DEAR ABBY: When I was 16 and wanted to get married, my father suggested I write to Dear Abby (your mom was writing the column back then) and ask her opinion. He said he would agree with what she said. I did, and Abby wrote me back. We did get married, and I decided that on our 25th anniversary, I would let you know how we were doing. You printed my letter.
As we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary year, I want you to know our marriage has only strengthened. A very young couple who began life together with no idea what path we would take has experienced the best that life could offer. We have two beautiful daughters, wonderful grandchildren and a great-grandchild. We've had success in our careers, traveled the world, visited every state in our great country and can confidently relate that life has been good.
Commitment through the good and bad times is the key to a lasting marriage. It isn't always easy, but the rewards far outweigh the problems. -- TOOK THE ADVICE IN MONTANA
DEAR TOOK THE ADVICE: I'm pleased to know you are as happy on your 50th anniversary as you were on your 25th. It's interesting you would say that the key to a lasting marriage is commitment. I would offer that it is also mutual respect. (My mother once said that the key to a lasting marriage is a husband who lasts!)
My warmest congratulations to you both, and a very happy Valentine's Day to you, your husband and to all my readers.
DEAR ABBY: I'm married to a beautiful woman, "Suzonne." We are bodybuilders and into fitness, so we are both quite muscular.
Recently, my wife cut her hair short. It's a great look for her, and we both love the style. Unfortunately, some people have begun calling her "sir" at work and when she's out and about. Suzonne waits tables a couple of nights a week for extra income. Some of the customers have gone so far as to keep calling her "sir" after she has told them that she's female.
This infuriates me because it's so disrespectful. I know it hurts my wife's feelings, although she has been super strong about it. It's plain when you look at Suzonne that she is a beautiful woman.
How can she nip this in the bud before it starts to make her feel bad? I feel a strong need to defend her, and I don't want to get into a physical altercation with anyone over it. -- HURT FEELINGS IN FLORIDA
DEAR HURT FEELINGS: Because your wife has a muscular build and a short haircut, it's possible some of the individuals who call her "sir" are making an honest mistake. However, for someone to persist after being informed that she is a woman is extremely rude. (It makes me wonder if the offender has a warped sense of humor or is threatened by her muscular appearance.)
When it happens at work, Suzonne should ask her manager how the situation should be handled rather than allow it to continue. But under no circumstances should you get into a physical altercation because of it. Instead, on the home front, continue to reassure your wife that she's beautiful.
DEAR ABBY: My husband refuses to memorize my cellphone number. He says as long as it's in his phone he doesn't need to. I feel he should know it so if he loses the phone or the battery goes dead, I can be reached. What do you think? -- LOGICAL IN KANSAS
DEAR LOGICAL: Experience is the best teacher. I think you should stop arguing with your husband and let him suffer the consequences. An option might be for him to jot the number on a small piece of paper and keep it in his wallet.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.