DEAR ABBY: I am an outdoorsman with 20-plus years of experience in backpacking and camping. I'm very happy that the woman I'm planning to marry enjoys these activities with me, but she has very little experience.
Last Christmas, she bought a tent for us to use on our outdoor adventures, knowing that I was shopping around and comparing models and trying to find the perfect one. She was very excited to see me tear off the wrapping paper, and I truly appreciate her affection and effort. However, the tent she purchased is much too heavy and bulky to use for backpacking.
We are young and have modest incomes, and we both value thriftiness, so should I ask her to return the tent and purchase one that would be more suitable for our adventures? Or should I keep quiet, purchase the lightweight tent that I desire, and use her gift just when she and I are traveling together on less demanding outings? How can I get the tent I need without dampening her enthusiasm for outdoor activities? -- OUTDOORSMAN IN LOVE
DEAR OUTDOORSMAN: Explain that you love her for wanting to surprise you, but some things are better selected together -- such as wedding rings and houses. I am almost positive that she'll understand your logic if you put it that way. However, if she doesn't, then pack up the tent and suggest that the two of you take a short hike together with HER carrying it.