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by Abigail Van Buren

'Missus' as Title Misses the Mark for This Bride

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are planning an August wedding, and we're working on the exact wording of the ceremony. He is a judge and I have a Ph.D. in education. We've worked hard for these degrees and titles and are proud of them.

At the end of the ceremony when the presentation is made, instead of the usual, "I present to you Mr. and Mrs. (BLANK)," I thought maybe it could be, "I present to you Judge and Doctor (BLANK)."

My fiance says this is too pretentious. I agree that it's pretentious, but I prefer to be called "Doctor" rather than "Mrs." Abby, what do you think?

As it is, we'll go with Mr. and Mrs., but I wonder if you see any other solution here? -- DR. D. IN ARCADIA

DEAR DR. D.: I vote with your fiance. Your friends and family already know that he is a judge and you have a Ph.D.

The wedding is about the two of you becoming husband and wife -- not judge and doctor. After the wedding you'll have the rest of your lives to be addressed as judge and doctor.

DEAR ABBY: I am the director of nursing at a nursing home in Oklahoma City. I recently received a phone call from a woman who asked for the name of a resident who had no family members living. I asked her why, and she explained the following:

Her mother had been in a nursing home for the last few years of her life. The caller had worked in nursing homes and had seen firsthand that many residents had no one to visit or care about them. After her mother died, on Mother's Day, rather than leaving flowers at the grave, she chose to give them to one of those residents in need. She said it had always given her a warm feeling to brighten up someone's life, and she felt her mother would applaud her decision. She never leaves her name; she just signs the card, "Hope you have a great day." The resident never knows who sent the flowers.

I thought this was a wonderful idea, and chose someone I thought would appreciate the bouquet. This gesture so warmed me that I'm sharing it with you, in the hope that you'll share it with others. Please do not print my name. -- ANONYMOUS IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR ANONYMOUS: What a lovely idea. I'm pleased to pass it along to my readers.

DEAR ABBY: In this day of many divorces and remarriages involving children and the attending problems of blended families, I thought you might find a positive note refreshing.

Nine years ago, I married a man who had three daughters from an earlier marriage. I had three sons and a daughter. They were all young adults, and we were a little uneasy about the outcome of the blended families.

I am proud to say that everything has worked out beautifully. Why? Because all our children loved us enough to do everything they could to ensure that we found happiness with our new spouse.

How could we not love each other's children for caring so much? Love begets love when you let it. We feel so rich, not financially, but where it counts the most. -- CAROL OSBORNE, DOWNINGTOWN, PA.

P.S. Keep up the good work with your sensible, compassionate and realistic advice.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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