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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: The love of my life, "Stacy," and I have been together for 20 years -- married for 10. I adore her. We have three beautiful children.

I consider myself to be fairly good-looking. I work out regularly, have good hygiene and I'm in excellent health. I work hard at two jobs so Stacy can be home with the children. I make sure my family has the best of everything.

My problem is Stacy gives me very little affection. She is a loving person; however, she rarely touches me, lies in bed with me or kisses me. When we do make love, it's not as exciting as it was 20 years ago. I feel empty inside and I ache for some warmth.

Recently, at a business gathering, a slightly intoxicated female employee surprised me with a passionate goodnight kiss. It felt wonderful. I can't stop thinking about that feeling. I yearn for that same feeling with my beautiful wife, but she shows no interest.

I am desperate for advice. I don't know how to talk to Stacy about this. I am so preoccupied with these feelings that I can't keep my mind focused, and it's starting to affect my job performance. -- SOMETHING'S MISSING IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR SOMETHING'S MISSING: You're working two jobs. Your wife is caring for three children under the age of 10. It's time for a second honeymoon where the two of you can spend time alone, get to know each other again, and rekindle the passion you once knew. Please make it a priority. It's important for the two of you to talk to each other and share feelings. That's where the true intimacy in marriage lies.

DEAR ABBY: In a letter you printed signed, "Watching My Garden Grow in Tulsa," the writer made clear the point that one person's weed is another's flower. That column inspired me to write a poem. I hope you like it. -- MARY G. SKELTON, LYNN HAVEN, FLA.

DEAR MARY: Like it? I love it! And I know my readers will, too. It is beautiful.


Weeds, to some, are like memories long past,

Needing to be plucked of the shadows they cast --

But I see their beauty, for God placed them there,

So that's where I leave them and tend to their care.

Their roots, growing deeply, hold fast and true,

As my faith, my love and my hope must do --

To garner my strength for another day,

To weather life's storms that come my way.

Where I see a flower and you see a weed,

Its presence and purpose fulfills my need --

To do what I can to manage the earth,

In my small garden, regardless of worth.

As I nurture my weeds and watch them grow,

There's something I've often wanted to know:

Could the loveliest rose, cursed with its thorn,

Be simply a weed -- imperfectly born?

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 $5 (U.S. funds only) 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