DEAR ABBY: I agree with your answer to "Happily Married Husband," who revealed that five husbands in his circle of friends have gotten divorces because their wives spent too much time with their children and they felt displaced.
Like many other couples, my husband and I were busy, and we didn't have enough extra money to go out. So once a month, we enjoyed a candlelight supper at home. I wore something sexy and used our best china. We ate at a small table after the children were finished eating, and we danced to romantic music on the record player.
Abby, you were right that couples must find time for each other. We did, and we've been happily married for 45 wonderful years. -- STILL ROMANTIC IN MANSFIELD, MASS.
P.S. We're the parents of 10 terrific children.
DEAR STILL ROMANTIC: I applaud your obviously successful (and fruitful!) union. Sometimes couples become so pressured they have trouble budgeting time to spend together. Being disciplined enough to do so can mean the difference between a marriage that succeeds and one that doesn't. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Many religions preach that man is head of the household and his wife and children must be obedient to him. This is one reason why abuse occurs. Unless spouses are equal and share responsibilities as mature adults, they will experience a serious imbalance in their relationship.
When children are the first concern of both parents, they will find joy in each other as well.
It's unfortunate when one of the parents dumps the total burden on the other. The immature spouse demands "Mommy's" (or "Daddy's") full attention and is the one who will most likely seek affection elsewhere. Irresponsible mates pursue self-pleasure. It's as simple as that. If families work together, they stay together. -- BETTY NELSON, MILACA, MINN.
DEAR BETTY: We're now living in a time when many parents teach their children that marriage is a full partnership. It touches me to see young fathers out with their infants carried in slings next to their hearts, or pushing toddlers in racing prams while exercising. When both spouses participate in child rearing, it makes for healthier, closer families. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Happily Married Husband" was on target! As a husband in a marriage of 53 years and the father of three, I would like to add that the children are the husband's children, too. He should be grateful his wife gives time and love to his children. Women carry the children in their bodies. Giving birth is an awesome event in their lives. Nursing, nurturing and attending to children is absorbing. Why wouldn't their relationship with their children be intense?
Today's women often work full time outside the home and do most of the household chores. How much time and energy does a wife have left for a husband?
I suggest that instead of pursuing another woman, a husband be understanding of his wife; that he spend more time and love on his children; and that he make time to occasionally get away for brief dates with his wife. Chances are his wife loves him, too. If he sticks with her, he'll have a loving companion for life. Memories of family fun and laughs, hardships overcome together, best efforts made with child rearing, and pride in the marriage all make a husband's life fulfilling. Try it! -- HAPPILY MARRIED FATHER IN KENOSHA, WIS.