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by Abigail Van Buren

Happy Marriage Fails to Dispel Sister in Law's Hate for Wife

DEAR ABBY: Recently a reader asked if it was appropriate to renew her wedding vows after only five years of marriage. You encouraged her to go for it. I agree.

Here's my story: After only one year of marriage, my husband and I encountered some serious problems and were on the verge of going our separate ways. However, we both knew if we put forth the effort, we could turn things around -- so I came up with a plan:

The night of our first wedding anniversary my husband and I went out to dinner. Afterward I blindfolded him in the car and drove to one of those little instant wedding chapels, so we could renew our vows. I had made arrangements with the chapel the day before.

We arrived early and waited outside the chapel because another wedding was still taking place inside. A group of young people were standing nearby, and they couldn't help but giggle when they saw my blindfolded husband. They probably thought this poor fella was being tricked into marrying me!

When it was our turn, we entered the chapel and I removed the blindfold. When my husband realized what I had planned, his eyes filled with tears.

The minister was exceptional and encouraged us to make a fresh start. My husband and I have had our share of ups and downs (as couples do), but that night we vowed to hang on to that "special something" we always had. We truly are each other's best friend, Abby. We will celebrate our third anniversary next October. -- FULLY COMMITTED IN WEST VIRGINIA

DEAR FULLY COMMITTED: It appears you have both taken your blinders off and are recommitted to your vows to each other. Sometimes it's helpful to go back to square one when trying to resolve a problem. May your union be a long and happy one.