DEAR ABBY: My 27-year-old daughter, "Ruthie," was married a year ago. The night before her wedding, Ruthie came to me and said she didn't think she could go through with it. I told her she was "just a nervous bride," and that we had already paid for everything. Ruthie has always done what we wanted her to do and never gave us an ounce of trouble when she was growing up.
A few months after the wedding, I had a hunch that something was wrong. I asked Ruthie if I had told her it was OK to call off the wedding, would she have gotten married. With tears in her eyes, she told me, "No." The marriage is not going well at all. I know in my heart I let my daughter down. What should I do now? -- SAD MOM IN MICHIGAN
DEAR SAD MOM: Take your daughter by the hand, look her in the eye, and tell her that mothers sometimes make mistakes -- and this was one of them. Then let her know that you'll support her in whatever she wants to do.
Suggest that she consult a lawyer. She may qualify for an annulment.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old woman with two kids. I have been about 80 pounds overweight for the last 10 years. My mom drives me crazy because all she talks about is my weight. Yesterday she said, "If someone gave you $10,000 to lose 50 pounds, would you do it?"
Mother's remarks have strained our relationship. I can't stand being around her. Should I put my foot down or just drop it? -- TIPPING THE SCALES IN TEXAS
DEAR TIPPING THE SCALES: Your mother harps on your weight because she is concerned about your health. The next time she brings up the subject, say, "I know you're worried about my weight because you love me. But this is a battle I must fight myself. No one can do this for me. I will deal with this issue when I am ready." If she continues to raise the subject, repeat your statement. It's the truth.
DEAR ABBY: I'd like to respond to "Unhappy East Coast Wife," who is considering leaving her current husband for her high school sweetheart.
When I read her letter, one comment jumped off the page. She wrote, "My husband and I went to counseling and tried all the things you do when a relationship is failing."
Counseling isn't something only to be done as a last resort. My wife and I see our counselor at church once or twice a year, just to keep any "issues" we may have from escalating. With scheduled appointments, neither of us gets defensive.
Counseling provides us an opportunity to express our feelings to an unbiased, supportive listener -- and keeps the lines of communication open.
Our marriage is blissfully happy. I highly recommend routine sessions with counselors for all couples. -- HAPPILY MARRIED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR HAPPILY MARRIED: It takes courage to confront problems in a relationship as they arise. Too many people sweep them under the carpet and hope they'll go away. (They don't.)
I'm all for your "preventive maintenance" sessions. Thank you for sharing your solution to an almost universal problem.
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