DEAR ABBY: I have been married for a year and I am concerned about one issue. Dinner is a constant source of contention. Although my husband and I work full time, I enjoy coming home and preparing a home-cooked meal for him. He views this as too fancy and too expensive.
We are financially comfortable and our grocery bill is modest. It frustrates me that he doesn't appreciate the thought and effort I put into our dinner. That's the way I was raised. My husband would die happy eating frozen pizza and salad out of a bag every night! That may be fine for some people, but I prefer to eat better than that. Any suggestions? -- LIKES TO COOK IN ST. LOUIS
DEAR LIKES TO COOK: Your husband may be happy eating frozen pizza and salad out of a bag every night, but he'll live a longer, healthier life if he varies his diet. Rather than seeking approval or gratitude for preparing those home-cooked dinners, explain to him that putting healthy, balanced meals on the table for you both to enjoy brings you pleasure and is a way for you to unwind after the workday. It's not "too fancy," and the money is well spent.
DEAR ABBY: My wife of 20 years died recently. I was hospitalized a few months later and nearly died myself.
I needed help at home as I have three young children. My brother's wife offered to help. I had dated her many years ago when we were kids and I was attracted to her then. As time has gone on, we have become very close and the sparks have been reignited. I feel terrible, but at the same time I have always had feelings for her.
She told me she and my brother haven't been getting along and she is no longer attracted to him. I like her a lot, but I love my brother, too. What should I do? -- BROTHERLY LOVE ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR BROTHERLY LOVE: What you should do is thank your sister-in-law for her help, and hire someone to take care of your children. That's what you should have done in the first place. Then join a singles group and put out the word that you would like to meet someone. I guarantee you won't be lonely long. And it will give your brother and sister-in-law a chance to work out their difficulties, which is the honorable thing to do.
DEAR ABBY: Over the years I have been the organizer who has hosted multiple parties for friends and family. When someone is having a milestone birthday or other event, I am always the one who plans a celebration to make it a memorable occasion. This requires effort, but I love seeing the joy people get from these events.
I will be turning 50 soon. Just once, I would like to be the recipient of a party. I know it's unlikely that my friends will throw a surprise birthday party for me. Or if they do, it will be something small and last-minute.
I am beginning to dread my birthday because I feel my resentment building. Should I plan my own party or just hope for the best and see what happens? Any other suggestions? -- ALWAYS THE HOSTESS, NEVER THE PARTY GIRL
DEAR ALWAYS THE HOSTESS: The surest way to get the message across is to communicate it to some of your closest friends. And if none of them volunteer to host a party for you, then either plan your own -- or arrange to spend the money you would have spent on the party treating yourself to a day of pampering at a spa or a short vacation. You deserve it.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)