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by Abigail Van Buren

It's Not Easy Being Perfect, as Many Wives Well Know

DEAR ABBY: I would like to direct my remarks to "Frustrated," the woman whose husband rated very high on a scale of 10 -- but who would never apologize. I had the same problem.

After 25 years of marriage, I have discovered that he knew very well when he did something wrong. It made him angry at himself, and to cover up his insecurity, he added insult to injury.

During the last year of his life, when he knew he could die any minute, he admitted his inability to apologize and thanked me for recognizing it at the beginning of our marriage. Instead of a smart-aleck remark, I would give him a loving smile or a little kiss as a sign of forgiveness, letting him keep his "macho man" dignity.

He took it to his grave six months ago.

"Frustrated," you are young. You can still learn. If your husband is as good as you stated in your letter, love him and let him believe that you think he is perfect. He knows he's not, but he doesn't like to admit it, so don't force him. You will be rewarded with a happy life. -- NORA BENE, PLEASANT HILL, CALIF.

DEAR NORA: Please accept my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your beloved husband. With an attitude like yours, I'm sure the union was a happy one. You are a wise woman.

The letter from "Frustrated" motivated other women who share your problem to write. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Please tell "Frustrated," whose husband is never wrong, that so many men suffer from this malady I have concluded it must be genetic.

Not only is my husband never wrong, my boss is never wrong either!

I used to try to prove them wrong by looking up items in almanacs, dictionaries and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But of course, these reference books were also "wrong."

After several years of banging my head against these walls, I decided to simply agree with anything and everything they said. I just respond, "Yes, whatever you say," in a pleasant voice and walk away. This aggravates them more than their stubbornness ever aggravated me, and my blood pressure has never been lower. -- CALM AND SERENE IN DALLAS

DEAR CALM AND SERENE: Your medicine sounds better than a tranquilizer, but it takes a strong woman to apply it. My hat is off to you. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I, too, am married to a husband who will never admit he is wrong. The marriage has lasted 50 years. This message is for "Frustrated":

Face reality. This man will never change. That is the way he is, and nothing you can do or say will cause him to behave any differently. He doesn't really think your feelings are not important, or he wouldn't work two jobs, keep himself clean for you and help with child care.

When he's wrong, he may possibly realize it without your telling him. If you do tell him, he'll definitely know it. So you BOTH know it, even if he refuses to admit it.

Quit being frustrated. When he makes his cute remark, shrug your shoulders, cast your eyes heavenward, smile and say to yourself, "There he is, being that way again," and then FORGET it. If he won't or can't change -- then you must, or you will continue to be unhappy. -- EXPERIENCED IN HENDERSONVILLE, N.C.

DEAR EXPERIENCED: I think you have discovered a vital ingredient for achieving serenity.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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