DEAR ABBY: I have enjoyed reading and re-reading the enclosed item from your column many times. And what a great original gift idea it provides for Valentine's Day: Write a "list" of all the qualities you love about your loved one. If it were framed, it would become a treasured keepsake, and it applies to mothers, fathers, spouses, children, friends, etc. -- HAPPY AFTER 30 YEARS OF MARRIAGE IN GEORGIA
DEAR HAPPY: I agree. And when someone asks me for a gift idea for the person who "has everything," the first thing I suggest is a letter telling that person how much he or she means to you and why. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: My marriage was in need of repair. My husband and I had been fighting a lot. He told me that if I didn't like it, I could pack my things and go. I cried myself to sleep for nights on end.
One night I couldn't sleep because I was so upset with him. All I could think about were all the things that bugged me about him. I knew that if I didn't banish these negative thoughts from my mind, it would be a long time before I fell asleep. I decided to think instead of all the things that I loved about him. I wrote them down on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and placed it in his briefcase.
The next morning, he called me from work to tell me how much he loved me. When he came home that evening, he put my "list" in a frame and hung it on the wall. We hardly ever fight anymore. I get love notes weekly and kisses daily.
I thought some of your readers might like to try this recipe for renewed love. It was so simple -- and well worth the effort. -- HAPPY AGAIN IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR HAPPY AGAIN: What a terrific idea for warming up a chilly marriage. Your list of the qualities you loved about your husband obviously meant a great deal to him. When we focus only on what is wrong, we tend to undervalue what he or she is doing right.
DEAR ABBY: Please tell me how to handle this. I have terrible winter asthma. During the holidays I go to visit my in-laws and my mother -- all chain smokers.
They know about my smoke allergy and they do "try," but being long-term smokers, they usually forget and wind up smoking in the next room or in front of me. I am tired of being the party pooper who says, "Please put that out." So, they don't invite us over to family gatherings unless it's Christmas. I go, and then seven to 10 days later, after I have compromised my immune system, I have terrible bronchitis. It lasted nearly three months last year.
This has gone on so long, I feel like they love their cigarettes more than me.
So here it is January, and I'm starting the new year sick and on inhalers and antibiotics. How can I get it across to my loving family to refrain from smoking in front of me or during my visits without so deeply offending them? -- SLEEPLESS IN OREGON
DEAR SLEEPLESS: You can't! Face it, your family (all smokers) are addicted to tobacco, and their addiction is greater than their consideration for you or your health problems.
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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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