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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: When I saw the letter from "Roseless Rosie," the happily married woman who complained that her husband failed to remember "important" dates, I had to write.

My husband, Gene, is extraordinarily intelligent, kind and compassionate -- not to mention tall, handsome and a great lover. He's nice to me all the time, every day. The only time in 13 years that he came home from work without a great big smile on his face was the day a co-worker died in a tragic auto accident.

Gene's a fantastic father who adopted my daughter from a previous marriage. He is kind and patient with her, our son and my niece and nephew, for whom we are legal guardians.

And guess what? Gene never remembers "important" dates either, but I couldn't care less. Every day is an important day around here. If he ever brought me flowers, I'd probably start laughing and then complain that he had wasted his money! Abby, Gene is the only gift I need and the only one I really want.

"Roseless Rosie" should wise up and stop whining, then count her lucky stars. -- GENE'S WIFE, MOUNT HOLLY, VT.

DEAR GENE'S WIFE: You and your husband are fortunate indeed to have not only each other, but an understanding of what it takes to create an ideal marriage. Please don't be so hard on "Roseless Rosie," because her problem is one that has been presented to me many times.

A great deal of money is poured into promoting and advertising material things for "special occasions" -- and sometimes it causes people to forget that the most important element in a lasting relationship is how they treat each other every day.

DEAR ABBY: I'd like to share my experience with "Roseless Rosie." It had been quite a while since my wonderful, loving husband had given me a gift, and that was bothering me. One day I saw a beautiful book of Georgia O'Keefe prints I wanted. I bought it, and told my husband that I had just bought a present for him to give me for my birthday. His response was: "Thank you. What a relief. I didn't know what to give you, and I didn't want to spend money on something you didn't want."

Now, when it's been a while since I have received a present, I ask if he would be "relieved" if I bought myself something -- or would he rather that I went with him to select something, or does he want to "surprise" me.

When I share this story with good friends, we all laugh and someone usually says, "That's a good idea!" -- IT WORKED FOR ME, RICHLAND, WASH.

DEAR WORKED: I applaud your strong ego and practical thinking. Your letter reminds me of the proverb, "The good Lord helps those who help themselves." Your method takes the stress off your spouse.

DEAR READERS: This was sent to me by Lou Yelnick of Deerfield Beach, Fla.:

"A lecturer was talking on endlessly. The audience started to become fidgety. A husband and wife were in the front row and the man fell asleep. Noticing this, the lecturer became red-faced and whispered to the wife, 'Wake up your husband.'

"She answered, 'You put him to sleep. You wake him up.'"

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600