIDA

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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